Buying A Season Pass This Ski Season: Are They Worth the Investment?

by Travis McCullough | December 5, 2023

For most of us who love to shred, our expendable income only goes so far. Every season we have to make hard decisions like whether to spend our paychecks on a season pass or lift tickets instead. In a perfect world, we could say yes to either without racking our brains on the subject, but unfortunately, that’s not the reality for everyone. Let’s break down some of the things you should be pondering before pulling the trigger on a season pass.

Factors To Consider Before Buying

Before you jump the gun and start doling out your precious money, take a moment to consider your situation and compare the season pass you want to others on the market. Passes aren’t quite as pricey as a new car or home, but keep in mind you could spend this money on something like shiny new gear instead. And who doesn’t love brand-new gear, right?

Number Of Mountains On The Pass

number of mountainsNot all passes are created equal and many offer much more bang for your buck when it comes to skiable territory. Consider how many mountains are offered on the pass. Some passes offer one, some offer a handful, and super passes offer a ton. Larger passes are usually the best value if skiing a ton of different mountains is important to you.

If broadening your horizons and adding more notches to your belt of new resorts to ski then it is almost always a good move to buy a pass with multiple prospective mountains on it. On the other hand, if you have one mountain in your crosshairs, the decision can go either way depending on your budget. You will have consider this next one if this is the boat you are in.

Number Of Days You Want To Ski

This is one of the biggest factors you should spend some time thinking about before you make a decision because it is an easy way to put a number on how much money your ski season will cost.. Take the time to calculate how many days you need to ski in order for the pass to pay for itself. Some of us only ski one or two days a year, and some of us eat, breathe, and dream about skiing all year long. More power to both camps, but those who treat skiing as a part-time hobby will usually fare better buying individual lift tickets.

number of days you can ski

Break out that calendar and split the number of days you want to ski into two categories, the maximum number of days you can ski and the minimum number of days you want to ski. Life happens and it’s rare that we get to ski every single day that we aren’t working, so in order to get a rough estimate on how much we would spend on lift tickets, shoot for a number in between your minimum and maximum. Now you can take that number and start comparing the cost of lift tickets vs. season passes.

Travel Distance To The Resort

distance to ski resort

When the start of ski season is upon us, it’s easy to forget logistics like the time, effort, and cost of traveling. These costs can stack up quickly and get stressful for those skiers who are new to the game. Airfare, car rentals, lodging, and food are just a few extra expenses that you can expect to pay if the mountains on your pass aren’t local.

This number can vary drastically depending on your situation, but the main takeaway here is to keep in mind that the value of a season pass doesn’t necessarily end with its face value. Remember that you have to be able to get to and from the mountain every day that you feel like shredding.

Final Thoughts

Season passes aren’t cheap and get more expensive almost every season, but the juice can still be worth the squeeze in many situations. The answer to whether or not you should invest in a season pass will depend on the number of days you plan to ski, how many mountains the pass offers, and the travel distance to the resort. Many skiers will save money by just purchasing single-day lift tickets, but the die-hards are always better off purchasing a pass to save some hard-earned cash. 

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