Multi-passes, discount cards and other ways to save on skiing
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Admit it - you’re dreaming of skiing already, aren’t you? Powder days, epic runs, fluffy glades, gnarly jumps… But in reality, many of us (perhaps you included) also need to be conscious of the price tag on those daydreams.
So how can you save on lift tickets this season? As they do each year, the Alberta and B.C. ski resorts are offering up various loyalty cards, season pass perks and direct-to-lift apps to tempt you to ski and board at their resorts. Figuring out which one is right for you can be a chore but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. It’s a bit messy but in the end, it all boils down to a few things: how many days you plan to ski or snowboard, how loyal you are to one resort and how much you want to spend.
The Mega Cards
The big three mega cards - Epic, Icon and Mountain Collective - are gaining momentum, adding more and more Canadian resorts by the year. The cards aren’t cheap but if you plan on skiing multiple resorts this winter, you can cash in with these cards. Check the add-ons too: many have discounts on dining and accommodations.
Deal: unlimited access to Whistler Blackcomb and seven total days at RCR resorts. After the 7 days, you still receive 50% off additional lift tickets.
Deal: two days of skiing at Canadian resorts including Lake Louise, Sunshine, Sun Peaks, Revelstoke and Panorama. After you’ve enjoyed those days, the rest of the season is 50% off your lift ticket.
Deal: lets you pick your poison but it does seem to be focused on better deals for US resorts. Go seven, five or four days (total) at SkiBig3, Revelstoke, Red Mountain, and Cypress Mountain.
Resort Discount Cards
There are a lot of variations on the resort discount card. Some offer 50 per cent off all season, while others offer free days when you hit certain milestones (e.g. first, fourth, seventh days). If you’re planning to ski multiple days in a season but maybe not quite hit the threshold to make the season pass worthwhile, these are a great way to save a few bucks. Many offer direct-to-lift options too!
Sticking to the local hill? Here are some single resort savings options
SilverStar Mountain 4Pack (replacing the POW Card)
Deal: A discounted rate for purchasing a four pack of lift tickets valid for any four days at the resort, plus additional discounts after the four days are used
Extra perks: unlimited access to the tube park, skating, fat biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the same day
Castle Mountain WOW card
Deal: 50% off all season from day 2 on - fantastic for anyone in Southern Alberta or SE British Columbia.
Extra Perks: 10% off the Powder Stagecoach, 15% off lessons
Marmot Basin Escape Card
Deal: $50% off all season adult lift tickets, 20% off junior passes (for card owner’s children)
Extra perks: 20% off high performance rentals and ski/board lessons, plus additional discounts
Looking to save on skiing at multiple resorts?
Lake Louise Plus Card
Deal: first, fourth and, seventh days free; 20% off after seventh day and 30% off spring lift tickets for you and two friends
Extra Perks: free day at Canyon Ski Resort (Red Deer) or Snow Valley Ski Club (Edmonton
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
Deal: first, fourth and seventh day free with discount days on every other day of the season at Kicking Horse, Fernie, Kimberley and Nakisa.
Extra Perks: Check their website for Double Discount Days.
Banff Sunshine Mobile Super Card
Deal: first, fourth and seventh days free at your choice of Sunshine, Marmot Basin or Revelstoke
Extra perks: $25 off midweek, $15 off weekends, bonus free day at Winsport, Rabbit Hill or Snow Valley
Skiing with family and friends
Norquay Power of 4 Pass
Deal: ski midweek all season with three of your favourite friends. Buy the package as a group of four with each person chipping in only $289.
Norquay senior pass: for any of you still cutting it up at the age of 80 your season pass is a delightful $25! Something to look forward to in your golden years, right?
Saving on kids lift passes
Is your little darling in grade 4 or grade 5 this year? Rush over to the SnowPass website, slap down $29.99 and follow your athlete down the slopes of a multitude of resorts across Canada – twice. Yes, you pay full price but you don’t pay for your kid. But wait! There is more! If you have a child in grade two, for a meager $20 they ski/board unlimited at RCR resorts. That same offer is available at Lake Louise.
Book ahead and save on pay-as-you-go lift tickets
If you’re not ready to commit yet or unsure of how many days you’ll get in, you can still save on lift tickets. Many of the resorts are offering a discount if you plan ahead. Check the sites for booking options.
Whistler Blackcomb for instance offers you the option to load up to 10 days at a time on a Day Pass, reducing the price by 20%. The tickets are good for the entire season. Big White near Kelowna gives you a 25% discount when you purchase online while Sun Peaks will offer up to 40% off depending on the day of the week.
Booking ahead online does have one itty-bitty problem. What if the day you thought you were going, it either turns out frightfully cold or your plans go sideways? Look for the itty-bitty fine print and see what your options are. Circumstances due to COVID-19 will most likely see a refund, your fear of frozen toes won’t.
How you pay and collect your day ticket
Covid has changed a lot of things including how you purchase and collect your day tickets. Check the resort you are going to before departure to follow their guidelines. Many are offering tickets to be purchased only online with ticket printing at the resort.
Find the pass that’s right for you:
Ready for ski season? Here's a few more things you may want to consider.
- Get Western Canada Ski Resort Opening Dates 2021-22
- Ever considered working at the ski hill? Read our primer on what it's like and what may be right for you.
- Where will you find the snow this year? Our forecast will help you plot your (cough) sick days.