Thinking of taking a skiing trip this season? I sat down with Ron Schneidermann, the co-founder of Liftopia, a site aimed at saving you money at ski areas around the world, to find out the best ways to save this season.
Always book online, and the earlier the better
According to Schneidermann, you should think about saving on lift tickets the same way you think about saving on airline tickets. Namely by buying them online and well in advance. Liftopia found the lowest adult lift tickets went on sale last year at least 30 days ahead of the date they were to be used, reflecting a savings of 41 percent compared with the regular rates offered by ski resorts.
Keep your dates flexible
Like searching for the perfect flight or hotel, prices can vary depending on what day of the week you plan to ski, especially during holidays and holiday weekends. Schneidermann said the days and weeks preceeding major holidays are when most ski resorts reveal their most tempting offers, since demand is lower then. The two exceptions to this rule: Christmas Day and Superbowl Sunday, when most people spend time with their families or are glued to the game, and ski resorts feel more compelled to offer discounts to bring people back to the slopes. Be on the lookout for $1 lift tickets for ski resorts during slow times—Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to have more deals during the week, while Sundays usually have better prices than Saturdays if you must go over the weekend. Schneidermann said to keep an eye out for special prices in the early December weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as on Martin Luther King Day in January, and the week before President's Week in February.
Keep an eye out for packages
Another trend Schneidermann pointed out is ski packages, or bundles. Often times ski resorts will try to entice you with prices that include lift tickets and food vouchers, or lift tickets and ski lessons or other perks like equipment rentals (this is more popular in January thanks to National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month), deals that will not only bring you to the resort, but keep you there. Also keep an eye out for values with two and three day passes, which make it easier for folks to turn a quick day-long ski trip into a long weekend skiing adventure. This year, the biggest names in ski resorts got together for The Mountain Collective Ski Pass, a package deal that gives you two days' worth of access to each participating ski resort—Alta, Aspen and Snowmass, Squaw and Alpine, and Jackson Hole—as well as unlimited 50 percent off lift tickets and 25 percent off nearby lodging, starting at $349 per adult, or $229 for children ages 3-12. The Mountain Collective Ski Pass must be booked by November 19th, and is good throughout the entire 2012–2013 season without blackout dates, making the dream ski trip easier on your wallet.