Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
After a bit of a slow start to the season, I’ve been dyiiiiiing over the snow pictures that many of the Colorado resorts I follow on social media have been sharing in recent weeks. Ski season is here, and I cannot wait to take a trip with just my oldest daughter to hit the mountains this winter. In fact, it will be our first trip with just the two of us since my littlest was born in the summer of 2015!
The only downside to ski trips is the cost as even kid lift tickets can be expensive. You can use points for hotels and miles for the airfare, but lift tickets are just friggin’ pricey at most resorts. As an example of just how pricey lift tickets can be, a one day lift ticket at Vail can cost you $159 for just one person to ski. That is just for one person and that doesn’t even factor in rentals, lessons, ski school, or any others costs. Start multiplying for a family for multiple days and with rentals and lessons and OMG.
Hey Vail, let me know if you want me to help consult on creating a loyalty co-branded credit card that helps customers earn free lift tickets!
Anyway, until there are lift tickets available from ski resort credit card sign-up bonuses, there are still many ways to cut down on ski trips costs a bit by looking for passes that cover multiple resorts, buying in advance, and of course targeting resorts where kids ski free whenever possible.
With a little help from Colorado Ski Country USA + some of my own information, here is a list of some Colorado ski resorts where kids can ski for free or at a discount. Some offer outright free tickets to little kids up to ages 5 or 6, some provide free tickets for kids with adult ticket purchase, and some require booking packages through their lodging companies to qualify. I’ve tried to make sure this is all up-to-date, but double check with the resorts you are interested in before pulling the trigger in case something has changed.
5th and 6th Graders Ski for Free at 21 Colorado Resorts
Colorado Ski Country USA offers any fifth grader (ie not just Colorado 5th graders) the chance to ski or ride three days at 21 participating member resorts including: Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Cooper, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Eldora, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Howelsen Hill, Loveland, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn, Purgatory, Snowmass, Steamboat, Sunlight, Telluride, Winter Park and Wolf Creek absolutely free. That’s up to 63 free days on the slopes.
Additionally, 5th graders who have never skied or snowboarded are eligible for the First Class program which provides never-ever skiers and riders one free full-day beginner lesson and equipment rental at the resort of their choice. All Passport holders also receive one complimentary junior rental from Christy Sports and First Class participants get a second day of rentals for free after their lesson day.
The 6th Grade Passport Program offers four days of skiing at the same 21 resorts for only $125. To register for the Passport Program visit: coloradoski.com/passport.
This is an outstanding program and one that is very much on my radar for when my kiddos are in the 5th and 6th grades since it is not limited to just Colorado kiddos.
Season Pass for Kids Under 5
All kids under 5 ski free at Arapahoe Basin. They can get a free season pass or stop by the lift ticket window to pick up a day ticket. For more information visit http://arapahoebasin.com.
Kids 6 and Under Ski Free
Children 6 and under always ski free at Aspen Snowmass.
Kids 7 – 12 and ski free with rental and lodging package.
For children ages 7 to 12 years old, Aspen Snowmass allows kids to ski free when booking two or more nights of lodging through Stay Aspen Snowmass and renting children’s ski or snowboard equipment from Four Mountain Sports. There is no limit on the number of days children can receive free lift tickets when renting from Four Mountain Sports. Additionally, kids receive 30 percent off group lessons with Aspen Snowmass’ world-famous Ski & Snowboard School when purchasing seven or more days. Valid January 1 to April 16, 2017. Mention kids ski free when you call 800-290-1326.
One. Two. Free!
By booking two nights of lodging, guests can receive a third night free. Kids ski free with the purchase of an adult 2-day lift ticket. The deal includes a third day of rentals and group lessons free plus a secret pass to skip the lines. This deal can be booked now for just $30 down, but space is limited. Visit CopperColorado.com for more details.
Kids 5 and under can also get a free season pass.
Kids Ski Free Early and Late Season
Any child 12 and under visiting Crested Butte Mountain Resort until December 16, 2016 and again from April 1-9, 2017 can ski free, no adult lift ticket purchase required. For more information, visit www.skicb.com
Grand County Students Ski Free
Grand County students and all kids 5 and under ski free at Granby Ranch. On January 6, Granby Ranch is offering kids 3 to 14 a discounted rental and lesson package, $94 for a half day and $127 for a full day. Visit http://www.granbyranch.com for more information.
Kids 12 and under ski and ride free when their family stays 2 nights or more in lodging booked through the resort. We loved our Keystone experience when we were hosted there a few years ago – they really do kid skiing very, very well.
All kids 5 and under ski free at Loveland.
Children 6- 14 get season pass with purchaes of 3 class pass.
Loveland’s 3-Class Pass for Kids is for all children, ages 6 to 14, of all ability levels for $345 and when you pre-purchase or complete three full-day lesson packages, they receive a free unrestricted season pass to keep practicing their skiing or snowboarding skills for the rest of the season.
Children’s full day lesson packages include a lesson, lift access, equipment rentals (ski or snowboard) and lunch. Guests may also pre-purchase the three lesson packages and enjoy the season pass all winter long. More information can be found by visiting http://skiloveland.com/child-3-class-pass.
Kids Under 6 Ski Free
All children 6 and under ski free during the season at Monarch Mountain. For more information visit http://www.skimonarch.com.
50th Anniversary Special – free skiing for 6 and under with adult
To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Powderhorn is offering free skiing for children 6 and under with the purchase of an adult pass or an adult lift ticket. Visit powderhorn.com for more information.
Kids Ski Free Package
Purgatory Resort’s Kids Ski Free package invites guests to enjoy four nights of lodging, three days of lift tickets for mom and dad, and free lift tickets for kids 12 and under. The package includes 25 percent off lodging and is available until April 4, 2017, excluding December 26, 2016- January 2, 2017. Guests can book by calling 800-525-0892 or by going online to shop.purgatoryresort.com/lodging-offers/offer/19180.
What is cool about Ski Cooper isn’t just that kids 5 and under ski free, but that adult and child lift tickets are also affordable. Adults are $52 for the day and children are $32. That are half day discounts and senior discounts starting at age 60.
We went here several times when I was a child, and it is again on my radar now that I am an adult looking for a reasonably priced ski trip. Stay tuned for more on this resort from a budget ski trip perspective….
Kids/Grandkids Ski and Rent Free
Steamboat’s Kids Ski Free and Grandkids Ski Free programs enable children 12 and younger to ski free the same number of days as their parent/grandparent when a parent/grandparent purchases a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket or season pass.
Seniors (ages 70+) must purchase an adult ticket to be eligible for this program. Each qualifying purchase allows one free child per paid parent/grandparent. Kids also rent free when their parent or grandparent rents equipment for 5 or more days. For more information on Kids Ski and Rent Free, visit http://www.steamboat.com/tickets-and-passes/kids-ski-free.aspx.
Free Season Pass
Additionally, one child (12 and under) is eligible to receive a free season pass when a parent or legal guardian purchases an adult Steamboat Season Pass. Each additional child or teen can purchase a special priced Family Season Pass. Details can be found at http://www.steamboat.com/tickets-and-passes/kids-ski-free.aspx.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Ski, Swim and Stay
With Sunlight’s Ski, Swim and Stay package, kids 12 and under ski free. Enjoy a full day on the slopes of Sunlight, a rejuvenating soak in Glenwood Hot Springs, the largest natural hot springs pool in the world, and a relaxing night’s stay at one of seven participating lodging properties. Packages start at just $99/night. Learn more: http://sunlightmtn.com/plan-your-trip/ski-swim-stay-vacation-package-sunlight-mountain-resort.
Telluride Ski Resort
Kids 5 and Under Ski Free
Children 5 and under ski free at Telluride when they stop by the lift ticket office and pick up a day ticket. Visit http://www.tellurideskiresort.com for more information.
If this got your wheels turning, then I also recommend checking out this post on making informed decisions on When Kids are Ready for Ski School and a video I did with the Travel Channel on How to Plan a Cheaper Ski Vacation. I’d also love to hear any other Kids Ski Free trips you may have!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.