One of the conundrums you face as a skier in northern Vermont is deciding where you purchase a season pass or discount card—or whether you do that at all. We have a bunch of ski resorts within an hour and a half from Burlington, Vt., plus an abundance of backcountry terrain that doesn't require a lift. What's a skier to do?
Part of the reason I stopped teaching skiing about six years ago was to allow myself the ability to enjoy several resorts each season—not just the one I was working at. So, for several years I didn't buy a pass anywhere and I skied around, capitalizing on Vermonter discounts when I could.
Recently at the college where I work, the staff was given a terrific benefit of buying a seriously reduced season pass to Bolton Valley Resort. I love Bolton's backcountry and enjoy their lift-served glades to so I jumped at the offer. But the beauty of it is that pass is discounted so I feel inspired to keep skiing around at the other resorts, too.
For example, I cashed in on a Burlington-based promotion where I ate out at the Vermont Pub and Brewery in October and sent in a receipt to earn a free Stowe Points Card. Anyone that knows Stowe will tell you it's a great mountain, but very pricey, so this card will get me a discount on a snowy day. I can picture myself on Nosedive, midweek after a big mid-winter storm, eating up fresh powder before the weekend crowd will even think about eating lunch in their cubicles.
So I suggest taking a look at the Web sites of the resorts you like to ski at. Bone up on their early-bird season pass deals, discount cards or frequent skier programs and do a little bit of math (come on, it won't hurt too much) to figure out if any of these fit your skiing lifestyle. Make an investment in one or more of these offers if it will bring you a decent ROI—or at least if you feel certain that you'll break even.
And if you are a Vermonter, don't forget that resorts such as Jay Peak offer a special break to the Green Mountain skiers and riders. As for you college students, forget about it: Just sit tight and the resorts will come to your campus with their killer deals. Ah to be a student again!