The 2011-12 season is almost two months old here in Colorado Ski Country USA. The first snows and resort openings have excited our friends, and with the fresh snow come the deals we all want most, the packages and bargains that help entice millions of visitors each year to play on Colorado’s slopes. From children learning how to ski and snowboard to the full-fledged snow junkie who is an expert in the terrain park, just a little research can help guests find deals that fits their needs. Read on for our roundup of this season’s best deals and packages.
Colorado Ski Country resorts offer discounts that appeal to all ages and abilities. Beginner lessons often include rentals and gear, new multi-day passes and season passes allow access to a variety of mountains, while still more resorts have partnered with different travel entities to compile packages that bring new flights and lodging deals to the table.
Below are highlights of some of the bargains at resorts for the 2011-12 season. With such diversity of choice, the power lies with the consumer, and striking the right deal is a quick click away.
Season Passes and Special Days
The A-Basin Only Season Pass is available for $309. This pass offers unlimited, unrestricted access to A-Basin for the entire 2011/12 season. It also allows guests the following: one $40 half-day class lesson with the A-Basin Snowsports School (for pass holder only); 10 percent off food and beverage (excluding the 6th Alley Bar); 10 percent off retail at Arapahoe Sports; five unrestricted days at Bear Valley, CA. for the 2011/12 season; discounted tickets for friends and family; and $10 off performance tunes (valid all season). A-Basin Charge is valid on these passes, and full details can be found at www.Arapahoebasin.com. Prices are subject to change at any time.
The Arapahoe Basin Legend’s 4 Pass is on sale through December 5, 2011 at a cost of $148. The pass offers four days of skiing or riding at the ski area and is valid for non-transferable days until the close of the 2011-12 season. Pass holders can reload lift tickets for $54 a day once the initial four days have been used.
“Ski Free on Our Birthday and Yours” is Crested Butte’s signature celebration this season. Guests ski for free on opening day to honor the resort’s golden year, and are invited to the big birthday celebration, which will feature fun games, a birthday cake and party hats. To sweeten the deal, the resort is also offering a free lift ticket for guests on their birthday, whenever it may fall during the 2011-2012 winter season. Visitors are requested to bring a valid photo ID to the ticket office on their date of birth to receive a day of free skiing. Visit http://www.skicb.com/cbmr/index.aspx for more information.
Echo Mountain is offering its season pass for $189. This year, the pass also includes three days at Sunlight and three days at Ski Cooper. Four-packs are also available for $199 and are fully transferable. For more information, visit http://www.echomt.com/.
Loveland is offering its Daytripper Package. This includes everything an individual would need for a great day on the slopes at the right price. The Daytripper package includes a full day lift ticket, ski or snowboard rental, and all the necessary clothing: jacket, pants, gloves, hat, and goggles, for one low price. Visit http://www.skiloveland.com/ for more information.
The Flex Ticket at Loveland is Colorado’s only flexible four hour lift ticket. There is no need to wait for the half-day rate to start. Guests can ski or ride for any four consecutive hours of their choosing, during the regular and late season.
This season Monarch Mountain introduced its One Planet One Pass. For $439, pass holders have access to 27 ski areas around the world. Four resorts in Germany and one in Austria have joined with British Columbia to offer unlimited skiing at each resort. In the United States, skiers and riders have access to resorts in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, California, Michigan, and Arizona. Colorado resorts include Loveland, Durango, Telluride, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Sol Vista, Silverton, and Ski Cooper. Visit http://www.skimonarch.com/ for more information.
Season pass benefits at Ski Cooper include three free days of skiing or riding at eight other resorts. New partners for the 2011-12 season include Monarch Mountain and Ski Apache. For more information, visit http://www.skicooper.com/.
Winter Park is featured on the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, the Super Pass Plus, and Colorado Triple Play Pass. The first two passes grant access to Copper, Steamboat and Winter Park, while the Colorado Triple Play includes two days each at Winter Park, Steamboat and Aspen/Snowmass. In addition to these three passes, the resort also offers its Four Pass, which offers guests four full days of skiing and riding. The passes are available at www.Skicolorado.com and www.Coloradotripleplay.com.
The half price Silverton Mountain unguided Season Pass includes 15 free days (five days at A-Basin, five days at Monarch, and five days at Loveland). The Silverton Pass includes half price standby heli drops, discounted standby guided skiing for $79, and premium draft beers for $2.00 all season long.
At Silverton Mountain, unguided season passes include a half-day of heli-skiing and free skiing, and remain at a price that has not been raised in more than 10 years. Skiing at Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and Guided Skiing at Monarch during Silverton’s unguided season is $99. Visit http://www.silvertonmountain.com/page/home for more information.
Wolf Creek offers several Local Appreciation Days, but guests don’t have to be a local to receive the discount. Adult lift tickets on these days are sold for $33 and senior/child lift tickets are $19. College Days at Wolf Creek are another hot ticket item. College students who show a valid college photo ski for the $33 ticket price. The special schedule is posted at http://wolfcreekski.com/wolf-creek-event-calendar.php.
Aspen/Snowmass will again offer some packages for the upcoming season, such as Buy 2, Get 3 (early and late-season), Buy 4, Get 5 (mid-season), a Kids Ski & Stay Free package (spring), as well as additional affordable lodging and lift options including seven-day advance pricing (book at least 7 days in advance and save big on lift tickets). For more information, visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com/.
Kids’ Club Arapahoe is a multi-week snowsport program for children. Arapahoe Basin Snowsports School offers three different multi-week programs that cater to children 3 – 15 years. Kids’ Club Arapahoe (ages 5 – 14 yrs), Basin X-treme Teens (middle school alpine skiers) and Juniors Kids’ Club (3 – 5 years) are all programs dedicated to teaching children how to ski or ride. New for the 2011-12 season, Juniors Kids’ Club is aimed towards children 3 – 5 years old. Children are taught by the same instructor over a four week period from 9:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. Two different sessions are offered for each program beginning in January 2012. Parents can learn more about these packages online at www.arapahoebasin.com/lessons.
Durango Mountain Resort is making it easy for families to ski with its Kids Ski Free package. With the purchase of four nights lodging and four days of lift tickets for mom and dad, Durango is offering kids’ lift tickets for free. Pricing starts at $199 per family, per night. For more information visit http://www.durangomountainresort.com/.
In Steamboat, Kids Ski Free was one of the most popular packages last season, and returns this season. The Kids Ski Free package offers free lift tickets for children 12 and under when their parent or grandparent buys five or more days of lift tickets. Rentals are also free when the parents or grandparents rent for five or more days. Kids Ski Free is valid every day of the winter season. Visit http://www.steamboat.com/ for more information.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is also offering Kids Stay and Ski Free this year. Beginning March 17, 2012, through closing day, April 8, 2012, all kids age 12 and under will stay and ski for free at Crested Butte. Crested Butte is a child’s paradise with Camp CB, the resort’s kids’ ski and ride school, the Adventure Park, and Kids Night Out, a place where kids rule for the evening while mom and dad take some time for themselves. Kids Stay and Ski Free is only offered to those staying in designated lodging properties and is based on availability. For more information visit http://www.skicb.com/cbmr/index.aspx.
Sunlight will once again offer its Ski Swim Stay package. Ski at Sunlight, swim at the hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs, and then stay in Glenwood Springs for the night. Kids under 12 ski for free. For more information visit http://www.sunlightmtn.com/ski-swim-stay.
The Wolf Pup Program at Wolf Creek is for children ages 5 – 8 years old. The full day ticket ($62.00) includes four hours of lessons, a lift ticket, lunch and snacks. The Wolf Pup Center is next to the Magic Carpet, which is designed specifically for 5 – 8 year olds, with a special chef for the kids, easily accessible restrooms and rentals. Visit http://www.wolfcreekski.com/wolf-creek-childrens-ski-school.php for more information.
Lodging/ Flight deals
Fly, Ski & Stay at Crested Butte this January 1 – 31, starting at $649 per person. Guests can stay 200 yards from the ski slopes at the Grand Lodge, ski all day, and then relax in the indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub. The same package starts at $699 later in the season. To reserve this package, guests should call Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803.
Another Crested Butte signature deal is the 4th Day 4th Night incentive. Guests can buy three nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets and get the 4th night and 4th day free. Available for travel from January 3 – March 9, 2012, there is a minimum four night stay and blackout dates will apply February 22 – 25. Visit www.skicb.com or call Crested Butte Vacations at (800)600-2803 for more details.
Giving its due to the service men and women of the United States, Durango Mountain Resort is offering a Military Lift Ticket and Lodging Package with prices starting at $63 per person, per night. Packages can be customized with lodging or activity options to fit specific needs. For more details visit http://www.durangomountainresort.com/.
Durango Mountain Resort is also offering The Ultimate Ski Getaway, which includes an extra free night after the purchase of three days of lift tickets and three nights of lodging at Durango Mountain Resort. Pricing starts at $281 per adult, with lesser pricing for children 6 – 12 and students. Call 800-525-0892 to book the Buy 3, Get the 4th Free package.
Telluride boasts an early bird special this season, which includes $99 Stay and Ski during the winter months. Guests can also receive 30 percent off lodging with a three or more night stay when booking during the 2011 Snowboardcross World Cup, December 13 – 17, 2011. During the holiday season, guests who stay for five or more nights receive two complimentary four-day lift tickets. Visit http://tellurideskiresort.com/TellSki/hot-deals.aspx for more information.
Winter Park is offering its Snowball Express Vacation Package during the 2011-12 season. The Snowball Express package includes round trip coach seats aboard the scenic Amtrak® California Zephyr® train, which offers daily service to Winter Park, four nights lodging and four days of lift tickets.
Guests that book two nights, receive the third night free at Winter Park Resort. From $39 per person, per night and a two-day lift ticket from $45 per day, guests will receive a third lift ticket free. The Ski and Ride Free at Winter Park lodging package is available at www.winterparkresort.com or by calling 866.239.3994.
Ski and Snowboard School Packages
Loveland will offer a 3 Class Pass this season, for both children and first time adults. Guests are invited to take three lesson packages and upon completion will receive a free season pass. Intermediate packages are also available, and include a discounted season pass. For more details visit www.Skiloveland.com.
SolVista’s “Get on The Snow” Program is perfect for those that have yet to try Colorado’s signature sports of skiing and snowboarding. Those who want to learn to ski or snowboard can learn an exciting new sport with professional instructors, and after completion, receive a season pass for the remainder of the season.
Upon completion of two ski or snowboarding lesson packages, newcomers are given a “Get On The Snow” season pass to SolVista Basin, in addition to a 20 percent discount coupon valid for a retail merchandise purchase. This program applies to Level 1 beginners only and reservations are required. Visit http://www.granbyranch.com/ for more information.
For those who have never attempted skiing or snowboarding, Wolf Creek offers a First Day Beginner Package at a low price. The package includes a beginner lift ticket that is good for the Nova Lift all day and four hours of group lessons starting at 10:00 a.m. The cost for skiers is $54 and $64 for snowboarders. Visit http://www.wolfcreekski.com/wolf-creek-beginner-ski-school.php for more details.
Extreme Deals and Events
At SolVista Basin, Night Skiing and Tubing will take place on Saturdays from 5 – 8 p.m. This will take place under the lights every Saturday from January 7 to April 7. A combo ticket is $18 per person. Please call 1-970-887-5123 for more information.
At Silverton, try heli-skiing as a new way to enjoy the backcountry, with packages that are $320. Visit http://www.silvertonmountain.com/page/experience/heli for more details.
Wolf Creek offers a free snowcat shuttle from the saddle of Knife Ridge to the top of the Horseshoe Bowl. Schedule is over peak periods, and guests are invited to check in at the ticket office for more info.
From February 10 – 12, 2012, Crested Butte will present Yoga Rocks the Butte, a family-oriented winter yoga festival. The event features yoga, music, meditation, skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. Yoga Rocks the Butte benefits the non-profit organization Yoga World Reach, whose mission is to educate, motivate, and empower yoga teachers to provide outreach in undeveloped countries. For further information visit www.yogarocksthebutte.com.