Turn your Utah-bound boarding pass into a ski lift ticket

Spring may have officially arrived, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in a few more days on the slopes before the ski season ends for another year. To help facilitate that, three Utah ski resorts are offering a deal that will let you exchange your boarding pass for a lift ticket instead.

Beginning this Sunday, March 27th and running through the end of the season, any out-of-state visitor who brings their boarding pass from Salt Lake City International Airport to one of the participating Park City resorts will receive a free lift ticket for that day. This gives visitors the option to ski or snowboard at The Canyons or Park City Mountain, or ski at Deer Valley. (Sorry snowboarders, you’re still not welcome there!)

As with all good things in life, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. For example, you must register for the free passes in advance of your arrival, and the date of redemption must match the date on the boarding pass. That means you better catch an early flight to take true advantage of this deal. An ID is required to redeem the pass as well and Utah residents are not eligible. To see all the rules and regulations check out the website for the promotion here.

This isn’t a bad deal for someone looking to get a little last minute skiing or snowboarding in before they put their gear back in the closet for the summer. You’ll want to hurry to take advantage of the promotion however, as both Park City Mountain and Deer Valley close for the season on April 10 and The Canyons follow suit on April 17.

How to find affordable ski deals this winter

Skiing isn’t the most budget-friendly winter activity, but you can find affordable ski deals if you know when and where to book lift tickets.

Evan Reece, co-founder of Liftopia.com, reveals how to save on lift tickets at popular ski resorts around the U.S.

Buy lift tickets in advance and pick your days carefully.
If you buy a lift ticket through Liftopia at least the day before you plan to ski, you can typically save an average of 35 percent when compared to booking a one-day pass in person at the ticket window. Mid-week lift tickets are generally cheaper, and skiing on Sundays typically costs less than Saturdays. “Many customers will go up for the weekend and intend to ski both days, Reece says. “But they’ll end up being tired on Sunday. And faced with a four-hour drive, they’ll just say, ‘Let’s go.'”

Ski on Christmas Day.
When everyone else is preoccupied with opening gifts on Christmas morning, hit the ski slopes and save. Based on last year’s data, the average price of all lift tickets booked in advance through Liftopia for Christmas Day skiing was 39.7 percent less than what you’d pay at the window, Reece says. Other bargain days include New Year’s Day, Jan. 2, and Super Bowl Sunday.Seek out smaller ski resorts.
Rather than following the crowds to Breckenridge or Vail, venture to smaller ski resorts for a more intimate experience. Though you may sacrifice the big-name glitz and apres-ski scene, let’s face it: most of us aren’t skilled enough to take advantage of all the ski runs to justify an $80 lift ticket.

Look into combo passes with added value.
Some resorts, such as Keystone in Colorado, add in meal credits with the purchase of a lift ticket. For example, a one-day lift ticket plus a $15 lunch credit bought through Liftopia will save you about 11 percent when compared to buying the same package on-mountain. Even the resort food will taste better than “eating a smushed peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Reece adds.

Consider packages that bundle ski rentals and lift tickets.
Other than saving on checked baggage fees, many resorts now carry top-of-the-line rentals that are most likely newer and better than anything you have stashed in the garage.

How Liftopia Works: Tickets purchased through Liftopia are nontransferable, nonrefundable, and date specific. Or as Reece explains it: “You can’t buy a Friday concert ticket and expect to show up the next day.”

[Photo by Amy Chen]

Winter Park offers free lift tickets for early ski season

The calendar may say that winter is still two months off, but the snow is already falling at Winter Park Resort, located an hours drive northwest of Denver, Colorado. Last week, the resort received more than 10 inches of snow on the mountain, and they are already gearing up for a great ski season ahead.

A few days back Winter Park announced their “Ski and Ride FREE” promotion, which gives visitors the opportunity to earn free lift tickets for the early ski season. The deal includes one free lift ticket for each nights stay booked at the lodge between November 17 and December 25 of this year, with a minimum of two nights required. This means that skiers and snowboarders who visit Winter Park during that period can not only take advantage of their already affordable room rates, they’ll also get to hit the slopes on the cheap as well.

Winter Park Resort offers access to three mountain peaks – Mary Jane, Vasquez Ridge, and Winter Park, under a single lift ticket, and with 134 total runs, a Superpipe, and 25 different lifts, the snow park has something to offer everyone. While the slopes are geared more for the intermediate and advanced skiers, beginners will find plenty of great trails as well. The more adventurous and experienced skiers will want to try the guided backcountry skiing option, which offers pristine snow that is only accessible by Snowcat. So, whether you’re just learning to shred or you’re an old ski bum, you’ll find plenty love in Winter Park.

The 2010 ski season at Winter Park Resort opens November 17th and season passes can be purchased now by clicking here.

Ski for free at Stowe when you stay at Topnotch Resort

Ski season is in full swing at resorts throughout the US, and now through April 10, you can “ski for free” at Topnotch Resort in Stowe, Vermont. The resort sits at the base of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, which reaches nearly 5,000 feet. It offers luxury accommodations on 120 acres, 40 minutes from Burlington Airport. .

This season, included in accommodations rates, you’ll also receive two adult lifts tickets to Stowe Mountain delivered by the resort’s “Ski Concierge”, shuttle service to and from the mountain, and overnight ski storage. Rentals are available from the resort’s Nordic Barn. In addition to skiing, the resort offers tennis, a spa, and horseback trail rides.

Rates start at $250 (plus tax) for weekdays and $350 for weekends. Blackout dates include January 28-30, February 7-20, February 25-27, and March 21-23. Rate outside of the promotion start at $300 per night, and lift tickets at Stowe can cost $84 per day per person, so this deal would save you around $200 per day for two skiers….which means more money for apres ski fun and hot toddies by the fire.

The 10 most-affordable ski spots in North America

Skiing, like polo and yachting, is a rich man’s(or woman’s) sport. The equipment is expensive, and in order to participate, you need to go to a specific place. In the case of skiing, this means paying ski lift fees and traveling to a pricey ski resort. The costs can add up and make it prohibitively expensive for less affluent ski enthusiasts.

But there are some less expensive ski resorts. Ski.com has put together a list of the top ten affordable ski spots in North America.

Keystone, near Denver, makes the list because of the many extras it offers, such as night skiing included with a lift ticket on the day of arrival, plus access to nearby resorts like Vail and Breckenridge. Steamboat in Colorado is on the list thanks to affordable ski-in/ski-out lodging and convenient shuttle services. And Winter Park, also in Colorado, is praised as catering to a “moderate demographic, no luxury properties.”

Whistler-Blackcomb, near Vancouver, is normally a very pricey destination. But in an attempt to lure visitors before the Olympics, it is offering some fantastic deals right now. Airfare to Vancouver can be expensive, depending on where you fly from, but you can save money by flying into Seattle and taking a train to Vancouver.

Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Banff(Alberta, Canada), and Lake Tahoe round out the western top ten with plentiful deals, discounts, and special offers that help keep prices low. On the east coast, Stowe(Vermont) and Lake Placid in New York offer excellent mid-week prices.