No pass, no problem


We get it, you work hard all week and like restaurants, nightlife, movies, art galleries, house parties and all the other fun weekend activities down here on the flatlands. So, despite the fact that you may own a snowboard or have good buddies who ski, you’re probably only going to get a few days in this winter and you didn’t get a season pass.

Given that walk-up daily lift tickets are pricy, what’s a casual skier or snowboarder to do? We feel your pain, and we’re here to protect your wallet. Here are our picks of the best deals this winter for those who don’t have a pass but still want to score a few turns with friends.

Colorado Gems Card – $30
Colorado’s “gems” are a collection of 11 different low-key ski areas across the state, such as Loveland, Eldora and Monarch. Available via the marketing arm of Colorado’s ski industry, Colorado Ski Country USA, the Gems Card gives holders two-for-one lift tickets and other discounts at some of the state’s lesser-known, but still awesome, ski hills.

Aspen SKI30 — $499-$879
Aspen is world-famous, but it’s also expensive. Do an Aspen ski vacation on the cheap with their SKI30 deal. Offering unlimited skiing and riding for 30 consecutive days when you book at least seven nights of lodging through a preferred tour operator. It’s valid Jan. 1 through April 19, 2020, and costs $879 for adults, $499 for child/teen/seniors. But you have to book by the 15th of the month before your trip.

Loveland 4-PAK — $169
Full-day adult lift tickets for less than $50? Sure! Ski Loveland for a mere $42.25 a day with this great deal. The ski area’s 4-PAKs are actual lift tickets that can be used by anyone on any day of the season with no restrictions and no blackouts.

Online at Monarch — Up to 40% off
A bit of planning before you head to the hill pays off big-time at Monarch ski area, where it’s possible to save up to 40% off the walk-up cost of a daily lift ticket by purchasing your pass online. Tickets can be bought up to 11 p.m. the day before you hit the hill, perfect for the procrastinators among us.

Window rate, Ski Cooper — $62 (adult full day)
Let’s face it, if you’re just looking to go out and make some turns without headaches, stress or a big hit to the wallet, there are few places in Colorado as affordable as Ski Cooper. Perched on top of Tennessee Pass between Leadville and Minturn, this low-key ski area has a rich history (the 10th Mountain Division trained here before going on to heroics in World War II), family-friendly charm and daily lift ticket prices that you can’t beat.