Buying a ski-snowboard ticket right at the ticket window has become the exception rather than the rule in the digital age, as individual resorts and a trio of online ticket services have become the virtual “walk-up ticket window” for most mountains.
Multi-mountain season passes dominate the market right now, with Ikon, Epic and Power Pass offering unlimited runs at their own resorts – and up to five days free at partner resorts. Other mountain-specific passes do the same.
But there’s still a vibrant market for single-day or multi-day tickets at resorts not covered by a season pass. One rule to go by: Buy as far out as possible as that’s where the deepest discounts are.
So, the first place to look is always the resort’s website. Though unpredictable, skiers and riders can sometimes find “just-for-today” type deals on lift tickets, or multi-day bargains.
All three online sites – Liftopia.com, GetSkiTickets.com and Ski.com -- post the latest ticket and vacation package deals in real time for U.S., Canadian and overseas resorts. Once you purchase online, you get a confirmation e-mail that must be printed out and presented at the resort ticket window – along with a valid picture ID to get your ticket. Some redeem via a smartphone, but it’s advised to bring a hard copy of the confirmation anyway.
Many resorts put a limit on the number of discounted tickets available, like cheap seats on airlines. No refund is the general rule, regardless of weather or travel hindrances, and you can’t change the date you signed up for. But if the resort closes or the ticket rack rate falls below the discount you got online, exceptions may be made.
Liftopia has grabbed the lead in online ticket selling. The site focuses on discounted tickets at some 250 resorts, and a majority of resorts use its sophisticated pricing system that crunches past data and spits out per-day price points to give best deal – and fill parking lots up as much as digitally possible.
With more than 200 resorts, GetSkiTickets often includes rental, lesson and lodging deals with ticket bargains – including a personalized “Build a Quote” link. Categorized by state, the site will indicate if no deals are currently available but offer an e-mail notification when they come online.
Ski.Com deals primarily with the visitor who needs lodging. The site has comprehensive filtering system so that you get a choice in your price and luxury range. For ticket discounts, you must choose lodging and then include tickets in your search.