Skiing on a budget: Families can hit the slopes without breaking the bank
From discounts to rentalsto special programs, there are ways for families to save
"Too old" and "too expensive" are two of the main reasons people choose to stay away from ski and snowboard slopes.
Not much can be done about aging, but lots can be done with respect to the cost of skiing and/or snowboarding.
True, skiing and snowboarding can be expensive if an individual chooses to pay top dollar for equipment, passes, lessons, fashionable attire and midday lunches.
A little planning, especially for locals, however, can cut out-of-pocket expenses considerably. Among the tricks are buying discount passes, looking into season rentals and package programs, and visiting areas with kids-ski-snowboard-free programs.
As one local skier said, "There's no reason to pay ticket-window prices for a pass." And it's true.
Online passes on www.liftopia.com, for example, can be considerably less if purchased for certain days.
Costco sells discount passes to Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons for 35 and 33 percent off, respectively.
Ski rental shops sell discount tickets for all the major resorts, and there's no need to make a purchase to participate.
Kathy Black, marketing manager for A.J. Motions Sports, said discount passes range anywhere from $5 to $23 off, "and are good any day during the season."
A regular day pass at Park City Mountain Resort, for example, is $102 at the window, but $82 at rental shops. A junior pass is $62 at the window and $53 at discount shops.
Most all resorts offer discount passes through various outlets.
There's also the option of buying a half-day pass. With today's high-speed lifts it's possible to get in all the skiing or snowboarding an individual can take in half a day.
Kids ski free
There are a number of resorts that welcome children under age 7, and in some cases 5, to ski and/or snowboard for free.
Brighton, for example, allows children 7 and under to ski/snowboard free any time; Canyons allows children 6 and under to ski/snowboard free when accompanied by an adult; Park City Mountain Resort welcomes children 6 and under anytime; Solitude opens its lifts to children 6 and under anytime; Sundance allows children 5 and under to ski/snowboard free; Snowbasin allows children 6 and under to ski/snowboard free when accompanied by a paying adult; and Snowbird welcomes kids 6 and under.
Ski Utah offers a passport program where fifth- and sixth-grade students get a pass to ski and/or snowboard free at all 14 Utah resorts.
Fifth-graders can ski or snowboard up to three times free at all 14 Utah resorts, and sixth-grade students can ski or board once at all 14 resorts. Sixth-graders must pay a $25 processing fee. Contact Ski Utah for passes at 1-801-534-1779.
There are also other benefits to the pass, including discount rentals and lessons.
It's not possible this year, but parents can ski and board along with their kids next season. Ski Utah's Yeti passes have sold out. The pass, which sold for $549, allowed parents to ski along with their fifth- and sixth-graders and was good for one pass at each of the 14 resorts, which when broken down is $39 per day.
Most of the passes, in fact, were sold to parents looking for an adventure with their kids.
Equipment can be an expense, especially when trying to keep up with the growth years of young children.
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