DENVER — More ski resorts are opening up this weekend, just in time for the snow that’s expected Friday night into Saturday.
On Friday, Copper Mountain and Monarch will welcome their first skiers of the season. And on Saturday, Purgatory, Beaver Creek and Aspen Snowmass will start operating their lifts.
The money from the ski and snowboard industry is a big boost to Colorado economy, with 7.1 million people participating in the winter sports last season alone, according to Colorado Ski Country USA.
Colorado is No. 1 in the country for overnight ski trips, which makes up 21 percent of the market, according to the National Ski Areas Association. In addition, more money is being spent away from the slopes by people coming to Colorado to ski, with an average of $1,248 being spent per trip.
While activity increases on the slopes this weekend, in Denver, the 27th annual Ski and Snowboard Expo has returned to the Colorado Convention Center. This weekend event offers information and discounts on everything from gear to season passes.
For experienced skiers who are hoping to head to the mountains several times this winter, a season pass is your best bet, said Joan Christensen with the Ski and Snowboard Expo.
“If you know you’re going to get in five or six days, there are much better deals to get a season pass,” she said.
The deadline to purchase the Epic season pass is Sunday and the deadline for the Icon season pass is Dec. 13.
However, it’s a good idea to buy season passes before Thanksgiving because that’s when prices tend to go up, she said.
For those who want to ski or snowboard several times this season but don’t want to invest in a season pass, the Gems Card could be a good option to explore. The card costs $20 at the Ski and Snowboard Expo and offers skiers access to 11 resorts with either a pair of two-for-one lift tickets or two lift tickets for 30 percent off.
Here are a few other deals for people who are ready to hit the slopes:
- Arapahoe Basin: The Kids Free 2 Ski program provides kids age 6-12 with two free lift tickets valid any day of the 2018-19 season but parents must register by Dec. 17. The pass includes one half-price full-day ski or snowboard lesson for first-timers.
- Aspen/Snowmass: Daily lift tickets at any of the Aspen/Snowmass resort are $60 per day from Nov. 22 through Dec. 21 with the purchase of at least a two-day lift ticket and lodging with Stay Aspen Snowmass.
- Cooper/Chicago Ridge: The 2-Fer Tuesdays deal runs from Jan. 8 through Feb. 26, 2019 and allows two people to ski or ride for the price of one adult lift ticket at $56. On Thursdays from Jan. 3 to March 28, single-day lift tickets are just $30.
- Loveland: The Loveland 4-Pak is simple — four actual, unrestricted lift tickets that can be used on four different days during the season or shared with friends and family on one single day. No restrictions and no blackout dates. The price for a 4-Pak is just $169 at the Expo, which is $10 off the online price.
- Monarch: A 4-pack of tickets for $179. Tickets are fully transferrable with no blackout dates.
- Sunlight Mountain Resort: Slope and Soak four packs cost $55 per person until Dec. 15, and include four full-day lift tickets plus four day passes to either Glenwood Hot Springs or Iron Mountain Hot Springs. There's also a deal for firefighters at Sunlight Mountain Resort. On Firefighter Fun Days, which fall on Wednesdays throughout the season, all active firefighters and first responders enjoy free skiing and snowboarding.
There are also some deals for beginners:
- Arapahoe Basin: The Molly to Mountain Adult Beginner Plan offers a deal for first-timers. For $125, they get their first one-day beginner lesson, lift and rental package. For an additional $125, participants get unlimited beginner lessons, lift tickets, and rental packages in the Molly Hogan terrain. For an additional $100, participants can buy a full adult A-Basin season pass that’s good for anywhere on the mountain. The caveat? Participants have to complete at least two beginner lessons and after they purchase the full season pass, the lessons and rental gear are no longer included.
- Copper Mountain: Copper’s Ski and Ride University includes three lessons with lift tickets and rental equipment, a free Copper Mountain season pass upon graduation, and 50 percent off next season’s 2019-20 Copper Mountain season pass. The package is available in-person at the resort for only $269.
- Loveland: The Adult First-Timer 3-Class Pass offers a three-lesson package and a season pass for $412. The program starts with a full-day First-Timer Lesson Package followed by two half-day Master the Mountain lessons. All lesson packages include the lesson, lift ticket and equipment rental. Participants are immediately issued a Loveland Valley season pass, good at Loveland Valley only, to practice between lessons. The season pass is upgraded to a full-mountain pass once the third lesson has been completed.
- Monarch: The Three Package deal consists of three vouchers for $315 for three days. Each voucher includes a lift ticket, two-hour lesson, and equipment rental. The offer is transferrable and has no blackout dates.
- Powderhorn: The Mission: Affordable Learn to Ski Free program is a three-session series open to first-timers and beginner skiers and snowboarders who are 5 years old or older. All three sessions include free lessons, a free EZ Rider lift ticket, and rental equipment valid during the session only.