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As the cost of skiing elevates almost as high as the peaks at the top of the resorts, picking the correct lift pass can have a huge impact on the cost and experience of skiers. There are some key differences between passes, especially as a beginner, that can save you major bucks and frustration.

If you are a beginner the first step in picking the correct lift pass may be deciding whether to buy one at all. No, this is not to suggest you to try to sneak on and ski for free--that will land you in hot water. Instead of buying a full day lift pass, consider signing up for a group lesson instead.

First, the lesson will cost about one quarter of a full price lift ticket. Next, you get great instruction and probably have a much more enjoyable time than tearing around on your own. Finally, a little-known fact is that most of the group lesson tickets include a beginner pass in their price. If this is the case, it really is like getting on the mountain for free after the lesson.

Ski lift passes

The second option in picking the correct lift pass as a newbie is to explore the beginner lift passes offered by the resort. Generally, every ski mountain will offer a reduced (less than half price) ticket for beginning skiers. This pass will only allow you to access the beginner areas. The resort will mandate the allowable runs and lifts you may take using this lift ticket but they will generally include at least 10 different runs and 2 or 3 lifts and a rope tow. In other words, this will be all any newcomer will need in their first 5 or 10 times out on the slopes. It is also a lot less pressure to go to higher level runs to get your money’s worth. It is simple: you can’t.

For advanced skiers at the other end of the spectrum, picking the correct lift pass for a resort may include looking at a season pass. Many resorts have evolved into developing affiliate programs, where season skiers can prepay for a season pass a year in advance and qualify for a rate that is half the cost of a normal season pass. If your resort does not offer this, they generally will offer some sort of season pass that is far cheaper because it does not include access to the slopes during the overcrowded major holidays.


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