It’s that time of year folks, time to dust off the old boots and warm up the credit cards…
Pass-oriented skiers have (hopefully) already made their purchases. For the rest of us, it’s time to look for pre-season deals. Among the best of these are the multi-ticket deals offered by independent ski areas, and the discounted vouchers available through some media groups.
The multi-ticket deals are self-explanatory; ski areas generally wait until pass sales start to taper off and then offer four-packs and whatnot for another month or so. Most of these happen in November, but there are a few out there now. In some cases these are offered in the form of a discount card, where $99 gets you savings on lift tix throughout the season.
Less common and harder to find are the media deals. These are often the result of trades; the mountains buy television or radio advertising and pay for it with a combination of cash and tickets. The radio and TV stations then turn around and sell the tickets for a pre-agreed amount. This often happens through brokerage services, who then list the tickets on local deal websites along with golf passes, restaurant discounts, car wash vouchers, and what have you. You’ll have to dig for these, but they can save you a bunch of money and tend to be well worth the effort.
As for gear, unless you’re weighed down with excess cash, this is the time of year to start hitting the ski swaps. Even if you have to travel a bit, the savings often outweigh the effort required. Look for swaps sponsored not only by ski resorts, but also by local ski clubs, local ski shops, etc.
And finally, don’t forget to pencil in a ski movie on your calendar. Yes the Warren Miller films are the grandaddy of the genre, but there are other players and even some regional independents who have showings at local theaters and fundraiser venues. These can frequently be a source of coupons at local resorts, and are of course a great way to stoke the fire for the season.
Whatever you do, don’t wait for Christmas Eve to begin looking for this stuff. As ol’ Warren says, “winter starts NOW!”