I just broke down and purchased two Timberline season passes yesterday for $299 a pass. It's tough to spend money on skiing in May, but passes go up to over $549 come 31 May so it pays to buy now.
Anyone who plans to ski at least 7 regular weekend days over the season should buy a pass. The pass also gives you a lot of flexibility. For example, if I had to buy a ticket, I would never ski for just two hours before leaving on a Sunday or nab a few hours of night skiing on Friday nights after the long drive.
The best deal in town is this year's early bird pass at Snowshoe.
You have until 6 June to buy a Snowshoe Season pass for just $349. This is the pass I would buy if I did not own property at Timberline. Why? Snowshoe always opens 1-2 weeks before Timberline and closes 1-2 weeks later. That means for just $49 bucks more, you get up to 4 more weeks of skiing.
In the dreams category, what I'd really love to see is a regional Mid-Atlantic ski pass. I think many people would pay up to $600 for a pass good at a multiple resorts. Snowtime offers a pass good at Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop, and when those resorts are closed, Windham in NY. But I want more--a pass that would cover both east and west of the Allegheny Front resorts. With chip card technology (used extensively in Europe), it is possible for a consortium of resorts to track usage for individual pass holders. Hence, if a pass holder uses the pass 7 times and visits Whitetail 2 times, 7 Springs 2 times, and Snowshoe 3 times, each of those resorts could be compensated precisely for the services they rendered to the individual pass holder. Snowshoe, for example, would get 3/7 of the $600 pass value (plus any lodging, meals, lessons, etc that a pass holder purchases) or about $257 plus extras. Chip cards even allow resorts to track how many lifts rides a card holder takes per visit and which lifts he or she uses. Conceivably, resorts could use this technology offer discounts to skiers who ski less heavily used slopes or who ski non-peak hours. You could pay $600 for the pass and then get a rebate of some sort (perhaps a discount on a future pass) based on when and where you ski.