So, you didn’t buy a season ski pass.
Locking in deep discounts on lift tickets often requires skiers and snowboarders to make a leap of faith in the summer or early fall, purchasing a pass long before the first snowfall.
But if you’re not sure you’ll ski enough to make a season pass worthwhile – or if you’re someone who prefers to see if predictions for a snowy winter come true – there are still deals to be had. At Inland Northwest resorts, a little advance planning can cut the cost of lift tickets by tens of dollars.
At full-price, single-day lift tickets for adults at area ski hills range from $79 at Schweitzer Mountain Resort to $45 at Lookout Pass Ski Area. If you’re tallying the total for a family, a day of skiing can rival a weekly grocery bill.
Most resorts, however, offer discounts for purchasing packs of three or six lift tickets, which can be used on the day of the skier or snowboarder’s choice. There also are specials for seniors and students; for skiing midweek instead of on weekends; and for skiing on Sunday afternoons.
Some resorts combine deals for lodging and lift tickets, or lift tickets and lessons.
“Buying a season pass in the spring, if you know you’re going to use it, is the best way to go,” said Dig Chrismer, Schweitzer Mountain’s marketing manager. “But there are still opportunities for people in the local market to get some great deals.”
Here’s a roundup of some December deals offered by area ski resorts. Prices do not include taxes.
49 Degrees North
A pack of six adult lift tickets costs $309 at 49 Degree North Mountain Resort, and $269 for college students. The tickets are valid any day of the season at the Chewelah ski hill. The resort also offers three days of lessons, lift tickets and equipment rentals for $149. The package is for ages 5 and up.
For first-time skiers or snowboarders, Lookout Pass Ski Area has a $99 special that includes three days of lessons, lift tickets and equipment rentals. The special is for ages 7 to adult. Lookout also has season passes for college students on sale for $129.
Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is advertising a $119 “stocking stuffer” through Dec. 31. The package contains three adult lift tickets; or four tickets for a college student or member of the military. If the package is for a youth 17 or younger, it contains five lift tickets.
The resort’s Fun Pack, also on sale through Dec. 31, is $599 and includes 21 lift tickets. The pack is like a punch card, allowing the lift tickets to be used by family and friends of the purchaser, said Brenda McQuarrie, Mt. Spokane’s marketing manager.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort sells a $109 Lake Louise Plus card, which offers savings for people who expect to ski seven to 10 times at the Sandpoint resort, or take a road trip to Canada. Cardholders ski at no charge on their first, fourth and seventh visit. On other visits, skiers get $20 off their daily lift ticket. The card also can be used at selected Canadian resorts, including Lake Louise Ski Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Red Mountain Resort.
Through Dec. 24, the ski resort is selling packages of three lift tickets for $199.
Schweitzer also sells three nights lodging/three days skiing packages for two adults and up to three children under 18. The packages, which include breakfast, must be used before or after Christmas. Prices vary, but booking the trip for Jan. 2-5 would cost about $1,000, said Chrismer, the marketing manager.
Through Friday, the Kellogg ski hill is advertising three lift tickets for $125. Silver Mountain Resort also is celebrating its 50th anniversary Jan. 5 with $12 lift tickets, night skiing and fireworks.
On select days, lift tickets are $26 for college students, veterans, active military, police officers, seniors and emergency medical technicians.