Ski season is officially here. Have you taken the kids to the slopes yet? It’s a great way to both tire them out and have an adventure. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be expensive. Whether for a day or a week, here are seven ways to save on ski trips this winter, and very little advance planning is required.
1) Look for Free Lift Tickets. While popular resorts like Vail and Heavenly allow only kids ages 4 and younger to ski for free, some resorts like Big Sky and Brighton allow kids up to age 10 to ski for free. Many mountains also offer a “junior” discount for tweens and young teens. You may be required to provide proof of age, so call ahead and be sure you know before you head up the mountain.
2) Grab Online Coupons. There are several sites where you can go for discounts of up to 80% or more to save big on lift tickets and ski rentals. A few to check out include: SkiCoupons.com, Liftopia and Discount Lift Tickets.
3) Look into Frequent Skier Programs. If you plan to ski more than a few times this season, look to see if your mountain has a frequent ski card. For example, the Advantage Card allows individuals and families to save 40% every time you ski at Liberty, Whitetail or Roundtop in Pennsylvania. You’ll need to visit at least two to three times in one season to recoup the money you put toward the card.
4) Rent Skis Online (Goggles Too). If you already know the resort where you’ll be skiing, do a web search to find ski rental shops near that mountain. You can save up to 25% and sometimes more by reserving your skis even just one day in advance. Some shops even offer free delivery and pick-up. Many rent goggles, gloves and hats too.
5) Sign up for Daily Deal Sites. If you know you’re planning to ski in Massachusetts or Colorado, for example, be sure to sign up to receive daily emails from deal sites, like Groupon and LivingSocial for relevant cities, like Boston and Colorado Springs.
6) Ski Early, Ski Late. In January many people have spent their cash in holiday gifts and are laying low, so it’s a great time to look out for last-minute specials. You’ll also find less-crowded slopes for a more enjoyable ski adventure. Eat a late-lunch too. You’ll find shorter lift lines at noon.
7) Get on Email Lists. If you have some ski resorts in mind, get on their email lists to be the first to know about specials and discounts. Many resorts also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, so it’s worth a look to see if they share discounts.
So, what are your best tips for saving money when taking the kids out skiing? I’d love to hear your best bets.