Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Best Lift Ticket Deals for Colorado Ski Areas
Cheap Lift Tickets...

...the Holy Grail of skiers everywhere. Is it even possible to find a good deal on lift tickets?

It is if you are a little kid in Colorado. Here are our tips for taking the kids skiing at a reasonable price.

Did You Know?

Denver International Airport
has special baggage carousels to accommodate skis.

Kids Who Ski Keystone 
find long, sweeping runs, special kid zones, a terrain park with several runs of graduated difficulty, and at the top of the River Run Gondola - a tubing hill and an ice castle.

 Photo: Part of the A-51 Terrain Park at Keystone

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Winter Lodging Options for your Colorado  Ski Trip with the Kids

From rustic cabins to five star resorts, Colorado offers families a variety of choices for tucking the children in.

See our article about the
Best Hotels for a Colorado Christmas Vacation with the Kids.

Hotel Telluride
Photo: Hotel Telluride

Did You Know?

The average  snowfall for the 26 major Colorado ski resorts is 295 inches per year.

Some areas (Loveland, Wolf Creek) recorded an average of 400
inches or more per year. 

Photo: Kids ski in a
major snowstorm at Winter Park

Photo: Colorado lift tickets and ski passes in the snow. The options can be confusing!

Do ya think they are purposely trying to confuse us?

“Buy 7 days in advance, get a free night’s lodging! Children ski free, with adults paying full price! Super Pass! Epic Pass! Colorado Pass! Restrictions Gems Card! Coupon books! Black out dates. King Soopers! Ski rental shop! Hotel lobby! Scalped tickets in the parking lot! Non-transferable.

With all the different offers from so many different sources, I’m not sure if even the rocket scientists at CU figure it out and get a good deal when they leave Boulder to hit the slopes.

In spite of the catchy headline on this article, we honestly can’t say there is any one best ski deal. Because we all have different needs and approaches to skiing, different discounts appeal to different families.

So the best we can do is describe some general guidelines, all of which are meant to help save you something over the walk-up price at the ticket window.

Tip #1: Be a little kid.

Most Colorado ski areas (Arapaho Basin, Sunlight, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, etc.) invite you to ski FREE if you are 5 years old or younger.

A few areas (Beaver Creek, Vail, Breckenridge) only offer the deal as long as you are 4 or younger.

Meanwhile, at the Aspen ski areas (Buttermilk is our kids’ very favorite) youngsters can ski free until they are 7-years-old.

Tip #2: Be a 5th Grader.

Kids who go to 5th grade in Colorado can ski FREE at 21 different ski areas in the state when kids sign up for the 5th Grade Ski Program Colorado Ski Country USA, they get a card that allows them to ski 3 days at each ski area for free.

Tip # 3: Be a 6th Grader.

Similar to the 5th Grade Passport Program, the 6th Grade Ski Pass , offered by Colorado Ski Country USA offers a great deal to Colorado school kids. While their little brothers and sisters in 5th grade are skiing free, the sixth graders have to pay for their pass. But for $99, they get to ski 4 times at each of 21 Colorado ski areas.

Considering all the fresh air and exercise they get on the slopes, it is one of the best kids’ entertainment values around.

Tip # 4: Buy Your Season Pass in April.

If your family plans to ski several times in the upcoming year, season passes are the cheapest way to go. And there is no time of year when you can buy season passes as cheaply as you can in April for the following ski season.

In Colorado, you can buy season passes for an individual ski area, which makes the most sense if you own a condominium or mountain house and will be skiing that area only.

If you want to ski a variety of areas, the combination passes offer access to various areas that are all owned by one huge corporation or another. The combinations change through the years as different ski areas are bought and sold by the corporations.

Our rule of thumb is to plan on 10 days of skiing at a minimum to get our money’s worth from a combination season ski pass. It’s also a nice round number when you are deciding how much each day of skiing will cost.

For example, at this writing (in late March) season passes to Winter Park, Copper Mountain, and Steamboat cost $399. If we ski 10 times, that’s about $40 per day. I hate to spend more than $40 or $45 for an adult lift ticket. So that’s about in the right range.

Of course, if we ski more than 10 days in a season, the price goes down per visit, and the deal gets better.

Tip #5: Begin Lift Ticket Shopping in Early Fall.

You may be still walking around in flip flops and enjoying the late summer sun, but the minute you are back from your Labor Day camping trip, hit the computer and see what the individual ski areas have to offer.

Look for “4-packs”, which are passes that let you ski four times at one area. The downside is that these four packs are often limited as to the dates you can ski. In other words, when the kids are out of school (think President’s Day, spring break), the 4-packs have black out dates. Also, these passes are generally not transferable between people. So each member of the family must get their own 4-pack pass.

The one 4-pack we found to be a truly good deal was at Loveland Ski Area. For $119, they just mailed us 4 tickets. We could use them all at the same time, and there were no black out dates. And we learned to love Loveland’s wild beauty, great terrain, friendly atmosphere, and close proximity to Denver. Just be sure to watch their website. The deal lasted for only a couple of weeks in the fall.

Tip # 6: Coupon Books.

Many schools and charities sell Entertainment Coupon Books® to raise money. In them you'll find coupons for dollars off at Colorado ski areas like Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Sunlight, Monarch Mountain Resort and others.

Look for ski school and rental coupons, too, as well as discounts on travel items like rental cars and restaurants.

If your school or scout troop isn't raising money with them, you can buy these on line at the Entertainment Book website.

Tip # 7: Look Around, Ask Around.

OK. So you’ve waited until the last minute and you are hoping you won’t have that painful experience of paying full price at the ticket window.

There are still a few options that won’t save you a lot of money, but might be worth a buck or two. Start by asking around. The ski rental shops both in Denver and in the mountains sometimes offer discount tickets. Try the kiosk in REI 
in Denver for a little bit of a discount. Additionally, you might stop in at King Soopers grocery stores on the front range for discount lift tickets.

Also, if you have a week or more to spare before you go skiing, you can also buy your tickets on line from some of the ski areas themselves for a slight price break.

Related Pages at

Family Ski Resorts of Colorado - What's the Best Place for Your Vacation?

Colorado Ski Areas - Quick Reviews

Loveland Ski Area with the Family

Ski Vail with the Family 

Colorado Lodging for Your Ski Trip:

Family Lodging in Colorado

Luxury Accommodations 

Five Star Hotels

A Cabin in the Woods

Christmas in Colorado: 

Colorado Christmas Activities

Best Hotels for a Colorado Christmas Vacation with the Kids

What to Bring?

Ski Gear List

Check out our site map for a well-organized list of over 140 articles on great Colorado vacations for families.