Shredders are turning into shoppers this ski season as the economy leaves skiers hunting for the best deals. Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) resorts have astounded even the most seasoned deal-seekers by offering a hefty menu of activities and events that guests can enjoy completely free of charge.
To make sure that nobody misses out, CSCUSA put together the following list of 50 free activities in ski country to highlight all the free fun in store for this season.
Rail Jams – Reflecting its commitment to enhancing the experience of freestyle skiers and riders, Arapahoe Basin will host rail jams throughout the 2009/10 season. In May, rail jams will be held every Saturday in the Treeline Terrain Park. Registration and attendance are free.
Spring Splash – Don’t miss Arapahoe Basin’s annual Spring Splash competition at Lake Reveal. Lake Reveal is a natural lake that forms to the side of Dercum’s Gulch trail. Participants who successfully ski or snowboard across the lake will win free prizes. Categories include best costume, best trick, best dunk, best run and many more. Registration is free.
May Concert Series – Every Saturday in May A-Basin will heat things up with free live entertainment in the base area. Head down to the party after the free rail jam.
First Tracks – Guests who sign up with First Tracks at Aspen/Snowmass will be on the slopes before the lifts start running, meaning they’ll get to enjoy untracked powder and pristine groomers. To make sure they’re first on the mountain, all guests have to do is call and reserve a spot the night before. Of course, they will still need a lift ticket. For reservations, call 970-923-0560 (Snowmass) or 970-925-1220 x3543 (Aspen Mountain).
Mountain Tours – Ambassadors at Aspen/Snowmass provide free tours twice daily on all four mountains. The ambassadors share a wealth of knowledge about the mountains, the resorts, and the surrounding town.
Coffee & Hot Cider – Before they make their first turns, skiers and riders can grab a cup of Green Mountain Coffee at the base of any of the four mountains – compliments of the house. Once they’re out on the slopes, guests can stop at the top of the lift to enjoy a free cup of hot cider.
On-Mountain Snowsports Events – Whether it’s the X Games or a World Cup race, Aspen/Snowmass has an event that’s sure to capture the interest of their guests this season. Events are scheduled for all four mountains and will feature today’s best snowsports athletes. All events are free.
Concert Series – Free concerts, sponsored by Bud Light, are held once a month throughout the season and are scheduled to coincide with key events and peak weekends. Past performers include Blues Traveler, Ozomatli, Everclear, English Beat, The Gin Blossoms, The Vandals and DJate and The Rockers.
The Aspen Art Museum – For guests looking for a dose of culture, the Aspen Art Museum offers free admission every day. Thursday evenings feature free receptions and free gallery tours.
Sing-A-Longs and Storytelling – Guests in search of good old family fun should check out the free Sing-A-Longs and Storytelling sessions at Pokolodi Lodge in Snowmass. Sing-A-Longs by the Campfire happen every Monday evening from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. throughout the winter. Storytelling by the Campfire occurs at the same time on Wednesdays. Guests will get to roast marshmallows, drink hot chocolate, and enjoy a true Colorado experience.
Tucker Mountain Cat Skiing – Copper Mountain offers free snowcat rides to legendary Tucker Mountain, where guests have access to over 273 acres and 1,200 vertical feet of terrain in a high alpine bowl. Cats run from 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on select days, departing from the base of the Mountain Chief lift.
Kids’ Night Out – Kids’ Night Out is a free childcare service offered to parents at Copper Mountain Resort. Parents are eligible for the free service when they spend $30 per child at any commercial outlet within the resort during the hours that children are in the program. The service is offered from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Kids will enjoy pizza, crafts, movies and a variety of fun activities. Parents should make reservations 48 hours in advance.
Redfeather Snowshoe Tours – Copper Mountain offers free snowshoeing tours daily. Resort Ambassadors help guests discover the beauty of the area’s snow-covered meadows and pine and spruce forests. Redfeather Snowshoes and touring poles are provided free of charge.
Ice Skating – Guests who bring their own skates can take a whirl around the beautiful West Lake located in The Village at Copper for free. Guests without skates can try their hand at Curling or play a game of Broomball. Skate rentals are on West Lake at Chubs.
Guided Mountain Tours – Copper Mountain Resort Ambassadors offer “meet the mountain” tours twice daily. Ideal for first-time visitors, the tours highlight Copper’s unique naturally divided terrain, and provide information about the area’s history and wildlife. Tour participants must be at least 15 years of age and must be able to ski or ride Copper’s blue runs in a comfortable and controlled manner. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Guided Mountain Tours – For guests who prefer to do their exploring with the help of an expert guide, Crested Butte offers two free mountain tours every day. Guests will ski or ride along with a guide who will introduce them to the mountain and help orient them to hot spots for powder, groomers, and warm beverages.
Cookies and Cocoa – On the weekends and during the holidays, the resort bakers whip up fresh, homemade shortbread cookies and cocoa. Guests can help themselves to the treats at any of the guest service tables at the base area.
Safety First – For guests who have underestimated the effects of recreating at high altitudes, the Mountain Safety tent near the base of the Red Lady Express Lift provides free sunscreen and water. Ski Patrol will give free courtesy rides to guests when needed.
Kids Ski Free – Echo Mountain wants to help parents pass on their love of skiing and riding to the next generation. Lift tickets for children age five and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Seniors Ski Free – Skiers and riders who have put in their time on the mountain and off will be rewarded at Echo Mountain. Lift tickets are free for guests ages 75 and over.
Free Lift Tickets for Gems Cardholders –Echo Mountain is recognized by Colorado Ski Country USA as a Colorado Gem, one of nine resorts that are hidden off the beaten path, where you’ll find shorter lift lines, smaller crowds, down-to-earth prices, and a great family atmosphere. Gems Cardholders are eligible to receive one free lift ticket at Echo Mountain between December 02 and December 18, 2009, or between April 01 and 16, 2010.
Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing – Season Pass holders at Eldora can get in on Colorado’s best-kept cross-country, skate skiing and snowshoeing secret. Season Pass holders enjoy free access to Eldora’s Nordic Center and Eldora’s extensive network of trails. The trails, 40 kilometers in all, start just a few steps from the ski lifts and meander through serene forests, across expansive alpine meadows, and past dramatic mountain backdrops. Eldora Nordic Center offers complete rental packages, lessons and clinics.
Movies and Crayons – The Children’s Center at Eldora is dedicated to providing kids with the skiing and snowboarding skills necessary to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the mountains. But the Children’s Center also knows that sometimes kids need a break from the hill. For children who are feeling sick or sad, or who just need some time in out of the cold, the Children’s Center keeps a collection of movies and crayons on hand – come inside, warm up, watch a movie, draw a picture, or just take a nap. There’s no charge.
Free Helmets – Loveland’s Ski & Ride School features an expert staff of instructors who are dedicated to teaching young children to ski and ride in a positive and encouraging environment. To ensure safety, helmets are provided free of charge with all children’s lesson packages.
Kids Ski Free – In order to make sure that every little skier and rider has the chance to fall in love with Loveland, Loveland Ski Area offers free lift tickets to children 5 and under.
Beginners Ski Free – For guests who have never tried skiing or riding before, Loveland has the perfect deal. Guests who purchase a 3-Class Pass from Loveland’s Ski & Ride School will receive a free season pass that will allow them to work on their turns all season long.
Kids Ski Free – Monarch Mountain is a great place for families to ski and ride together. It helps that lift tickets are free for children 6 and under.
Seniors Ski Free – Monarch Mountain offers free lift tickets to skiers and riders ages 69 and over.
Free Lift Tickets for Gems Cardholders – Monarch Mountain is recognized by Colorado Ski Country USA as a Colorado Gem, one of nine resorts that are hidden off the beaten path, where you’ll find shorter lift lines, smaller crowds, down-to-earth prices, and a great family atmosphere. Gems Cardholders are eligible to receive one free lift ticket at Monarch any time during the month of April 2010.
Guided Mountain Tours – Powderhorn Resort sits on the edge of Grand Mesa, offering breathtaking valley views that you won’t get anywhere else. Guests can take in the scenery and learn about the history of Grand Mesa by taking advantage of a one-hour guided mountain tour. Tours are free and are offered every Saturday. Sign-up is at Guest Services.
Snow Play Area for Kids – Purgatory Mountain is all about fun, whether it’s whooshing down the mountain or making snowmen and snow angels. Along with it’s dedicated kids ski and snowboard instructors, Purgatory has set up a special play area where kids can take a break from the hill and just play in the snow. Entrance to the area is free, but watch out for the Snow Monsters!
Snowbike Licensing – Purgatory offers guests the chance to experience the latest craze in winter sports – snowbiking. Purgatory is an established leader in this new sport and Purgatory Ski and Ride School offers free snowbike licensing, which guests will need to have before testing their mettle on the slopes. Guests can rent skibikes at Purgatory Rentals from Brenter, the industry leader. More information is available by calling 970-247-9000 x 11155.
Boot-Packing Days: Earn Free Turns – At Silverton Mountain guests can earn free unguided ski days by helping to prepare the mountain for the ski season, literally by packing the snow with their boots. Guests who want to participate should show up – with pants duct taped to boots – at the base area at 8:45 a.m. on any or all of the four scheduled boot-packing days. No experience is required but participants must have a beacon, shovel and probe. Guests will earn one free ski day for each day of boot-packing – up to four free days. Free tickets must be used during 2009/10 season. Check out the Silverton website for a schedule of boot-packing dates.
Free Lift Tickets for Gems Cardholders – Ski Cooper is recognized by Colorado Ski Country USA as a Colorado Gem, one of nine resorts that are hidden off the beaten path, where you’ll find shorter lift lines, smaller crowds, down-to-earth prices, and a great family atmosphere. Gems Cardholders are eligible to receive one free lift ticket at Ski Cooper on weekdays during the month of March 2010 (Not Valid 03/13-03/15).
Sol Vista Basin
Outdoor Fire Pit – All guests at Sol Vista Basin are welcome to grab a seat and warm up around the outdoor fire pit. Located slope-side on the south-facing Patio of Seven Trails Grille, the fire pit is encircled by Adirondack chairs that let you bask in the sun while watching the skiers and riders make their way down the slopes. The Patio also has two carefully placed snow features that allow the kids to play while the adults relax.
Snow Play Park – Next to the Patio, Sol Vista Basin features a Snow Play Park where kids will find a series of sculpted snow mounds positioned over a maze of plastic tunnels. Kids of all ages love to climb up, around and through the features. Access is free.
Sledding Area – When the parents are done relaxing and the kids decide it’s time for more fun, they can leave the Patio and head over to Sol Vista Basin’s sledding hill. The Sledding Area is fenced off from ski traffic and provides kids and parents the perfect place to play after the lifts are closed or when the kids have decided they’re ready for something a little less challenging.
Cross-country Skiing – Sol Vista Basin offers all guests free access to cross-country skiing trails. Cross-country skiing is a great way to enjoy the majesty of the environment, exercise a different set of ski muscles, or tour around the mountains with friends and family.
Free Lift Tickets for Gems Cardholders – Sol Vista Basin is recognized by Colorado Ski Country USA as a Colorado Gem, one of nine resorts that are hidden off the beaten path, where you’ll find shorter lift lines, smaller crowds, down-to-earth prices, and a great family atmosphere. Gems Cardholders are eligible to receive one free lift ticket at Sol Vista Basin on weekdays during the month of January 2010 (Not Valid 01/01-01/02 or 01/16-01/18).
Free Lift Tickets – This season Steamboat is giving away free lift tickets when guests book lodging packages through Steamboat Central Reservations®. Early Season packages are available November 25 thru December18, 2009, and late season packages are available April 4 thru April 11, 2010.
Kid’s Fly Free – Steamboat offers phenomenal deals for families who are planning their Colorado ski vacation from out of state. Book packages through Steamboat Central Reservations® and receive one free airline ticket for children 12 and under for each adult ticket purchased.
Kids Ski Free – As always, Steamboat offers the best deals around for families with young children. Book packages through Steamboat Central Reservations® and receive one free lift ticket for children 12 and under for each regular-priced five-or-more-day adult lift ticket.
Kids Rent Free – Free flights, free lift tickets, of course rentals are free too. Book packages through Steamboat Central Reservations® and receive one free rental for children 12 or under for each five-day adult rental.
Gondola Transportation – Telluride provides free gondola transportation to guests travelling between the resort, the Intercept Lot, and the core of the Mountain Village. The gondola runs seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. – midnight.
Guided Mountain Tours – Telluride offers guests a fun and efficient way to get to know the mountain with free guided tours. Tours are oriented toward intermediate skiers and riders and leave from the top of Coonskin Lift at 10:00 a.m. daily.
Free Fun in the Snow – Telluride guests can take advantage of free opportunities to cross-country ski, ice-skate, snowshoe, and sled in and around town. There are 30 km of Nordic trails in the Telluride area, along with miles of snowshoeing trails, three ice rinks, and a sledding hill – located in the town park. Guests who don’t have their own equipment can rent from one of the many shops in the Telluride area.
Free Lift Tickets – Winter Park will provide free lift tickets when guests book a minimum of two nights of lodging between Opening Day, Nov. 18, 2009 and Christmas Day 2009. Skiers and riders will get one free lift ticket per night booked, regardless of the size of the unit or number of people in the party. The “Ski Free at Winter Park” lodging package is available at http://www.playwinterpark.com or by calling 800-979-9874.
Wolf Creek Fun Series – Wolf Creek offers guests the opportunity to participate in a full schedule of races – the “Fun Series” – as well as a number of special Holiday races. Entrance is free and is open to skiers of all ages and abilities. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to the fastest three racers in each age and gender brackets.
Share the Ride, Share the Fun – As part of its broader environmental efforts, Wolf Creek Ski Area coordinates a free online car-pooling service for skiers and riders. Guests can take advantage of the service to meet other skiers and riders and save on gas.
Free Storage – During peak periods and the holidays, Wolf Creek provides free storage for guests who want to leave skis or boards at the base area. For added convenience, guests can simply leave their gear with one of the attendants on shift.