Reasonable season-long packages for weekly skiing?
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(Anonymous)
February 20, 2000
Hi All,
When I was growing up in New York in the early 70's, around the Catskills, my parents signed three of us kids up for weekly skiing (ages 14, 12, 9). It included ski and boot rentals and lift tickets for the entire season. There were also lessons (that you could take if you wanted) included. A school bus came by and picked us up at the house and ferried us to the same ski area every Saturday. I guess it was about the caliber of a Liberty--don't recall the name of the mountain off hand. We wore a ticket on our skicoats (sweaters) and they punched it each time we arrived at the ticket office. We were there from 8-4 skiing and brought our lunches to eat in the lodge.
My family was FAR from wealthy, yet they were able to afford this deal. I can't find a single situation like that in Northern Virginia. At the prices we have to pay for rental, lift and lessons, the most we can go as a family of four is about 2x per season max. That's nuts. I'm not aware of any ski clubs with anything like this advertised at the local schools either.
Skiing shouldn't be devolving into just a "rich guy" sport. Why couldn't this work in our area and/or how could something like this get started for the kids?
Oh yes, how about ski rental packages for adults while we're at it-- especially for those new to the sport.
Cheers,
Suji
Scott - DCSki Editor
February 20, 2000
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,143 posts
It's unfortunate that skiing has become so expensive. The good news is that this seems to be turning around somewhat. After rising prices throughout much of the 90's, ski resorts this season started offering better deals and even lowering ticket prices. They have to: skier visits aren't increasing, and too many people are being turned off by the high prices.

Here's one example I saw locally. Hidden Valley decided this season to offer some great deals on season passes. A season pass for adults was $200, and for juniors (12 and under) was $150. The passes were good for skiing, boarding, or X-C skiing anytime the resort is open. I think there may have been some discounts available on rentals and/or lessons, too (as well as snow tubing), but can't recall all the details.

An unlimited season pass for $200 is really a good deal, so I was happy to see Hidden Valley doing this. Other resorts also had special deals on season passes or for people who planned to ski multiple times throughout the season. For example, Ski Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail have the Advantage Card, which is quite popular.

Many resorts have good deals midweek - when slopes around here are often empty - although the majority of people can only go on weekends.

But you're right, the cost of taking a family skiing these days is prohibitive enough to make it a once-in-awhile "treat," and not a regular form of recreation. And that's unfortunate.

- Scott

Jim
February 20, 2000
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Suji,

Try some creative hunting for off the beaten path deals. For example, when I was an undergraduate in Buffalo, the University had a great deal where I got to ski nearly every day at different areas for about $100 a season. It was slightly more for alumni. Maybe one of the colleges or universities in this area have something like that. Another thing to try is to check for specials at ski shops. I think Canaan Valley was offering cheaper lift tickets if you bought from a ski shop ahead of time. Also check out any web specials that may exist.

One way to get a ton of skiing for a lower price is to volunteer at one of the local ski areas. All kinds of part-time positions are available with ski perks. Ski Liberty, for example, has courtesy staff that helps folks out at the base area. There's also trail patrol helping to police the slopes and to investigate any accidents (some training involved). If you like to teach, you can become an instructor (more training involved). Or if you like helping people who are injured, you can try to be a candidate for ski patrol (LOTS of training). All of these positions come with comp tickets of varying quantities. Generally, the more you volunteer, the more tickets you get for you and your family. While you do have to make a season long commitment, its a great way to help defray ski costs. Areas are always looking. For example, with Whitetail trying to rebuild under new management, I'm sure there are lots of possibilities for next season.

Good luck.

Otto
February 21, 2000
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts
Local areas do a lot of group sales to county recreation associations, church groups, etc.
You might sniff around and see what you can find through these venues as these packages are often not just single trip deals but weekly trips for an entire season w/lift ticket, lesson and rental in the price.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 22, 2000
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,728 posts
Suji, those are neat memories, where did you ski, Bellayre? Blue Knob, Pa used to offer a program just like that for local Pa kids, not sure if they still do, but from DC the logistics are just too tough. I think our more local areas like whitetail and liberty don't offer such programs because its so darn expensive to run areas that rely so heavily on manmade snow operations and they have no lack of full paying customers. You might contact Bryce? They are pretty kid friendly. I have four kids, the best way I've found to beat costs is to buy used eqmt at ballston ski show or ski patrol used sales(get the whole set for about price of 1.5 days rental), use about two years and pass on to younger siblings. Other benefit of this is no waiting in rental lines. Not only are costs a factor, but so are crowds. I try to ski weekend nights or on rare weekdays when kids are out of school to beat both, but even still i'm lucky if i get the whole gang out 4 or 5x a year. Also, remember in March weekend crowds go down and so do lift prices at many areas. If we get thru the warm upcoming week, should be good march skiing this year.
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