There are two times of the year that you may think about a season pass for skiing. In the spring when the season is coming to an end and at the start of the season in the fall. The better time to buy is in the spring. Many ski areas and resorts will cut the prices on their season passes which will make buying the season pass more economical. But do you really need to buy a season pass? Here are some tips to help you decide if you should buy a season pass and where you should buy it.
Do you tend to ski at the same place throughout the winter or do you visit different ski areas? If you ski at the same place, a season pass could be a money saver for you. However, if you like to ski around, you may not save as much. There are a few exceptions here in the Johnstown area. Several resorts are part of the resort exchange program. This allows a season pass holder from a participating resort the opportunity to try other participating ski areas for free or a reduced price. Another option is the Laurel Highlands Pass through Seven Springs and Hidden Valley. This pass allows holders to ski at either resort for the season.
How often do you ski? If you ski just a couple times a year, a season pass probably isn’t for you. You will pay less buying a daily lift ticket then you would buying the season pass. The best way to determine the break-even point is first to decide how many times you would need to go skiing at the resort to get your money’s worth. Take the cost of a lift ticket and divide it into the total cost for a season pass. If you have a decimal, round up to the next whole number. This tells you the number of trips to the resort it will take to earn your money back. For example:
- Season pass at resort A: $430
- Daily lift ticket for resort A: $33
- $430 divided by $33 equals 13.03
- This means that you would need to make 14 trips skiing to get $30 worth of skiing.
If you feel that you will ski more than the number of trips required, then a season pass will be a good buy. Some factors could change this calculation. If you ski more on the weekdays, the cost is generally lower. There are also special season passes for weekday skiing only. It is important to decide when you ski.
Are there any special plans that you qualify for? Many resorts have a special price for adults and reduced prices for juniors and seniors. Some also give student discounts and military discounts. If you qualify for any of these, use that number to determine your break-even point. Whitetail has a different structure that may benefit you if you ski with the family. They have family passes. This involves the main pass holder to pay one price and each additional family member can get a pass at a reduced rate.
Find out what other perks there are. Some resorts will offer discounts of gear and lessons. Some offer gift cards or special rates for overnight stays and services. Some resorts will offer special parking or ski checking for season pass holders. Ask questions or visit the resort website to find out more about specific discounts and services are offered. Many of these perks may need to be considered not for cost, but for convenience. So ask yourself if the convenience is worth the price.
So sit down and decide. These are some guidelines for you, but only you can decide if the pass is worth it for you. See you at the slopes.