WHERE TO FIND DISCOUNT LIFT TICKETS FOR SKIING
No matter how long you’ve been skiing, the question of where to find discount lift tickets & how to save on ski lift fees is always top of mind. With lift tickets hitting a record high this 2019 winter season (a day pass at Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek now goes for $209!) discount lift tickets are certainly in high demand.
As winter lovers and avid skiers at Bearfoot Theory we know that sometimes the price of outdoor activities can be a barrier to entry and by that same token, it’s also important to support the local businesses and communities in ski towns.
In this post, we’re rounding up some of our best pro tips and inside advice for how to score a discount lift ticket.
Where to Buy Discount Lift Tickets Online
Most everyone is purchasing ski lift tickets online, which can be convenient but can sometimes mean sifting through hundreds of search results and feeling conflicted about what’s really the best offer out there. Cut through the noise with these tips.
If you have an REI Co-op membership you can also get discount lift tickets of up to 50% off. Deals include any time tickets, single or multi-day passes, night skiing, family and even some with ski rentals included. They offer discount lift tickets for resorts all over the country, so head to their discount ski ticket site, to find your favorite spot.
Liftopia is easily the most popular marketplace for skiers to find discount lift tickets to nearly every ski resort in the country. Liftopia has deals for over 250 mountains and you can even score deals in lodging. For example,
The caveat: you’ll need to choose a specific date and there are NO refunds (at least through Liftopia). However, the resort may offer a voucher if they are closed due to inclement weather.
Buying Directly from the Mountain
Don’t forget that you can actually buy discount lift tickets from the mountain. Some resorts offer night skiing (3pm or 4pm – on) if you’re up for a few chilly laps. Others have exclusive deals if you sign up for their newsletter or buy some version of a season pass since many offer different tiers. It’s worth checking out your local or preferred mountain’s website to see if they offer anything specific to them.
At my home mountain, Alta Ski Area, they have the Ski @3 program where skiers can ski the Sunnyside Lift from 3:00-4:30 every day for $12, or get a Ski @3 season pass for $49. This program is perfect for beginners who don’t want to drop the dough on (and aren’t sure they are ready for) a full seasons pass.
One last tip for buying discount lift tickets directly from the mountain is to buy early. Many mountains offer discounts if you buy online in advance, particularly for mid-week.
Check out my complete vacation guide to Alta Ski Resort.
The Best Multi-Resort Ski Passes
Skiers who want to get a lot of bang for their buck at more than one mountain should consider purchasing a multi-resort pass, which will make most people think of the Ikon, Mountain Collective, or Epic Pass. While those are well and good, there are also multi-resort passes for other local areas and is a great option for discount lift tickets; especially if you are skiing more than five days. Plus, there are different-priced tiers so you don’t have spend $400-$600 on a season pass.
In addition to that, almost all of these passes offer discounted lodging, retail and dining options.
The Mountain Collective pass includes access to 17 resorts all over North America (mostly out West and Canada) with two free days at each. After that, it’s 50% off the window rates for the season. This is the pass Ryan and I have and it really only takes visiting 2-3 resorts to make it worth it. For instance, if you come on a week-long ski vacation in Utah, you can ski Alta, Snowbird, and Snowbasin (all Mountain Collective resorts) for a fraction of the price of individual lift tickets. Need more Mountain Collective inspiration? Check out this week-long Mountain Collective road trip I took visiting AltaSnowbird, Sun Valley, and Jacksonhole.
A beautiful day at Alta Ski Area – a Mountain Collective Resort
The Peak Pass is perfect for the money-savvy Northeast skier includes 10 popular ski resorts that include Mount Snow, Attitash and Hunter Mountain. Starts at $399.
New England Pass
The New England Pass is exactly as it sounds! Ski as many days as you want at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, Sunday River and Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine.
With Powder Alliance, you’ll get your days in at resorts all over the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and more. Plus, discount lift tickets at international ski mountains if you want to do a little globetrotting.
The Epic Pass is one of the most popular passes for a reason. The Epic Pass includes resorts all over the world, with unlimited access to a large portion of participating ski hills. There’s a good chance your favorite and/or bucket list mountain is on here, so it’s worth looking into.
The Ikon Pass is a healthy rival to the Epic Pass. The Ikon Pass is a similar multi-resort season pass that lets you ski at 38 destinations around the world. Depending on which tier you buy, you get unlimited access to up to 14 mountains, which is a great way to ski for cheap. If you can work from the road and want to take a winter to travel, this would be a good pass to look at.
Family & Friend Discounts for Season Pass Holders
Many of these passes offer “buddy tickets” or discount lift tickets that the pass holder can dole out to family and friends. They vary per pass so check the website for the specific offer and the resort’s daily window rates to see what kind of deal you can get.
Learn how to choose a new pair of skis
Ski and Stay Vacations
Resorts and nearby accommodations sometimes offer discount lift tickets as part of your lodging. If you’re already planning on booking accommodation on or near the mountain this can potentially be a money saver. Not to mention, meals might be included like they are at most of the hotels at Alta!
Check out my hotel review of Alta Ski Resorts Peruvian Lodge
Work at a Ski Resort
While ski resort jobs don’t offer the highest wages, they come with some pretty great perks. My boyfriend Ryan works at Alta, and his job comes with a free season pass, a discounted buddy pass, discounted gear, and free lessons. If you really want to ski more and you can get away with a less than glamorous wage for a few months, working at a ski resort may just be your ticket.
How NOT to save money on lift tickets
One last thing we want to point out is how not to save money on lift tickets. While it may be tempting to borrow a friend’s season pass, this is never a good idea. While you may think that they won’t recognize you with goggles and a helmet on, those lift ticket checkers often get incentives for busting people. And the more people that try to cheat the system, the more expensive it gets for people who follow the rules.