It is with a heavy heart that I even have to write this pages. When we were young lads, we didn’t much worry with this. Mainly because we did mostly backcountry, but back in those days lift tickets were CHEAP. Especially compared to now. I remember in 1995 getting a 3-day pass to Breck/Key/Copper for $99. Now you can barely ski anywhere for $99/day. And Vail was $189/day last year at the window.
So we are both now a little too old to be messing around in the backcountry, and we have to stand in lines with everyone else. Luckily, we hate paying for lifts so much that we have developed some pretty solid little games here in Colorado. We have a few others for other states, but CO is our sweet spot.
Vail – Beaver Creek – Keystone – Breck
Let’s just get these boys out of the way right up front. These are known as the Vail Resorts because they are all owned by Vail Resorts, which means they are expensive. In 2016-17, Vail/BC were $189/day at the window and Breck was $175. I think Keystone dropped down to $135 to edge out Copper. At any rate. Here are your two plays.
Probably the best local’s deal around
Buy one of their Epic passes. There are several different types. They are a phenomenal deal if you are going to ski a decent amount of days. Depending on which pass you are going to buy, you will know the math for you. While Vail has no issue slaughtering everyone who walks up to the counter, if you are a local or buy way in advance, you will get some incredible local pricing.
Buy online at least 7 days in advance
This is the only discount you will find to Vail Resorts after Epic Passes are no longer for sale. They are strict about the 7 days, so don’t mess around. Buying online a week in advance will save somewhere between 10-16%, depending on the time of season. They claim 25%, but that’s not true.
Sometimes Colorado Ski Authority (talk about them more in a minute) has some discount Breck lift tickets if you follow that blue button, but it’s usually like once every five seasons. Worth a shot just in case, but likely won’t work.
Liftopia has been a main resource of ours. Just like with Kayak, make sure that you are only searching their site in incognito. We have seen prices go up in multiple sessions well in advance of ski day. Maybe we are paranoid, but I think that’s how their system works. They don’t have everyone in CO. No Vail Resorts. No Aspen Resorts. No Telluride or Steamboat. I know. It doesn’t leave much, but if you are skiing in those that remain, their prices are pretty amazing and often can scorch the window price by 30-38%.
Get Ski Tickets
GetSkiTickets is another. It’s not as easy to use and has even fewer deals than Liftopia, but sometimes they have an edge here and there if we are going into parts unknown.
Colorado Ski Authority
Colorado Ski Authority is a site that just has good information about all things Colorado skiing. They usually have some good deals on lift tickets, though they are typically through the above sites, but sometimes, as we mentioned, they are able to work a deal with Vail Resorts and make those tickets a little skinnier. Good dudes. We have boarded alongside them before and talked shop on the lifts.
Spots to look at
If you like big mountain skiing, then think on Winter Park and Copper. They are cheaper than the well-known spots, fewer people on the weekends/in the spring and you are going to have a good time wit their good vibe. You will ski more, too, because you will wait in line less. That’s a good thing. If you are in shape.
Monarch is another favorite. It’ll be LESS THAN HALF of what it costs to those big names. It is small and the lifts are all two-seaters, but brothers and sisters you will love it here. They get tons of snow. They aren’t on I-70. And the vibe is still like it was back in the day with dogs in the parking lot and people tailgating. You will love it.
Rule for all lift tickets everywhere
Buy online in advance. It’s that simple. There are deals to nearly to every resort on the planet if you book online early. Buy a pass if that makes sense, but if not, just trust us. You will save so much without doing anything.