Skiing is an expensive sport. But there are also many discounts to be found, especially for retirees. Here are a few key areas where you should always try to get a discount.
Lift tickets. Many ski resorts discount lift tickets for senior citizens. The price reductions tend to get better as you age. A one-day lift pass at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, N.Y., is $60 for a senior age 65 to 69 on a nonholiday, $14 off the full adult price. But once seniors hit age 70, lift tickets are free.
Season passes. If you're planning to ski for more than a few days, long-term passes are usually the way to go. An unlimited adult pass with no blackout dates can cost as much as $1,450 at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. But retirees can get discounts on these, too. Passes for seniors age 65 to 69 are going for $575 this year, and at age 70, they drop to just $295 for the full season.
Ski gear. The price of skis, boots, and insulated jackets can quickly bust any budget. Seniors over age 65 get a 10 percent discount at the national chain Modell's Sporting Goods when they ask and show ID. It could pay off to inquire about a discount at the local ski shop, too.
Package deals. Family passes, group rates, or deals on combining lessons, rentals, and lodging are numerous and confusing. Get out your calculator and spend a few minutes comparing options online to find out which rate is really the most economical for you.
Other winter sports. Senior discounts aren't limited to the ski resort. "You'll typically find discounts on other activities that are seasonable to that area as well, like snowmobiling, ice skating, or cross-country skiing," says David Smidt, president of SeniorDiscounts.com.
Restaurants and entertainment. Grocery stores and movie theaters sometimes have discounts for seniors, although they are often restricted to certain dates or times. Local newspapers will have coupons or run advertisements about current special promotions. Ask locals where to go for free appetizers or drink specials. And even if no discount is promoted, asking is worth a try.