A recent announcement by Welch Village continues a tradition of Twin Cities ski areas using tie-ins with their brethren out west to distinguish themselves from the local competition.
This week, Welch has announced two packages for visits to Big Sky Resort, in Montana. One package, for $135, offers three days of lift tickets, while another, for $199, offers five days. (The retail price for an adult lift ticket is $99 per day.) Each package is contingent on you staying at Big Sky Lodging (though at a 10 percent and 20 percent discount, respectively), so depending on your preferences in lodging, this may or may not be a good deal for you.
Other ski areas have tie-ins as well. Buck Hill has a 3-day package for lift tickets at Steamboat ($199), or a season pass at Winter Park for the same price.
Wild Mountain does not have any deals with resorts in the western U.S., but it does give pass holders a discount on a trip to Switzerland. Three Rivers Park District offers the chance to get some discounted tickets at Midwestern ski areas. Trollhaugen does not offer any deals for tickets elsewhere.
The big kahuna in tie-ins, of course, is now Afton Alps. Since Afton was purchased by Vail Resorts earlier this year, it now offers two passes that offer skiing and riding privileges outside of Minnesota. The most expensive, at $729, gives you a season pass for nine resorts out west, including Vail, Beaver Creek, and Heavenly, not to mention five days each at three resorts in Europe. If you're not going to Europe and can live with restrictions on your ability to go to Vail and Beaver Creek, you can save $529 by dropping down to the next level.
Whether it's a two-for-one deal with another local resort or unlimited riding at a resort out west, the tie-ins can be a valuable addition to a season pass at a Twin Cities ski area.