If you’re planning to buy a season pass this year, the time is now. Discount “early bird” prices end soon.
Pass buyers will get more perks this year because resorts are trying to attract more locals. For example, Steve Andrus, Snowbasin’s sale and sports honcho, says, “Purchase a pass to Snowbasin, and you get six free ski days at sister resort Sun Valley, plus four ‘Buddy Passes,’ which are half-off tickets.” Snowbasin ends its early-bird price in early October. A season pass costs $950 now, but goes up to $1,100 after the Oct. 3.
Some resorts are ending their early-bird deals right now. Brighton and Snowbird offers theirs only through Sept. 15.
Randy Doyle, Brighton’s mountain manager, points out that pass prices haven’t gone up this year, and there are introductory early-bird bargains. “We have a pass for 11- to 17-year-olds for $299. If someone in your family buys a full-price pass, then it’s only $179. An adult pass is $849. Military or student pass is $499. After Sept. 15, all passes go up roughly $100. But the deeply discounted passes like the 11- to 17-year-old special just go away; they’re no longer available,” he says.
Jared Ishkanian, PR honcho for Snowbird, says “The full, unlimited tram-and-chair pass is $999 now, and will be $1,099 after the 15th. We have a chair pass only (no tram access) for $899, going up to $999 after the 15th.” Ishkanian adds, “You can save up to $100 by purchasing any pass by the 15th. Our passes also have perks, like discounts for friends and family and discounts for ski and snowboard school.”
Buying a pass this year isn’t simple; it can be as complicated as a calculus class. Park City Mountain Resort won’t pull their early-bird discounts until Oct. 31, but with the resort’s innovative new system, you may need that long to figure out what kind of pass to buy. An adult day pass is just $699 for full lift access with no blackout days. But extras cost … extra.
PR head Krista Parry explains, “People can customize their pass to include what they want, such as underground parking, fast tracks, and night skiing and riding. Each of those options is $200. What we’re doing is letting the pass-holder pay only for what they want. We unbundled it so people can pick and choose. We call the new season pass, ‘My Pass, My Way.’”
The Canyons, where discounts end Oct. 15, offers different “level” passes: A basic “silver” pass is $999; a “gold” pass is $1,299, but with it you get two lift tickets, three ski lessons, four nights of free hotel lodging and free hot chocolate all season long. After Oct. 15, the silver pass costs $1,200, the gold pass $1,699.
Even skier’s friend Alta offers many choices. There’s a basic pass ($999), mid-week ($799), or Utah student passes—6 and under $99, 7-12 $179, 13-17 $199. Early-bird prices end Sept. 29; after that, adult pass prices increase $100, and older student passes increase $50. Passes for those 6 and under remain unchanged.
Some resorts are pulling their early-bird deals even earlier. Brighton and Snowbird offered theirs only through Sept. 15.
To complicate things further, there’s an array of nonpass early-bird deals. If you’ll just hit the slopes 10 or 15 times during year, it’s better to buy a resort coupon book and purchase a lift ticket or two should you need it. If most of your snow-riding is in the evening, buy a night pass; it costs half or less of the full-pass price. If you rarely go on weekends, get a cheaper midweek pass. Most Utah resorts also offer discounted passes for seniors, college students and those in the military.
You can hit your favorite resort’s Website to see pass prices and early-bird dates. Some resorts will allow you to make a down payment and pay the balance within a specified time, but you’ll have to call to ask about it; that info is never on the Websites. If you want to check out all resort information in one place, the Ski Utah Website (SkiUtah.com) has a complete roundup of pass prices and early-bird deals.