Skiing can be an expensive hobby, and when you are learning to ski it helps to to be able to find cheap lift tickets.  Very few people immediately take off like an Olympic champ, and it can take a while for the sticker shock to wear off as you trudge your way through the slopes, picking up your skis and poles as you go.  The good news is that there are ways to minimize your costs and feel like you are getting more bang for your buck.  After all, if you could easily slice your way down a double diamond black all day, the full priced ticket for the ski lift seems like a good bargain.  But if you are going to delicately make your way down the easiest green slope you can find, discounted ski tickets will help the day be more fun.

Where To Find Cheap Lift Tickets

One thing to keep in mind when looking for cheap lift tickets is that each ski resort will be different.  Some resorts make it easier to find discounts than others.  Nevertheless, you can find deals at just about any location.  Here are some common places for anyone, especially those learning to ski, to find lift tickets at a low price.

  • Online Lift Ticket Sales - This is probably the most obvious place to look.  You can google your way to cheap lift tickets and come up with a whole host of sites dedicated to helping skiers get to the top of the mountain without selling their firstborn.
  • Groupon (and similar sites) - If you are not familiar with Groupon and sites that work in a similar fashion, the idea is pretty simple.  A company offers a daily deal on a product, and if enough people sign on for the bargain, then the deal goes into effect.  Groupon is organized by location so that you can browse the deals that are closest to you.  Many ski resorts use sites such as Groupon to sell lift tickets.  So if you know when you will be skiing a few months in advance, start checking out the discounts in the resort's location to see if cheap lift tickets are being advertised.
  • Season Passes - Most resorts offer season passes that are great if you plan on going to the same mountain slopes over and over again.  If you are just visiting for a few days, a ski lift season pass is not for you.  But if you live in the area or are just going to be going back to the same place, a season pass many times can pay for itself in 5-8 visits depending on the resort. 
  • Pay Less To Ski After Noon - Many ski resorts have discounted lift tickets if you are just going to ski or snowboard after 12:00 noon.  This can be a great way to not pay full price, but still get in 3-4 good hours on the slopes.  For someone learning to ski this can be good, but it can also be a bad idea.  It's great due to the fact that you aren't paying full price to fall all over the mountain.  Also, new skiers get worn out quickly, and 4 hours very likely will suffice.  However, the flip side is that with all the frustration that comes with learning to ski, you might feel like you're just finally getting the hang of it after 4 hours, but by then it will be time to go.
  • Employees of the Ski Resort - There are some resorts that give their employees several passes each year.  Many times these employees will simply give these discounted or free lift tickets away to family or friends.  If you have a connection, then this could be your best bet for cheap lift tickets.  The frustration associated with learning to ski is very much minimized when you are skiing for free.
  • eBay - eBay is great for many things, including finding cheap lift tickets.  It might take some sorting to find discounted lift tickets for the resort you will be visiting, but it is certainly worth a shot.
  • Passbooks - Passbooks are basically books filled with coupons.  Some passbooks are for restaurants, others are for businesses around town, others are for golf courses, and there are passbooks dedicated to cheap lift tickets.  You have to search around for these, and the books themselves might not be cheap, but if you plan to ski a lot you can come out ahead in the wallet with a passbook.
  • Credit Card Points - Many credit cards have programs in which you accumulate points when you purchase a product with the card.  On some cards these points can be redeemed for stays at ski resorts.  Sometimes the rewards are just for hotel stays, but some include lift tickets as well.  The Hilton Honors Card is one that I have had success with in the past, but others offer similar benefits.

Learning To Ski Is More Enjoyable With Cheap Lift Tickets

No one likes to waste money, especially when the wasting is filled with frustration and physical aches and pains.  And that is what is involved when learning to ski--frustration and physical aches and pains.  As you are slipping and sliding on the slope, trying to get your skis back on, you can become even more despondent and angry when you begin to consider the cost of your equipment and lift tickets.

But do not despair.  Skiing is a blast and well worth the investment--both in time and financial resources.  Make sure to learn a few ski tips and enjoy your time in nature.  Eventually you will get the hang of it, and you will be looking forward to your next trip.

But that does not mean that the sickening feeling in your stomach ever goes away as you approach the ticket counter and view the cost of lift tickets.  It still happens to me today even though I feel like I get my money's worth.  I remember when I started skiing, though.  Forking over the aforementioned credit card was painful when I knew my day would be filled with face-fulls of snow. 

So if you are just learning to ski, be sure to find some cheap lift tickets so your new experience will be much more enjoyable.