Snow on the mountain tops causes mixed feelings among Vermonters. For some, it's a nudge toward getting the winter tires back on. For others, it's a sign that the ski and snowboard season is about to begin. But while you can't ski or ride just yet, you should already be strategizing how to get the best time on the slopes for your buck.
Vermont Edition spoke with Lisa Lynn, editor and co-publisher of Vermont Ski and Ride Magazine, about this season's deals.
"Think about how many days you're going to ski, and what kind of skier you are," says Lynn.
This year, Stowe Mountain was selected to be a part of the Mountain Collective, a group of resorts ranging from Switzerland to Australia. Domestically, it includes Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Taos Ski Valley, Sun Valley and more. Purchasing the Mountain Collective Pass gives you two days of skiing at these locations, and others across the world.
- The M.A.X. Pass to Stratton, Killington and Pico as well as 22 resorts around the country
- The Threesome Pass to Sugarbush (Mt. Ellen and Lincoln Peak) and Mad River Glen for college students
- The Double Down Pass to Stratton and Mount Snow includes $40 mid-week buddy tickets
To avoid paying exorbitant fees for one day of skiing, Lynn suggests buying multiple tickets through discount vouchers, or purchasing a pay-in-advance card offered at some mountains that guarantees the lowest rate.
"If you ski someplace like the Middlebury Snow Bowl, Cochran's, Bolton Valley, or Bromley, there are some really good deals there. These might not be the biggest resorts out there, but they are just as much fun and often you'll find no crowds and great powder," says Lynn.
There are many special deals for kids available. At some mountains, like Sugarbush, kids under 12 can ski for free. Ski Vermont offers the Fifth Grade Passport, a $10 voucher book that allows any child in fifth grade to ski at different resorts around Vermont.
As for gear, many ski shops offer season-long rental agreements at a tenth of the cost of buying the gear.
"The beauty of that is that you always have freshly-tuned skis and you have the latest equipment. If you have children that will be growing out of the equipment the following year, it makes a lot of sense to look into lease programs," says Lynn.