Colorado Ski Country USA’s Gems Card has long provided skiers and snowboarders with savings at smaller, lower-key ski areas all over the Colorado Rockies. Invest just $25 for two ways to save: either two 2-for-1 lift tickets or two 30% off lift tickets at each of the eight Colorado Gems resorts. Gems ski areas are Arapahoe Basin, Cooper, Eldora, Loveland, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn, Ski Granby Ranch and Sunlight. Click here to purchase; cards will ship this month. The fine print: One 2-for-1 or discounted ticket per cardholder per day. All tickets issued are valid for same-day use only. Card is non-transferable. Photo ID and Gems Card required at ticket window. Card holder must be present. No cash value. Discount not valid with any other discount tickets, pass products, offers or promotions. Lost or stolen Gems Cards will not be reissued. Blackout dates are December 18, 2016 through January 3, 2017.
Mountain Resorts & Towns
It just takes a visit or two to Estes Park within a year for the Rocky Card to pay for itself. The $10 card is good for various discounts at restaurants, shops and attractions — and 100% of the purchase price goes to local nonprofit groups. Many offers are 10% off, but our favorites include a dessert order of five FREE sopapillas with the purchase of two entrées, FREE traveler’s corkscrew or BOGO tasting at the Snow Peak Winery, and a BOGO entrée at The Other Side Restaurant. Claire and her husband ate there this past Saturday; click here for her blog post. This is an especially exciting year to visit Estes Park, because it is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park — celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015. Buy online (add $2 for shipping and handling) or at numerous retail locations.
As you contemplate which season pass to purchase for 2015-16, if you have grade school children, there’s a very good reason to go with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass. The resort company has announced Epic SchoolKids, an awesome new program with FREE skiing and riding to all Colorado kindergartners through fifth graders next winter. Parents can already enroll their kids by visiting participating Colorado Ski & Golf locations or Boulder Ski Deals. The program provides four days of FREE skiing and riding at each of Vail’s four resorts in their backyards – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. In addition, Epic SchoolKids also can get started at the ivy league of ski schools with a FREE full-day beginner lesson and equipment rentals at any of those resorts during the month of January, outside of holiday periods, as part of Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month. Parents, click here for details various adult season pass options to maximize family ski time; put $49 down and pay the remainder in fall.
Copper Mountain’s season passes offer all the more value now with three FREE days at Taos Ski Valley, N.M., and FREE skiing at Grand Targhee, Wyo., with a purchase of accommodations through Grand Targhee Lodging. Whether or not you’ve skied Taos before, this is the year to do so. New ownership has brought the wherewithal to make dramatic improvements, most notably the installation of the new Kachina Peak chairlift, unloading at 12,450 feet and increasing the skiable terrain by 50%. From Denver, Taos is roughly 280 miles — just 50 or so miles farther than Crested Butte. Grand Targhee, located at the Wyoming-Idaho border, is a longer drive (or a flight either to Jackson or Idaho Falls), but it is worth for powderhounds who avoid crowds. Also, Copper Passholders get FREE skiing and riding at five other Powdr-operated resorts: Boreal, Calif.; Killington, Vt.; Mt Bachelor Resort, Ore.; Park City Mountain Resort, Utah, and Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Nev. Adult prices are Copper Pass, $389, and the new Secret! Copper Pass, $489. Prices for new season passes and renewals are the same, so guests are not penalized for not having a Copper pass in the past.
Even tony Aspen can be an affordable getaway. Camp or use your favorite site to book economical accommodations. Bar food, picnicking and happy hour bring down the cost of restaurant meals. The city’s newest restaurant is the A$pen Dollar Bar (no website yet), which offers $6 nightly dinner specials and other entrées only $9-$12. Food served till midnight. 301 E Hopkins, 970-429-4218. ♦ Save gas and spare yourself the parking hassles by using RFTA buses, which are FREE throughout Aspen, to Snowmass and Maroon Lake, one of the nation’s most beautiful, most photographed scenes and a key gateway to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Book at least two nights of lodging and get a FREE 3-day WE-cycle bike share pass for any number of 30-minute uses. Click here or call 888-649-5982 and ask about the Free Bike Rental Package. ♦ Admission to the Aspen Art Museum is FREE and will still be free after the new museum opens next month. Closed Mondays. E. Hyman and S. Spring, 970-925-8050. [Read more…] about Aspen IS Affordable in Summer
The Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus has added convenience for Front Range skiers and riders with the addition of Eldora Mountain Resort to the mix. The 2014-15 pass is now good at Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Eldora with no blackout dates, plus six unrestricted days at Steamboat and three unrestricted days at Crested Butte. That’s nearly 11,000 skiable acres spread over four mountain ranges for $509 for adults, $389 for college students and teens, $279 for children ages 6 to 12 and $30 for children 5 and under. Active and retired military and their dependents are eligible for a $339 Patriot Pass. Additional savings include friends and family passes for $59 per day and discounts on lodging, food, rentals, retail and lessons that vary by the resort. No cut-off date for these prices has yet been announced, but we suggest you buy it ASAP, either online or by calling 800-977-7669.