Tips on How to Find Free Fun in Colorado Ski Country This Winter
Price savvy skiers have always appreciated the value of a Colorado ski vacation. This year that value increases as Colorado ski resorts have expanded their offerings of free activities, amenities and services for the 2011/12 season. Whether coming from another country or another part of town, resorts have offered up a menu of ways to save this winter including mountain tours, kids entertainment, refreshments, parking, helmets and lift tickets.
Colorado Ski Resorts extend free activities, services, celebrations
May Concert Series – Every Saturday in May A-Basin will heat things up with free live entertainment in the base area. Guests are invited to head down to the party after the free rail jam.
Aspen/Snowmass Free Things to do
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.
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 more than 273 acres and 1,200 vertical feet of terrain in a high alpine bowl. Cats run from 10:00 a.m. to 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 to 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.
Mountain Orientation 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.
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 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.
Ski Free on Opening Day (“our Birthday“) – Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) officially opened for skiing in November of 1961, and this year’s opening day marks the resort’s 50th birthday and the culmination of a year long celebration. To honor its golden year, CBMR is offering a free lift ticket valid on November 23, 2011, opening day for the 2011-2012 season. To sweeten the deal, the resort also is offering a free lift ticket for “your” birthday whenever it may fall during the winter season.
Ski Free on “Your Birthday” – “Ski Free on Your Birthday” offer is valid throughout the 2011-2012 winter season. Skiers and riders must show a valid photo ID at the CBMR Adventure Center on the day they were born to receive a free day of skiing for that day. Participants must be 18 years of age or older with a valid photo ID to prove their official date of birth.
Torch Light Parades and Fireworks – On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, celebrate the holidays with a festive torch light parade and fireworks display.
Free Shuttle – With the Crested Butte Town Shuttle and Crested Butte Mountain Express, there’s no need for a car. The shuttles run the three miles between Mt. Crested Butte and the historic town from many convenient locations, and it’s free. Condo Loop and Outer Condo Loop Shuttles depart from Town Center throughout the day in the winter.
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 Ski Days – Echo Mountain season pass holders can take advantage of three free days when they visit Sunlight and Ski Cooper with their Echo Mountain season pass.
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 five 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.
Live Music Series – Celebrate spring at Loveland and enjoy live music on the Basin Patio every weekend in March and April.
Child Entertainment – Join Loveland as it hosts a variety of children’s entertainment on select weekends throughout the season. Acts range from magicians to storytellers to musicians and are a perfect way to follow up a day of skiing with the family.
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 six 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 2012.
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 its 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 – snow biking. Purgatory is an established leader in this new sport and Purgatory Ski and Ride School offers free snow bike licensing, which guests will need to have before testing their mettle on the slopes. Guests can rent snow bikes 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 2011/12 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 February 2012.
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.
Kids Ski Free – Guests who print a free coupon online at www.SunlightMtn.com can get a free child lift ticket at Sunlight Mountain Resort with purchase of two adult lift tickets. Guests must present the coupon at the ticket window to take advantage of this family-friendly deal (not valid 12/05/11 – 01/02/12, 02/13/12 – 02/15/12, 02/18/12 – 2/20/12 or 03/10/12 – 04/02/12).
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 23 through December 16, 2011, and late season packages are available April 8 through April 15, 2012.
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
Family Season Pass Program: For each parent or legal guardian purchasing an unrestricted Steamboat Adult Season Pass or Rocky Mountain Pass, one child 12 or under in the same family will receive a free Season Pass.
Ski with Billy Kidd – Join Steamboat’s Director of Skiing, 1964 Olympic Silver Medalist and World Champion Billy Kidd, for some free pointers and a run down Heavenly Daze. Check the sign at the top of the gondola to see if Billy is skiing today, and join him in front of the BK sign at the top of Why Not at 1:00 p.m.
Nelson on Nelson’s – Nelson Carmichael, 1992 Olympic Bronze Medalist, two-time World Cup Mogul Champion, six-time US National Mogul Champion and Professional Mogul Tour Champion, hosts a free mogul clinic on Nelson’s Run at 1:00 p.m on select Sundays through the season. Check the grooming report to see if Nelson is skiing and meet at the Nelson’s sign outside the Four Points Hut.
Free Mountain Tours – Steamboat Ambassadors lead free mountain tours daily at 10:30 a.m., starting outside the upper gondola terminal at the top of Vagabond. Get a comprehensive tour of the intermediate and advanced trails with information about resort services and the surrounding area. Tours are offered December 11, 2011 through April 1, 2012.
Guided Nature Ski Tours: Join one of the naturalists from Yampatika’s Education Partnership for a free ski tour and receive interpretive information on the forest, mountain habitat and indigenous flora and fauna. Meet at the top of Why Not at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Tours run from December 16, 2011 through April 8, 2012.
Snowshoe Tours: Steamboat’s Ambassadors offer guided snowshoe tours daily at 1:00 p.m. This free tour offers breathtaking views of the Yampa Valley and the Flat Top Mountains. The tour departs from the Information Center in Gondola Square and winds along a one-mile loop from the top of Steamboat gondola. Guests need to sign up in advance by calling 970-871-5444, as space is limited. Snowshoe rentals are not included with the tour, but are available from the Information Center in Gondola Square. Participants will need a lift ticket or season pass.
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. to 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 two free lift tickets when guests book two nights of lodging between Opening Day, November 12, 2011 and December 18, 2011. Skiers and riders will also get an additional free lift ticket per night booked for both three and four night stays. This package is available at www.winterparkresort.com/dealsor by calling 800-979-9874.
Ridge and Beyond Tour – For those interested in exploring Wolf Creek’s bowls and ridgeline terrain, join the resort’s guides each day for the free Ridge and Beyond Tour, a one hour skiing/snowboarding tour of Wolf Creek’s more challenging terrain. Intermediate ability required.
Fun Race Series – Whether you are interested in showing everyone how fast you are, challenging your own fastest time, or just having a good time with the family, the Wolf Creek Fun Race Series is for you. Designed for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities, the race series has more than two dozen different brackets, and participation is free.
Horseshoe Bowl Snowcat – On selected days throughout the season, Wolf Creek provides a free snowcat shuttle to the remote Horseshoe Bowl, making this excellent terrain more accessible for skiers and snowboarders. The snowcat shuttle picks up skiers and boarders at the east end of the Knife Ridge, accessed by the Alberta Lift.
Cross-country Track – In the Alberta Meadow, below the base area at Wolf Creek, sits a six mile complimentary cross-country track. It is groomed for Nordic skating, classic touring and snowshoeing.
Free Parking and Parking Lot Shuttles – At Wolf Creek, parking is always free, whether you arrive early and get a choice spot just steps from the ticket office and Raven Lift, or you kick into four wheel drive for a spot in the ski-in/ski-out 4X4 Lot. Our parking lot shuttles are free and convenient.