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How to Save Money and Snowboard More for Less

Never Pay Full Price Again

By

While it's true that snowboarding is an expensive sport, savvy riders know that only a sucker pays full price for a lift ticket. Between early and late season lift ticket deals, ski and snowboard clubs, frequent rider cards, "locals" days, season passes and mid-week discounts, riders in the know manage to snowboard more while paying less at resorts across the world.

Season Passes

If you spend the majority of your days snowboarding at one resort, a season pass will likely be your best bet. Of course, season passes aren't cheap - they can run anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars depending on the resort and type of pass you're interested in. The best way to determine if a season pass is right for you is to divide the price of the pass by the number of days you plan on riding. If the math comes out equal or less than the price of a daily lift ticket, a season pass is probably your best bet.

Most major resorts offer several types of season passes, from Unrestricted everything-but-the-kitchen-sink passes that are good everyday of the season and sometimes include perks like early lift-access and discounts on rentals and lessons, to Restricted passes that cost less in exchange for the pass being "blacked out" during peak holiday periods. Other passes usually offered include mid-week passes, junior and senior passes, and college passes (which are a GREAT deal if you're legitimately in college!).

Frequent Skier/Snowboarder Programs

After season passes, Frequent Skier/Snowboarder Cards are the next best bet for riders that spend the majority of their days at one resort. For a one-time fee (usually around the cost of a one-day full priced lift ticket), these cards entitle the user to various discounts on lift tickets throughout the season. As with a season pass, determine if this is your best bet by estimating how many days you'll be riding this year, then comparing the Frequent Rider Program's per-day cost to the cost of a full-day lift ticket.

Take Advantage of Local Resident Pricing

Many resorts offer discounted lift ticket pricing to local residents on specific days. Depending on the resort, the discount can be substantial (Okemo Mountain Resort offered $39 tickets every Wednesday last season to residents of Vermont and New Hampshire, a discount of nearly 40%). Check your favorite resort's website for information on these deals.

Join a Ski or Snowboard Club

Although still referred to as "ski" clubs for the most part, today these clubs almost always include snowboarders within their membership. For a low yearly membership fee (my club charges just $45), members can take advantage of bulk-ticket pricing at many resorts, as well as discounted bus-trips and destination vacation packages. These clubs are also a great way to meet new riding buddies! Most people join for the savings, but usually end up staying for the camaraderie.

Early and Late Season Ticket Deals

Most resorts offer discounted ticket pricing at the beginning and end of the season as a way to encourage skiers and riders to visit when the slopes are less crowded. These discounts are often substantial, and are usually available within a discounted lodging package as well.

Internet Deals

Many resorts offer discounted lift tickets online today. While the discounts aren't generally that great, they do represent a savings over the retail price - and remember, only a sucker pays full price!

Another option is a website called Liftopia, which offers airline-style ticket pricing (minus the price gouging the airlines are famous for today!) for ski resorts. Liftopia currently sells tickets in Colorado, New York, New England, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Alaska, British Columbia, Southern California, West Virginia, and Lake Tahoe.

NEVER Pay Full Price!

The only excuse for paying full price for a lift ticket is if you decide at the absolute last second to go snowboarding. With only a days notice, it's possible to find all sorts of discounts. Don't be the guy shelling out his inheritance for a day of riding - think ahead! You'll not only save money, but you'll get in more days for the same price this year.

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