When the calendar flips into January in New England, it annually triggers an avalanche of price breaks and discounts.
For established skiers and boarders, the end of the holiday vacation period this weekend means a return to non-peak pricing. Lift lines will shorten, and as resorts look to fill the void between December school breaks and the long Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, many traditional midweek price perks are back in action.
Newcomers to snow sports can take advantage of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, the industry-wide initiative that has been aimed at beginners since 2009. Resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts have promotions designed to help new skiers and riders hit the slopes.
Some of the best deals are in Vermont and New Hampshire, with a number of resorts offering $29 lift, lesson, and rental packages. You can search for the closest participating locations at www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org.
Steals and deals
For ages, the stalwart of ski deals in New England has been the midweek two-for-one. Among resorts offering such pricing this season are Gunstock (2-for-$51 Mondays), Bromley (2-for-$71 Tuesdays), Bretton Woods (2-for-$75 Wednesdays), Sunapee (2-for-$69 Wednesdays), and Cannon (2-for-$74 Tuesdays and Thursdays, including New Year’s Day).
If you’re willing to gamble on the weather and conditions, Mount Sunapee has introduced a new twist to advance-purchase pricing for midweek tickets only: Buy online four days in advance and get 50 percent off the window rate. Three days in advance gets you 40 percent off; two days 30 percent; one day 20 percent (pricing changes take effect every midnight).
A number of resorts have season-long midweek discounts: Black Mountain in New Hampshire has $20 pricing for women on Tuesdays; afternoon-only $17 Wednesday tickets for all customers, and $25 Thursday tickets for ages 55+ (includes breakfast) . . . Pico has $26 tickets on three days: Mondays (ages 55+, includes breakfast), Thursdays (women), and Fridays (men) . . . Crotched has $29 deals on Mondays (ages 55+), Tuesdays (all customers) and Wednesdays (college students).
Shawnee Peak features $92 carload pricing on Mondays (eight-person limit); $25 on Tuesdays (all customers), and $40 on both Thursdays (men) and Fridays (women) . . . Sugarbush will sell Mt. Ellen-only tickets for $30 on Thursdays . . . Bolton Valley has $24.50 tickets on Mondays for ages 50+ . . . Burke has $35 Tuesday and Thursday tickets for ages 55+ . . . Fridays at Killington are $52 for ages 50+ . . . Wildcat and Attitash have $50 Friday lift tickets for all customers; in March both resorts will drop that price to $40 . . . This Sunday only, kids 18 and under pay their age at the Mount Snow ticket window.
College students have two entire weeks of on- and off-slope revelry scheduled at various mountains. The best college fest lift ticket breaks (student ID required) are at Black ($17 midweek through Jan. 16), Mount Snow ($29 on Jan. 8 and 15), Sunday River ($39 midweek Jan 5-9), and Sugarloaf ($42 midweek Jan. 5-9).
Who needs a car to hit the slopes? The Boston Ski & Sports Club has upcoming day trips to Stowe (Saturday), Killington (Sunday), Sunday River (Jan. 7), Jay Peak (Jan. 10), and Cannon (Jan. 11). Pricing for most day trips this season will be $84 (weekend excursions) and $67 (weekdays). The cost includes transportation and a lift ticket; discounts are also available on lessons and equipment rentals. You don’t have to be a BSSC member to participate, but signing up gets you additional price breaks. The bus picks up at various locations in and around Boston; details at www.bssc.com.