A considerable barrier to skiing for many people is the cost. Add some kids, and watch the price double, triple or quadruple. The list gets long, from lift tickets to lodging, snow pants to skis, but diehard skiers have learned many ways to save. If you’re a music buff, think of these tips as The Essentials. But if you live in a ski town or work for a resort and you already have a season pass, then then you are well on your way to finding more creative ways to save money during the ski season.
So, beyond The Essentials, savvy ski bums and powderhounds have sniffed out and discovered New Releases or even more obscure Deep Cuts. Some are fresh, some are classics, some have broad-appeal, some are resort-specific, but adding up their savings could mean a bonus spring ski trip, a private lesson or a day at the spa. (Queue up One Day More from Les Miserables, music by Claude-Michel Schoenberg)
The Ultimate Utah (Play)list
Subscribe to skiutah.com for deals and discounts on gear, rentals, lift tickets, lodging and everything else ski-related.
- Subscribe to each resort’s mailing list for priority notifications of gear, rentals, lift tickets and lodging deals all year long.
- Follow each resort on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) for flash sales and occasional giveaways on gear, rentals, lift tickets and lodging deals all year long.
Getting Here and Getting Around
(Playlist: Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz, On the Road Again by Willie Nelson)
- Use internet sites, such as Google Flights, to check prices over the entire season and set alerts for price drops.
- Know which airlines allow you to check skis, etc. as part of your free checked bag allowance.
- Fly midweek and on Saturdays for the best fares.
- The Park City Transit offers a free bus service that stops at numerous Park City and Deer Valley locations, including the resorts.
- The UTA Ski Bus is free to some season passholders and serves Salt Lake City, the Cottonwood Canyons resorts, Ogden and Ogden Valley resorts.
- Some resorts, including Solitude Mountain Resort, offer parking discounts for carpooling, and parking is free for lodging guests.
- Highly recommended to have an all-wheel drive car with snow tires (not just expensive extended cab SUVs) when traveling up the canyons to ski.
- Salt Lake City and Park City resorts are served by most lift-sharing companies and even include Uber Ski, which is specially equipped with ski and snowboard racks.
- If your resort parking lot fills up quickly (or traffic is an issue), consider going after 11am when all the powderhounds have cleared out.
(Playlist: Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang. “Everybody go, hotel, motel, Holiday Inn...”)
- Sharing a large condo with several couples or families is a much more cost-effective lodging option than single rentals or hotel rooms.
- Avoid peak price periods for lodging and lift tickets including Christmas week through New Year’s, Martin Luther King weekend, Sundance Film Festival (usually ten days at the end of January) and President’s Day Weekend. Check resort and lodging websites for more details and their lists of blackout dates.
- Many short-term rental websites such as Airbnb and VRBO offer lodging near most Utah resorts.
- Lodging prices are generally lower a bit further down the road from the resorts. Check for lodging prices in Salt Lake City, Ogden and beyond.
Hotel loyalty programs are a great way to exchange points for lodging, and most major chains have properties in cities throughout Utah.
- Vacation clubs, such as Marriott Vacation Club, allow the general public to book unused timeshare properties and are another cost-saving lodging option.
- If you want to ski Park City during the Sundance Film Festival but didn’t realize lodging was largely unavailable, then look at staying in Salt Lake City, especially the hotels and rentals at the base of Parley’s Canyon and Sugarhouse (less than 20 minutes from Kimball Junction). Get doubly creative, and compare the loyalty points required for these hotels to those further up the mountain (Queue up FloRida’s song, Low).
(Playlist: Material Girl by Madonna and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, because every playlist needs a Springsteen song)
- Beaver Mountain offers a “quiver killer” with its Powder Pass, a discount rental punch card, providing four demo powder ski rental days for $139. The best parts: the pass is transferable, doesn’t expire, and if you find a pair of skis you love, you can apply the price of the pass toward the purchase of those skis!
- Many local ski rental shops offer gear rental discounts when reserved online in advance (some as short as 48 hours). Note that some of these shops even deliver to your lodging . If you're skiing for more than a few days, look at season rental programs offered by several larger ski shops, a popular option for locals but available to all.
- REI rents skis and other winter gear. Members get a discount and, even better, a rebate in the spring on the amounts spent.
Salt Lake City, Park City and Ogden have numerous consignment stores to purchase excellent ski gear at unbelievable prices.
- A tremendous free gear rental is the Rossignol High-Performance Test Center Yurt next to Deer Valley’s Empire Canyon Lodge, where you can check out the latest in its fleet of skis for two hours. This is a great way to try out a pair of fat skis on a powder day so you know what you can add to your wish list for next year.
- If you don’t want to take your ski gear home, you can lighten your luggage and fatten your wallet by consigning them back. If you’re feeling charitable, donate your items (and take the tax deduction).
(Playlist: Thrift Store by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, of course)
Salt Lake City, Park City and Ogden have numerous consignment stores to purchase amazing ski clothing at unbelievable prices. Level 9 Sports and Lone Pine Gear Exchange are two of our favorites to frequent.
- Check outlet and factory stores, including the Columbia Factory Store in Park City or the Amer Sports Factory Outlet (for Arc’teryx and Solomon) for great ski clothing deals.
- REI provides one of the most generous return policies for members (see website for details). If your clothes, shoes or ski gear break, they will repair, exchange or allow members to return the items years later.
- Costco and other members-only stores in Utah often have incredible deals on winter clothing, including children’s ski pants, but they sell out quickly.
- Beg, borrow and… no, don’t steal ski clothes from your friends and family.
- If an airline loses your luggage (actually, pretty rare at SLC), ask the baggage claim agent for a ski clothing rental voucher.
- You might be able to save the most money (and hassle) on ski gear for a brief ski trip by renting jackets, pants, gloves, goggles and snow boots from local stores like Jans Mountain Outfitters. Online companies like Kit Lender have customers order online, and it delivers your brand-name items directly to your lodging. When you're done, pop it into the prepaid envelope and send it back. This means, not only can you save a bundle, but you can reduce the bulge in your luggage.
- If the idea of buying base layers to use once a year seems like a waste, then consider buying athletic leggings to use as a base layer or, for kids, long john-style pajamas, a favorite cheat for ski clothing.
- Parents, if you have teenagers about your size, absolutely buy them the best gear. When they outgrow it, you’ll just have to take their hand-me-downs.
(Playlist: Ticket to Ride by The Beatles)
- The best lift ticket deal at Sundance Mountain Resort is the new S-Card, a direct-to-lift photo discount card. It’s $99 for the initial purchase of the card and then $89 for each day skied afterward, a 25% savings. Purchase by December 10 and use anytime during the season! If you know you want to ski but aren't sure about a season pass, the S-Card will be your best value at Sundance.
- If you’re not an early bird, consider night skiing to take advantage of fewer crowds and lift ticket deals. As an added bonus, resorts often open areas of the mountain throughout the day, especially on a powder day so you will reap the benefits! Powder Mountain offers its best prices in January on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday nights, Cherry Peak's night skiing is a bargain all the time, Brighton just expanded its lighted terrain in its Snake Creek area, and Nordic Valley has made almost its entire resort open for night skiing.
- Epic Pass (welcomed at Park City Mountain and Snowbasin Resort) has already discounted its multi-mountain pass price 20% this season, but it is further thanking its guests by offering Epic Mountain Rewards, a loyalty program that gives Epic Pass holders a 20% discount off food and beverage, lodging, group ski and ride school lessons, and equipment rentals at Park City Mountain and across Vail Resorts. Additionally, pass holders can redeem one free wax and 50% off one basic tune per season at select U.S. locations.
Ikon pass holders can share a 25% discount with up to 10 friends and family members on lift tickets at select resorts.
REI sells the Ikon Pass. Co-op members that purchase an Ikon Pass get a rebate in the spring on the amounts spent.
- The Ski Utah Passport Program is the best Utah lift ticket deal for 5th and 6th graders, and Utah residency is NOT required.
- Student, senior and military season passes can, at some resorts, be a better deal than purchasing daily lift tickets.
Kids ski free at many resorts! The age cutoff differs at each resort. For example, at Brighton, kids ten and under ski free.
- Senior lift tickets and passes are available at many resorts but, like kids, the qualifying age varies. For example, a day pass for seniors (80+) is free at Alta, and for those seniors who prefer a season pass (direct-to-lift and other perks) it is only $50.
- Many Utah resorts offer Black Friday and Christmas week sales on everything from lift tickets to lodging. Check resort websites and social media outlets for more information.
- Many ski resorts offer advance purchase lift tickets for less on their websites. This is almost always the least expensive place to purchase single daily lift tickets.
- Some resorts offer discounted lift tickets for half-days. Although the price isn’t half-off, it’s still worth considering if you don’t ski for more than four hours. Consider that lift lines are usually shorter in the afternoon, allowing you to get more laps in. Oh, and it’s generally warmer, too.
- Some resorts offer packages of tickets that are less than the daily lift ticket rates. For example, Snowbird has a Flex-4 pack for one person and its Ten-2-Share for more mountain fun for less.
- Costco and other members-only stores in Utah often have discounts on lift tickets. Contact the store directly for selections and details before you get there.
- Many sports, ski, grocery and even convenience stores in Utah (but not Park City) sell discounted daily lift tickets.
- If you’re skiing the Cottonwood Canyon resorts (Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, Solitude), check out the Visit Salt Lake SuperPass for lift ticket and lodging and gear rental deals.
- If you want a multi-mountain pass that costs less than Ikon or Epic, check out Mountain Collective.
- If you want a multi-mountain pass that costs less than Ikon, Epic or Mountain Collective, check out Indy Pass.
Buy or lease a car. Get a season pass! It’s too late for the 2021–22 season, but several car dealerships in Utah routinely offer passes and lift tickets for car purchases and leases.
- If you even think you might ski next winter, consider purchasing a multi-mountain, i.e., Ikon or Epic, or resort season pass in spring or summer when the prices are heavily discounted. Some (verify resorts’ fine print) even allow refunds before the season starts if your plans don’t pan out.
- Check out the Ski Utah interactive map to discover where your multi-mountain pass can take you throughout Utah. Why is this a money saver? You could save a lot by staying part of your ski trip in a mountain town (Epic Pass includes Park City Resort) and, then, ski several days at a resort (Epic Pass partner, Snowbasin) near a more budget-friendly town. Bonus: Many multi-mountain passes offer additional discounts on lodging, rentals and other items.
Ski Lessons and Other Splurges
(Playlist: Bucket List by Mitchell Tenpenny)
- Epic Pass holders can receive a 20% discount on group ski and ride school lessons at Park City through Epic Mountain Rewards.
Ikon Pass holders can receive discounts on lessons at certain resorts.
- Beaver Mountain gets everyone on the mountain with its Learn to Turn lesson ($80) that includes: a 2-hour group lesson, rental equipment, and an all-day lift ticket for the Little Beaver lift. (Lesson only is $45) If you need more than one lesson, try the Learn-To-Turn 1-2-3 Program ($220), which provides three group lessons, rentals, and all-day lift tickets for the Little Beaver lift.
- Lessons typically use a priority line for ski lifts. This means that it’s often the best way to get more runs in on a powder day while also improving your skiing or riding.
- Group lessons are always a better deal per person than private lessons, but be wary of grouping people of different skiing abilities into one group.
- Half-day lessons are less expensive and often enough. You’ll be tired after lunch, no matter how well you ski.
- Consider resorts’ free (or lower-cost) guided programs. Although they aren’t “lessons,” they often introduce guests to new runs and areas, and honestly, guides and hosts are chatty by nature and love to offer tips and tricks.
- Ladies, if you’re interested in ski lessons to get you back in black, consider a weekend or multi-day ski camp. Some are less than traditional private lessons and often come with additional perks —including a bunch of other amazing women to cheer you on— and are taught by some of the country’s best instructors.
- A great snowcat deal for a single ride is at Powder Mountain to the top of Lightning Ridge and Raintree. Priced at $25 per ride, this is a taste of the backcountry that fits most budgets.
- For a snowcat adventure, book a memorable, private Sunset Snowcat Excursion for up to 12 people at Eagle Point for $599. Leaving from the Canyonside Lodge, this heated snowcat takes your family and friends (and your drinks or desserts) up to the Lookout Warming Hut, where you can watch the sunset descend over the Tushar Mountains.
Food, Entertainment and Après Ski
(Playlist: Fancy Like by Walker Hayes)
- Many resorts developed on-mountain dining alternatives, including food trucks, online ordering and outdoor dining. Although these options helped many hungry skiers save money over spendy buffets, they were extremely popular and have been expanded at many Utah resorts.
- Check whether your season or multi-mountain pass offers food discounts. Epic Pass holders receive a 20% discount for on-mountain dining at Park City, and Ikon Pass holders receive up to 15% off at many resorts.
- Dine in-house. Many condos provide kitchens and utensils to prepare even gourmet meals. Doing so will save you a lot of money over the course of your stay.
- Pick up prepared (or semi-prepared) meals at grocery stores, takeaways and popups. Not only will you save money but energy after a long day skiing.
- For Park City guests, look at dining options not on Main Street for great food at a better value. Bonus tip: Make reservations on OpenTable or similar apps that award points and rebates.
Subscribe to Groupon and other savings consolidators for the Utah city/region you are traveling to several months in advance for deals on food, gear and local activities and attractions.
- If you didn’t order groceries online before a global pandemic, you should definitely consider doing so for your ski vacation. Most grocery stores in Utah allow you to order online and schedule pickup or even delivery to your lodging.
- Skichuterie is a thing here in Utah. Build your own meat and cheese board on your cutting board...or snowboard. Local grocers and delis throughout the state have all the foods you’ll need to make a delicious and Instagrammable meal. And check out Charcuteski for inspo.
- Suppose you’re up the Cottonwoods and forgot to bring wine or spirits and, after a great but exhausting day skiing, you don't want to drive or Uber down the canyon. In that case, there is a state liquor store at General Gritts on the lower level of Snowbird Plaza in Little Cottonwood Canyon and The Village Store at Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
- Tea, coffee and hot cocoa breaks can add up throughout the day. Pack some tea bags, instant coffee and hot cocoa packets into your jacket, fanny pack or backpack. Many lodges offer free hot water. Yes, you could pack instant oatmeal or soup, as well. (You're catching on!)