Mammoth lift tickets up to $92 a day
Can the $100 lift ticket be far off? With a single-day adult ticket at Mammoth coming in at $92, it'll probably be several years here in California, but likely sooner in Colorado, where it'll cost a whopping $98 for a single-day adult ticket at Telluride this season. Aspen isn't far behind: A two-day ticket will cost $192, and I was told the resort hasn't set its single-day rates yet. So that's sure to be higher than the two-day "deal" rate (which works out to $96 a day, same as last year's daily price). And Vail is almost there: You'll have to fork over $99 to ski there on a holiday.
Wow. Who can afford to ski or snowboard these days? I was unaware that lift ticket prices had been set until I saw an interesting post Monday on the winter activities forum on Mammoth Mountain's website, where an "avid Mammoth boarder" says the new price "pretty much eliminates me forever from your resort."
To be fair, Mammoth's early season ($72) and multi-day regular-season tickets ($171 for a two-day ticket) of course provide some relief. (Yes, that ticket to the left is from Memorial Day -- a way cheaper time to ski -- during a season that lasted until July). And more ski resorts are really pushing annual passes. On many resorts' websites it's often easier to find out about passes than it is daily lift tickets.
Speaking of passes, perhaps one of the best deals for avid skiers and boarders is the Epic Pass, which for $629 (buy by Nov. 7) provides unlimited skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Heavenly, and now, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe. That's right, two more Tahoe resorts were added as of Monday, when Vail bought Northstar and its little cousin.
Tahoe's Alpine Meadows will charge $71 but has several club/advance purchase deals to bring the cost down into the $60s. And at Homewood, the little resort with the big Lake Tahoe view, a single-day adult ticket will cost a more affordable $57 on weekends. Squaw Valley hasn't posted its 2010-11 rates yet (single-day adult was $83 last season).
And of course, the more you ski or board, the cheaper it will be. For $899, an adult unlimited season pass at Mammoth pays for itself in 9.7 days at the full daily rate. But act quick: It's that price only through Nov. 15. That may leave some pennies left over for an apres-ski latte.
-- Julie Sheer
Photos: Julie Sheer