Skiing is not a bargain sport, but if you are diligent, you can unearth some good deals. Going early or late in the season is usually a good bet pricewise, though conditions may not be ideal. And if you can swing some time off midweek in a non-holiday period, there are many options. Check out the offerings at these mountains, both in our region and further afield:
• Belleayre has customer appreciation Fridays: $25 lift tickets on December 12, January 9, February 13, March 13 and April 10, 2009. You also ski free on your birthday, and if your birthday doesn’t fall during ski season, you can ski another day free. Highmount. www.belleayre.com.
• Catamount Ski Area has $20 lift tickets Monday-Thursday, non-holidays, and $20 weekend lift tickets until December 14. Hillsdale. www.catamountski.com.
• Hunter, celebrating its 50th anniversary, has a Big Lift Card that costs $49, and offers 25 percent off weekend tickets and 50 percent off mid-week. If you travel to Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado, you get 20 percent off lodging, and lift ticket discounts throughout the season. Hunter. www.huntermtn.com.
• Mount Peter has what may be the best deal around for beginning skiers and snowboarders – free lessons on weekends and holidays. The lessons, at 10am, noon and 2pm, teach how to stand, side-step and stop. Warwick. www.mtpeter.com.
• Plattekill Mountain has a great weekend deal: buy two adult and two junior lift tickets for Saturday and get free tickets for Sunday. In December, lift tickets are $30, and January 26-28, they are $15. There are also free group lessons for beginning skiers or snowboarders on December 13 and 14. Roxbury. www.plattekill.com.
• Rocking Horse Ranch has a round-up weekend December 12-14. Bring two families and your room is free. Rocking Horse is good for beginning skiers; equipment and lessons are included with your stay. There is also snow tubing, with a lift. Save 40 percent February 8-13, 2009. Highland. www.rockinghorseranch.com.
• Go 20/20 Monday-Thursday, non-holiday time, at Thunder Ridge. Lift tickets are $20; rentals are an additional $20. If your kids ski better than you, adult lessons are also only $20. Patterson. www.thunderridgeski.com.
• Tuxedo Ridge has $20 weekday lift tickets. Children 4 and under are free with paid adult. Tuxedo. www.skituxedoridge.com.
• If you are gong to ski at least three times on the weekends at Windham, get the Triple-Play Card; instead of the junior rate of $50 a day, and weekend adult lift tickets for $65, you get three days for $99. Under 6, lift tickets are $10, and for ages 7-13, midweek lift tickets are $34. Weekend junior rate is $52. Winwood. www.windhammountain.com.
• For late risers, Mt. Southington has a sunset lift ticket on non-holiday weekends, $23 for 3-7pm. Kids under $5 are $12 anytime. Southington. www.mountsouthington.com.
• Mohawk Mountain encourages you to play hooky on Fridays. Ski 9:30am-1pm for $20; ski all day for $30, non-holidays only. Cornwall. www.mohawkmtn.com. MASSACHUSETTS
• Bousquet Ski Area & Family Fun Center has $20 lift tickets Monday-Thursday (excluding holiday and vacation weeks) and $10 Thursday Evening Nite Owl lift tickets good 3-9:30pm. Weekend and holiday lift tickets are a bargain $40. Pittsfield. www.bousquets.com.
• Ski Butternut has online coupons for fifth graders, who get a free lift ticket when their parent buys a lift ticket. Monday-Thursday lift tickets are $20; after March 16, all lift tickets are $20 (except holiday periods). Great Barrington. www.skibutternut.com.
• Jiminy Peak has free skiing for children 12 and under with a paying adult when they stay at the Country Inn midweek, non-holiday. Hancock. www.jiminypeak.com.
• At Otis Ridge, kids over 6 pay the same rate as adults (only $30 on weekends) but kids under 6 are always free. Otis. www.otisridge.com.
• Campgaw Mountain gives a discount to Bergen County residents. For everyone else, there are afternoon lift tickets that start at $15; the highest priced weekend lift ticket is $34. Mahwah. www.skicampgaw.com.
• The Hidden Valley Club has $24 weekday tickets. Kids under 5 ski free with a paying adult, and adults 70 and over ski free anytime. Vernon. www.thehiddenvalleyclub.com.
• Mountain Creek has a Triple Play card, with three lift tickets for $69, a bargain since a one-day adult lift ticket is $62. Kids 6 and under ski free with a paying adult. Vernon Valley.www.mountaincreek.com.
• If you head to Pennsylvania with a fourth and fifth grader, he can ski free with the Pennsylvania Snowpass program. Over 20 PA ski resorts are included in this promotion, including nearby Camelback (www.skicamelback.com), Jack Frost/Big Boulder (www.jfbb.com), and Shawnee (www.shawneemt.com). Parents have to ski, too (though not with the child), and kid gets a free skiing or snowboarding lesson as well. Find out more at www.skipa.com.
• Great Wolf Lodge offers a Stay and Ski package, two nights for $658, which includes four lift tickets to Camelback. You also get water park tickets for both days. The package runs January 4-March 12, 2009. Pocono Mountains. www.greatwolf.com/poconos.
• The Arrabelle at Vail Square offers Holidays on Us. If you stay for five or more nights, you get a holiday day free. Holidays include Christmas and New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and Easter. Book by December 15. www.arrabelle.rockresorts.com.
• At Alta Lodge, kids stay and eat free through December 12, and April 12-19, 2009. You can bring up to two kids under 18; they get free breakfast and dinner. There is also a free supervised Kids’ Program with activities after skiing. www.altalodge.com.
• And when you fly to any Park City resort, you can ski that day for free. To promote the ease of flying into Park City, the resorts there have banded together to offer Quick Start, a free lift ticket the day you fly in. Use your boarding pass as proof; don’t leave it in your seat pocket! Get details at www.parkcity.com.
• Bromley offers Family Fridays, where an adult pays $12 each for lift tickets for up to three kids. On Lift & Lunch Tuesdays, an all-day lift ticket plus a sit-down lunch is $39. Manchester Center. www.bromley.com.
• Midweek lift tickets are $39 all season long at Mad River Glen. Waitsfield. www.madriverglen.com/deals.
• Ready the minivan: Magic Mountain encourages skiers to save gas and money. On Carpool Wednesdays (every non-holiday Wednesday), a car with at least four passengers gets lift tickets for the entire car for $80. If you have an eight-seater van, it’s only $10 a lift ticket. On other midweek days, non-holiday only, three or more in a car get $25 lift tickets per person. Londonderry. www.magicmtn.com.
• If you are bringing small children to the slopes, get a deal on childcare at Smugglers’ Notch. December 12-29 and January 4-24, 2009, childcare is 50 percent off. Go for a week and get the seventh night free when you arrive between January 25 and February 1, 2009. Smugglers’ Notch. www.smuggs.com.
• If time is money, Mont-Tremblant Resort has its second year of flights from Newark right to the resort, a 90-minute flight. The seasonal service on Continental runs Thursday-Monday, December 18-March 29, 2009. www.continental.com or www.tremblant.ca.