Hear me out.
How many times have you found yourself looking at the snow report for a mountain you’ve never been to, only to wince at the lift ticket price? It’s a common dilemma for anyone who dreams of chasing storms. In times like this it is important to take a step back and consider what the value of a day of skiing really is.
For some, the allure of a ski resort is not only the lift ride up, but also the hopes for a bluebird sky and warm, predictable conditions. If you’re in this camp, you might want to consider reading a different article. $150 is never a good reason to go ski OK snow, unless you’re a chump.
So, powderhounds, we must ask ourselves, what really makes it worth it? It comes down to three things:
1. Fresh snow.
How much, is the question? For anything less than 6 inches is it going to be worth it? What has the weather been like in the area in the time leading up to it? If there is a half-foot of fresh on the ground and it’s been dumping for a week, then GO FOR IT! There is nothing like several days of constant snow to make any slope amazing.
On the flip side, if it has been dry and/or warm, six inches will only serve to remind you of what it could be at best, and the dreaded dust on crust at worst. In other words, it’s probably not worth it.
There is nothing like coming into a snow-laden parking lot after getting up in the wee hours, knowing that excellent snow awaits. Giddily looking at the lift, racing to put ski boots on, it’s all so ideal, but depending on your location, not all mountains are within a few hours of driving so a spur-of-the-moment departure is often out of reach. This is where point 1 is especially critical – who in their right mind would get up at the crack of dawn to go ski mediocre snow? Not me, that’s for sure.
Knowing that a foot and a half of blower pow awaits at the end of a three-hour drive, though? GO FOR IT. The snow had better be special (or the rest of the mountains bone-dry) to justify any longer drive than that.
Having a great drive to the mountain is an important part to starting the day. While good snow can bring cheer to anyone, there is one last key factor to consider when asking ‘is it worth it?’.
Having a carload of friends is the most sure-fire way to ensure that the excitement level is appropriate when preparing to say goodbye to at least one of your Benjamin’s. Between the music pumping you up around each turn to the mountain, the thoughts of chairlift rides cracking up with your buddies, and of course the parking lot beers, friends can help to make any occasion feel like it is worth it. All the better if the snow is great, or if they already have passes to that mountain.
Friends bring “good” days into the “great” range, and turn “great” days into “epic” days, but there is only so much that companionship can do; if the snow is bad and the mountain is far away, hey, maybe it’s worth it to find something else to do for the day.
If the above conditions are met, the last question to ask of yourself is, why should I ever pay full price for lift tickets??
Here is the good news–you don’t have to. You can check with us to find cheaper tickets to the mountain you’ve been wanting to go to and relax knowing that the day doesn’t have to be perfect for you to feel like you got your money’s worth.