Finding a good ski-and-ride deal can be like discovering a secret stash of powder in the woods of your favorite mountain; there are plenty out there, but not everyone knows how to find the best ones.
While the resorts typically present a bevy of lift-ticket deals throughout the season, they’re normally tied to lodging packages, which cuts out both the locals and day-trippers. Daily lift ticket deals are often under the radar, tied to secondary promotions, frequent-skier cards, and annual spring events in order to get you to bypass the golf course on those sunny days in March and April.
Here’s a roundup of some of the bargains you might not be aware of for the 2013-14 skiing and riding season in New England.
■ One of the best ways to save on lift tickets, lodging, and restaurants in Vermont is with the purchase of the Vermont Travel Club Card. For a $44 membership, the card will give significant discounts at resorts like Stowe ($27 off a lift ticket, no holiday blackouts), Jay Peak ($46 lift tickets), and Sugarbush ($51 midweek tickets). You’ll also save up to 15 percent at Vermont lodging options, as well as up to 10 percent at restaurants, including Gracie’s and Trattoria La Festa in Stowe, and The Inn at Six Mountains in Killington. Family memberships are also available for $159 for four or more. Visit www.vermonttravelclub.com for more information.
■ In the same vein, the Ride and Ski Card also doles out daily lift-ticket discounts, while a portion of the proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, N.H. Only $29, the card delivers widespread savings at resorts across Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Canada. Highlights include two-for-one midweek lift tickets at Mad River Glen; $5 off at Blue Hills Ski Area, seven days a week, nonholiday; and $10 off weekends at Black Mountain in Jackson, N.H., two-for-one lift tickets midweek. This year, Killington Mountain Resort has been added to the mix, offering $10 off lift tickets, including holidays. Visit www.rideandskine.com for more.
■ In case you’ve been in the dark the past few years, Liftopia has become a major player in the skiing and riding savings department. Depending upon the dates selected, skiers and riders can receive significant savings on daily lift tickets at resorts across the country. Some select savings in New England include $20 lift tickets at Waterville Valley, $25 at Gunstock, and a three-day, $145 pass to Bolton Valley. Dates and prices vary. Be flexible for the biggest deals. www.liftopia.com
■ Keep an eye on social savings sites like Groupon and Living Social throughout the season. These sites will often have ticket deals for $40 or less, as well as great savings on ski and snowboard tune-up options and lodging deals. www.groupon.com , www.livingsocial.com
■ Ski it if you can, and for $3.50, how can you not? Mad River Glen will again be offering its Roll Back the Clock Day on Jan. 28, when all lift tickets will cost what they originally sold for at the mountain’s 1948 opening. Also, on Valentine’s Day, bring your loved one to the ticket booth, kiss him or her, and you’ll each receive $14 lift tickets. www.madriverglen.com
■ If you have a fifth-grader, Vermont is going to be a popular destination this winter, as they ski free in the Green Mountain State as part of Ski Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport Program. It’s the state’s way of promoting the perfect time for children to get into alpine activities, and only costs a $10 processing fee. Visit www.skivermont.com for more information.
■ The best skiing and riding in New England is in March, which means St. Patrick’s Day is a date worth checking for savings. This season, Mount Snow and Mad River Glen, among other resorts, will offer $17 lift tickets that day.Eric Wilbur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.