If you’re looking for a great deal for skiing, then a little preparation is in order. Think it out early, and you’ll save lots. Leave it to the last minute, and you’ll be paying for it – literally. As a grad student mum with extremely limited funds, I have got hold of some great deals, and I wanted to share some resources with you.
The Colorado Gems Card. For a $10 initial outlay per card, you get a whole range of discounts and free ski days at various resorts across Colorado. The card pays for itself after the first one or two times of use – for example, at Eldora it will get the holder $10 off the price of a child’s lift ticket (normally $39 a day), and $15 off an adult ticket (normally $65 a day). (One per person, per card, per day.) The processing takes a week or two, so get it early to make good use of it.
The Colorado Passport gives your 5th grader three FREE days of skiing at over 20 resorts in Colorado, and four days for 6th graders. It’s a really great way to get some good savings across numerous resorts, from Eldora to Aspen. The Colorado Passport is FREE for 5th graders, and $99 for 6th graders. It’s well worth the investment for the 6th grader – look at how much the lift tickets would cost you at the resort you’re most likely to go to, and you’ll see what an impact having the card makes. You need to have a picture of your child to process, and online is the fastest way of doing the application. The site says it takes about 2-3 weeks for processing, but I did it two days ago, and it’s already on its way. Important: You do not have to be a resident of Colorado to get this passport – if you know your family will ski Colorado at any time this season, it’s a great one to get for your 5th or 6th grader!
The School of Shred gives your 5th and 6th graders four FREE days of skiing at all the Vail Resort properties. There is no charge for this card at all, for either grade – just take evidence of enrolment to the pass office at any of the included resorts, and they’ll sort you out with all of it done on the spot. (You can feasibly do this on the day you arrive to ski.)
Additionally, you can get discount lift tickets through local supermarkets such as King Soopers (you need to go there, not able to buy online). There the tickets this season will save you around 5-10% off the ticket office price. Not a massive saving, but everything helps and this is one option for those who find themselves considering skiing the day prior to heading up the mountain.
Ski rentals are expensive on the mountain. If you plan it well, you can rent in town for a cheaper rate. Just be prepared to pick up the afternoon of the day prior to your ski day, and return either the same day, or early the day after you shred. For the front range, Boulder Ski Deals is my rental location of choice, with rentals from just $10 a day for kids skis and even better deals for everyone as the season gets older. You can also try Crystal Ski Shop and the rentskis.com site. All these have deals for group rates, and extended rentals. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Food and beverages are expensive (and are kind of like airplane food in quality) on the mountain, so if at all possible, take your own lunch and snacks. The best skiing seems to happen in the mornings, with everyone winding down after lunch, so don’t think you need to take a heap of food with you – a sandwich, some juice/water and snacks is fine. Remember your chapstick and sunscreen (irritating to be so prepared and then have to buy them on the mountain).
And one final note: Please, rent a helmet. You can get helmets for $10 a day anywhere (in town or on the mountain). In fact, some resorts will charge $10 for the first rental and only $8 for the subsequent ones. We’re all about saving money, but medical expenses are far more than $10. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, if you’re learning, if it’s your first time, or if you’re seasoned – if you want to keep your head and what it has in it, protect it. Helmets keep your head warm, look good, and if you don’t wear one, you’ll be the odd one out on the slopes.
Hopefully this will give you a great start to getting out with your kids on the slopes in Colorado – have fun!