Here’s a fun fact: A lot of ski areas — including Aspen, Breckenridge, and Telluride — allow skiers to trek up certain areas of their mountains and ski down specific routes free of charge. Earning your turns can be a great way of getting in shape and saving some cash; but for those of us who don’t have the time or leg strength to do that over and over during a ski trip, a lift ticket is really the best option. Unfortunately, it’s also a very expensive option as lift passes have rapidly increased in price over the past decade. You can avoid some serious sticker shock, though, if you know where to look. To that end, we’ve put together a list of some of the best sites to buy lift tickets online — because, trust us, you’ll want that extra cash for lunch.
Epic Pass (snow.com)
You probably already know about this one. The Epic Pass was one of the first ever options for skiers who wanted to tackle multiple mountains during one season. The Epic Pass is nestled under the Vail Resorts family, which includes an ever-expanding list of resorts across the globe. With the full Epic Pass ($783 for adults, $399 for kids), you get unlimited access to resorts like Vail, Whistler, Heavenly, Park City, and Crested Butte, along with limited access to Telluride and ski resorts in Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. There is also an Epic Local Pass ($583 for adults), which can be a great deal if you’re willing to put up with some blackout dates and limited access to certain resorts. Passholders get 20% off of food and beverage, lodging, rentals, and transportation, along with one free wax. Be sure to purchase as soon as possible — prices increase the closer you get to the start of the season.
Similar to the Epic Pass, but with a whole slew of different resorts, the Ikon Pass is a solid option for those who are planning on shredding a lot of powder this season. This one is a bit more expensive, with the top-tier option coming in at $1,049 for a new passholder ($999 for those who are renewing). The resort options are incredible, though: you’ll get unlimited access to ski areas like Steamboat, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and several other resorts in North America, along with 7-day access to legendary spots like Big Sky Resort, Montana; Zermatt, Switzerland; and Niseko United, Japan. Like the Epic Pass, you’ll get discounted food, beverage, and retail (15%); plus, you can get 25% off of lift tickets for friends and family.
A unique alternative to the Epic and Ikon passes, this one comes with a bit of a twist. The Mountain Collective pass gives you access to 23 resorts spread out all over the world, but with only 2 days at each (46 days total), and then 50% off any additional days. While this is definitely an interesting format, we love the fact that with one pass you can ski Taos; Jackson Hole; Aspen Snowmass; Revelstoke, British Columbia; Chamonix, France; Valle Nevado, Chile; and resorts in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. And it’s only $519 for adults, so you can get some serious value if you play your cards right. The Mountain Collective pass also gives you a lodging discount at member resorts so that you’re saving even more money. Given that 46 individual days at most resorts would run you well over $4,000, we feel like this is a fair deal.
Direct Booking Through Resort Sites
Oftentimes you can save the most money by buying lift tickets directly through the ski area’s website. And this is especially true if you’re looking to purchase a package — with hotel, rentals, and/or airfare included. To find these discounts, you’ll normally want to look for the Packages or Deals section. Through Winter Park, for example, you can book an Insider’s Package, with up to 30% off of lift tickets, along with deep discounts on tours, rentals, and ski school; and Snowbird has several unique ticketing bundles through its site, including the Ten-2-Share plan, which gives you and your friends and family access to a total of ten days on the mountain (no blackout dates) for $799. As with other resources on this list, you’ll want to buy as early as possible to get the best prices.
If you’re looking for a one-stop site that’s going to tick all of the necessary ski trip boxes, this is a fantastic resource. Through Ski.com, you’ll be able to book flights, hotel, rentals, lessons, shuttles, and other on-mountain activities. It’s super easy to find the perfect package — they’ll even let you hop on a Zoom call with a ski travel expert who can help give you the rundown on where to go and how by learning about your skill level, budget, and desired destinations. And once you’ve booked a trip, you’ll have access to a Mountain Travel Expert, who will help you navigate your trip should you have questions or concerns — your Sherpa, if you will.
Note: Check the site’s Deals page for a quick list of discounts on lodging, lift tickets, and packages.
Snowpak is incredibly easy to use, allowing you to quickly find affordable ski packages that include lift tickets, lodging, ski rentals, and transfers. All you have to do is input your desired resort, dates, and number of travelers, and you’ll be given a myriad of options at different price points. Snowpak allows you to book packages for resorts all over the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia, and will even help you book a cat or heli-skiing trip.
There’s no way around the fact that it costs a pretty penny to chase fresh powder. These online options for purchasing lift tickets should significantly ease the sting of the price tag, though. Remember, plan well in advance of your trip — buying tickets as early as possible is almost always going to be cheaper. And, in general, the more options (hotels, rentals, shuttles, etc.) you can bundle with your lift passes, the cheaper the packages will be. Hit up one of these sites before this ski season and you might even be able to afford those new Rossignols you’ve been eyeing.