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|April 23-29, 2009
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Goodbye winter, hello ski deals
How to get the best prices for next year’s ski season this spring
by Isaac Woods Stokes
Only time will tell if the ’09-’10 season will be deep, but we already know it will be cheap(er).
For the first time since the era of skinny skis, ski passes are declining in cost. The slowing economy has forced ski areas to put their prices in reverse. Beep, beep, beep — back it up. You may be skiing for the “governor’s team” next winter, but with these deals, unemployment (aka “fun and enjoyment”) is more appealing and affordable than ever. The ski areas are very eager to book revenue now and offer many deals with only low sub-$100 initial deposits, which is merely rock ski money. Without further ado, the beta:
Winter Park & Copper
The tres popular Super Pass takes a 10 percent haircut and the price falls to 4 Benjamins even. This comes with a kicker in six free unrestricted days at sister resort Steamboat (valued at least $500 alone), and you can also ski gratis Friday afternoons at Steamboat.
You also qualify for 10 discounted day tickets for buddies in ’09-’10. The resorts says “find your inner ski bum.” The real question is, was he/she ever lost?
Speaking of the venerable “Boat,” for ’09-’10 they have rolled back prices to the lowest in a decade to $879 when you place a $100 deposit by June 1st. If you want to “Ultimize” the pass — add full unlimited access to Winter Park and Copper — it is merely an additional $40. You also cache four $50 day passes for friends in ’09-’10. Lastly, when an adult or legal guardian purchases a full pass, a 12-and-under child gets a complimentary seasons pass.
A-Basin may seem to have been around since snowflakes were invented, but the super classic hill has recently been reinventing itself. The super sweet former backcountry run down to Montezuma has become epic legal inbounds terrain (nearly doubling the available acreage), and the hill is similarly progressive with pass prices. The Basin has turned back prices to ’07 levels — $279, when you place a $50 deposit by April 30. For $339 you can score the Bonus Pass, which allows you five additional days at neighboring Breckenridge and Keystone with one day allocated at the always-tasty duo of Vail or Beaver Creek. You also get a day of unguided skiing at Silverton, a must on the resume of any well-traveled Colorado skier.
Apparently, Mother Nature has been feeling the love for this low-key resort. The base is a rocking (or rock burying) 95 inches at mid mountain as the end of April approaches. That is money! What isn’t much money is their program, which allows you to show your pass from any other resort and score a Loveland day ticket for $30. The resort anticipates being open through May 3, and at a mere 60 miles from Boulder, it’s an über-easy way to reconnect with winter ’08-’09 before it slips into the history books. Loveland is also offering ’09-’10 season passes at ’07 prices, $339 for new customers and $305 on renewals. Further sweetening the deal is three free days at Monarch Mountain outside of Salida, a snowy little spot convenient on the way to Crested Butte, Telluride and other destinations down south.
Durango Mountain Resort
Still known to many as Purgatory (its name for decades), the resort has put prices in purgatory for ’09-’10 by freezing prices and adding benefits. Adult All Season passes are $539, student passes $289 and children’s passes are as low as $119 when purchased with an adult. As the name would imply, the pass gets you on the hill all summer as well, with access to the alpine slide, hiking and mountain biking activities. For winter goodies, the pass offers three-day tickets at Taos and Monarch, half-price ski days at Crested Butte and 10 days at Kirkwood in the Tahoe area (reputed to be the best kept secret in that region, and a fav among hard-charging California powder aficionados).
The locals’ choice in Boulder offers up season passes at a discount if you buy before the end of April. You can score a full season pass renewal for $359, or a first-time pass for a reasonable $10 more. Midweek passes are $249 on renewal, and the super desirable fully-transferable No Limits pass is $599 (pass can be used by anyone, anytime). Eldora looks out for the military with a $149 pass for those on active duty. The entire fam can ski for $839 on renewal of the Family Pass (two adults and two under-17 children, or one adult and three kids). Considering the perennial free parking and meager gas burn, Eldora has always made economic sense. When you factor in the time savings of no I-70 and quick close-in parking, the deposits in the time bank are just as valuable.
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