Tag Archives | saving money

Ski Swaps, ’17-’18

We all know that ski gear ain’t cheap. If you have to have the latest and greatest, then sure, there’s no denying that’s true. But there are definitely ways to save, and one of the best is buying second-hand at ski swaps. Swaps are a great way to enjoy new-to-you gear without doing too much damage to your wallet.

skiswap

You can find ski swaps just about everywhere: ski resorts, ski clubs, high schools, and colleges. Swap season usually starts in the fall, so keep your eyes open; chances are there’s one near you.

To make your search a bit easier, here’s a list of some of the swaps you’ll find in the months ahead. Know of any that aren’t listed? Post ’em in the comments section:

NORTHEAST

Sept 22-23: Potter Bros. Ski Swap, Fishkill, NY

Sept 29-30, Oct 1: Potter Bros. Ski Swap, Kingston, NY

Sept 29-Oct 1: Pico Ski Swap, Pico Mountain, VT

Oct 5-9: Wachusett Mountain Ski & Snowboard Swap, Wachusett, MA

Oct 7: Ski Butternut Ski Swap, Great Barrington, MA

Oct 7-8: BBTS Ski Swap, Waterville Valley, NH

Oct 6-7: Killington Ski Club Ski Swap, Killington, VT

Oct. 18-19: Bousquet Mountain, Bousquet Lodge, Pittsfield, MA

Oct 21-22: Great American Ski & Snowboard Sale, Mount Peter, Warwick, NY

Oct 29: Greek Peak Hops & Swaps, Cortland, NY

Nov 3-5: Sundown Ski Patrol Ski Swap, New Hartford, CT

Nov 4: Gunstock Ski Club Swap, Gilford, NH

Nov 24-26: Pat’s Peak Ski Team Ski & Snowboard Sale, Henniker, NH

Nov 6: Brunswick Ski Swap, Brunswick, ME

Nov 15-19: Ski Haus Ski Swap, Brewster, NY

Nov 18-20: OMS Ski Swap & Sale, Okemo Mountain, Ludlow, VT

Nov 19-20: Cambridge Rotary Ski Swap & Sale, Jeffersonville, VT

Jan 7-8: Skirack ski swap, Burlington, VT

MID ATLANTIC

Oct 7-8: Mt. Pleasant Ski Swap, Cambridge Springs, PA

Oct 7-8, Nov 4-5: Alpine Ski Swap, Sterling, VA

Oct 11-14: Buckman’s Tent & Ski Swap, All stores, PA

Nov 4-5: Ski Roundtop Mega Sale, Lewisberry, PA

Nov 24: Wintergreen Ski Swap, Wintergreen, WV

MIDWEST

Sept 29-Oct 1: Buck Hills Ski Swap, Burnsville, MN

Oct 6-7: Welch Village Fall Ski Swap & Sale, Welch, MN

Sept 30-Oct 1: Granite Peak Ski Swap, Wausau, WI

Oct 7: Harbor Springs Ski Team Ski Swap, Nub’s Nob, MI

Oct 7: Skitoberfest, Boyne Mtn Resort, MI

Oct 7-8: Wild Mountain Open House & Swap, Wild Mountain, MN

Oct 6-8 & 13-15: Afton Alps Ski Swap, Hastings, MN

Oct 9-15: Boston Mills/Brandywine/Alpine Valley Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Peninsula, OH

Oct 13-14: Mt Kato Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Lake Crystal, MN

Oct 20-22: Giants Ridge Ski Swap, Biwabik, MN

Oct 27-28: Team Duluth Ski Swap, Duluth, MN

Oct 28: Ski Swap at Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, MI

Oct. 28: Chestnut Mountain’s Open House and Ski Swap, Galena, IL

Nov 4: Snowstar Winter Park Ski Swap, Andalusia, IL

Nov 11: Central Wisconsin Ski & Sport Swap, Stevens Point, WI

Nov 11: Pioneer Ski Swap, Osseo, MN

WEST

Sept 22-24: Snowbird Sports Education Foundation Ski & Snowboard Swap, Snowbird, UT

Oct 7-8 & Nov 19-20: Larson’s Ski Swap, Wheat Ridge, CO

Oct 14-15: Winter Park Ski & Snowboard Swap, Winter Park, CO

Oct 22: Sac State Ski Swap, Sacramento, CA

Oct 20-21: Vail Ski Swap, Vail, CO

Oct 27-29: Sandia Ski Patrol Ski Swap,  Albuquerque, NM

Oct 21: Jackson Hole Ski Club Swap, Jackson, WY

Oct 28: San Ramon Valley High School Ski & Snowboard Swap, Danville, CA

Nov 3-4: City of Loveland Annual Ski & Sports Swap, Loveland CO

Nov 3-4, Red Lodge Ski Swap, Red Lodge, MT

Nov 4: Truckee Ski and Snowboard Swap, Truckee, CA

Nov 4-5: Bridger Foundation Ski Swap, Bozeman, MT

Nov 11-12 & 18-19: Helm of Sun Valley’s Ski Swap, San Mateo, CA

Nov 17-20: Ski Dazzle, Los Angeles, CA

TBD: University of Nevada Ski Swap, Reno, NV

PACIFIC NORTHWEST:

Oct 14: Skyliners Winter Sports Swap, Bend, OR

Oct 21: 49° North Ski Swap, Chewelah, WA

Oct 22: Leavenworth Gear & Ski Swap, Leavenworth, WA

Oct 19-22: Corvallis Ski Swap, Coravallis, OR

Oct 26-28: Eugene Ski Swap, Eugene, OR

Oct 28-29: Mt. Spokane Ski Swap, Spokane Valley, WA

Nov 3-5: Ski Fever & Snowboard Show’s Ski Swap, Portland, OR

Nov 3-5: Bogus Basin Ski Swap, Boise, ID

Nov 4: Lookout Pass Ski Patrol Swap, Coeur D’Alene, ID

Nov 10-11: Newport Ski Swap, Bellevue, WA

Nov 11: Schweizer Alpine Racing School Ski Swap, Sandpoint, ID

CANADA

Oct 6-29: Canada’s Largest Ski & Snowboard Swap, Toronto, ON

Oct 20-22: Calgary Ski Swap and Sale, Calgary, AB



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Which Multi-Resort Season Pass Should You Choose?

Getting a season pass used to be fairly simple. You decided which mountain you’d ski the most, handed over your credit card, and that was that. Easy peasy.

Lately it’s become a lot more complicated. Ski resorts have teamed up to offer joint passes that are good at multiple locations. On the upside, these can save you a lot of money. With daily lift passes at many resorts well above $100., the pay-off comes pretty fast. The catch is figuring out which pass is best for you. You pretty much have to 1)  decide on next year’s ski plans a year in advance and 2) have a ph.d in Math, like my son-in-law, to figure out which one makes most financial sense.

So here’s a limited compilation about what’s out there.

In the West:

listingRocky Mountain Super Pass: Unlimited skiing at Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Eldora with six days at Steamboat and three days at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  You also get 7 days at four resorts in Japan and two in New Zealand. The price is $529. for adults, through April 11. That’s up from $499 for 2016-17. And for a second year in a row the Rocky Mountain Super Pass provides a free kids pass (12 and younger) with the purchase of an adult pass.

epic-pass-logo2(1)Epic Pass: Click on the Epic Pass link, and you’ll find 13 varieties of this pass. Here are four of the more popular:

The Epic Pass: For $859., you get unlimited skiing at 11 major resorts, including Colorado’s Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, as well as 30 European resorts across Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland.  You also get six Buddy Tickets if you buy before April 9, and six Ski-With-A-Friend tickets at varying discounts, which are automatically loaded onto your pass.

The Epic Local Pass, offers unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Arapahoe Basin with limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar & Kirkwood. Also includes a total of 10 days at Vail, Beaver Creek and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions. $639. for adults, with lower prices for teens, college students, and children. In addition to six buddy tickets (if you buy before April 9) and six Ski-With-A-Friend tickets, you get:

• Half-price pass holder tickets available during restricted dates at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood;
• Advanced lift ticket rate available during restricted dates at Vail and Beaver Creek and beyond 10 days;
• Unlimited access to Vail and Beaver Creek in April 2018 available to pass holders who purchased their 2017-2018 passes before 5/29/17;
• 2017 Summer Scenic Access.

The Summit Local Pass, Unlimited skiing or riding at Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with limited restrictions at Breckenridge. Same side benefits as above. $529. for adults.

The Tahoe Local Pass, Unlimited skiing or riding at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood 7 days a week, with limited holiday restrictions. Saturdays included at all resorts. It also includes 5 total restricted days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City or Arapahoe Basin.

PA-Logo-Stacked-v2-895x217Powder Alliance:  Buy an anytime season pass to any of 15 areas and receive three free days at all the rest. Powder Alliance Resorts include Angel Fire, Arizona Snow Bowl, Bridger Bowl, China Peak, Crested Butte, Kiroro, Mountain High, Mount Hood, Schweitzer, Silver Bowl, Sierra at Tahoe, Snowbasin, Stevens, Timberline, Whitewater, Wild West Powder Quest.

d5bbb8e18cf3c3cd310bb2d137955221Mountain Collective Pass:  The MCP gives you two days at a wide range of ski resorts (and for a limited time, three days at the mountain of your choice). New for ’17/’18,  Utah’s Snowbasin and Vermont’s Sugarbush, which replace the Vail-incorporated Whistler and Stowe. The collection of independent ski areas includes Aspen-Snowmass, Alta, Banff Sunshine, Jackson Hole, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Sugarbush, Sun Valley, Taos, Telluride; in Canada, Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Revelstoke;, and in the Southern Hemisphere, Thredbo and Coronet Peak-The Remarkables. This year the Mountain Collective splits Alta and Snowbird into two resorts, offering two days at each and offers the same deal at Canada’s Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise ski areas. The price: $399. For a limited time, you can get $1 passes for kids 12 and younger with the purchase of an adult pass.

Ski Utah Silver and Gold Passes: These are a bit costly, but if that’s what you want, who am I to judge? The Ski Utah Silver Pass allows the holder to ski for 30 days at each of 14 Utah ski resorts (30 days at Alta, 30 days at Deer Valley, 30 days at Sundance, etc.), except for Park City, where it’s valid for 60 days of skiing. The price? $3,150 The Ski Utah Gold Pass offers 50 days of skiing at each Utah resort, except for Park City, where it’s valid for 100 days; however, the pass is also fully transferable pass so your friends and family can enjoy your same privileges on the days you’re not using the pass. A cool $4,800.

The Gold Tahoe Super Pass: Worried about buying a season pass and not using it? Here’s one with a  worry-free guarantee. The Gold Tahoe Super Pass gives credits for unused days that can be put towards the following season. Skiers get unlimited access to Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, plus 2 free days at Zermatt, Switzerland, and unlimited 50% discounts on lift tickets at Mountain Collective resorts. But if you’re unable to ski at least five days during the upcoming season for any reason (not just poor conditions) on your 2017-18 Tahoe Super Pass, they’ll credit you up to 4 days towards your 2018-19 pass when you purchase a Gold or Silver pass. $869. til April 18.

california-cali4nia-ski-passCali4nia Pass: One pass covers Mammoth, Bear, June, and Snow Summit. There’s a host of benefits when you buy early, including 5 exclusive Early Up events at Mammoth, 5 Bring-A-Friend tickets, 10% off rentals, 10% off retail when you spend more than $100., and up to 20% off lodging at Mammoth Lodging Collection properties. $749. through April 3.

In the East:

 Ski Roundtop/Liberty Mountain/Whitetail Pass: Includes unlimited access to Ski Roundtop, Liberty Mountain, Whitetail Resorts. You also get 30 minutes early lift access Thursday through Sunday, preferred parking at Roundtop on weekends and holidays until 5PM,  50% off regular class lessons, two snow tubing tickets valid Monday through Thursday non-holiday, one free Learn to Ski or Board Package for a friend, special hotel rates at the Liberty Hotel, 15% discount in the sports shops, and 50% off midweek/non peak tickets at Mountains of Distinction resorts. $469. for adults.

superpassWhite Mountain Superpass: Valid every day of the 2017/18 winter season at Bretton Woods, Cannon, Cranmore and Waterville Valley. $979. before May 31.

 

 

NEPass_logo-bw-180New England Pass: Includes unlimited access to Sunday River, Loon, and Sugarloaf. $1,099. before April 30.

 

 

PeakPassPeak Explorer Pass: Unlimited days at Mount Snow, Attitash, Wildcat, Crotched, Hunter, Jack Frost and Big Boulder, along with discounts on retail, lodgings and activities. $599. until April 30.

 

UnknownFour.0 College Pass: This is for the full-time college student who wants unrestricted access to Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Killington and Pico at a price that fits a student’s budget. Includes resort-specific benefits. $369. through August 31.

logoVermont Travel Club Card: Get varying discounts at 11 Vermont ski resorts plus Sunday River. Individual cards are $54., Family cards (up to 5 members) are $179.

 

East & West, Combined

MAX_Pass_Logo_highresThe MAX Pass: The MAX pass advertises five days each at 44 mountains with zero blackout dates. You can find the full list here; this year their new offerings include Belleayre Mountain, Gore Mountain, Granite Peak, Lutsen Resort, Whiteface Mountain, and Windham Mountain. You can buy the pass outright for $629. through May 1. But if you have a season pass at one of the 44 mountains, you can buy a MAX pass add-on for just $329. The web site has a handy calculator that tells you the savings you’ll get by using the MAX Pass.

Mountain Playground Card: I don’t have a price on this one yet, but this year, the $29. card got you great deals at a variety of smaller, community-oriented ski hills. You also got deals with brand partners, and helped benefit SheJumps, a non-profit geared toward increasing the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities. More details on the ’17/’18 season to come in the Fall. To find out more, go here.



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Ski Swaps, ’16 -’17

We all know that ski gear ain’t cheap. If you have to have the latest and greatest, then sure, there’s no denying that’s true. But there are definitely ways to save, and one of the best is buying second-hand at ski swaps. Swaps are a great way to enjoy new-to-you gear without doing too much damage to your wallet.

skiswap

You can find ski swaps just about everywhere: ski resorts, ski clubs, high schools, and colleges. Swap season usually starts in the fall, so keep your eyes open; chances are there’s one near you.

To make your search a bit easier, here’s a list of some of the swaps you’ll find in the months ahead:

NORTHEAST

Sept 30: Potter Bros. Ski Swap, Kingston, NY

Sept 30-Oct 2: Pico Ski Swap, Pico Mountain, VT

Oct 6-10: Wachusett Mountain Ski & Snowboard Swap, Wachusett, MA

Oct 8-10: Ski Butternut Ski Swap, Great Barrington, MA

Oct 8-10: BBTS Ski Swap, Waterville Valley, NH

Oct 9-11: Killington Ski Club Ski Swap, Killington, VT

Oct. 18-19: Bousquet Mountain, Bousquet Lodge, Pittsfield, MA

Oct 28-30: Greek Peak Ski Club Ski Swap, Cortland, NY

Nov 4: Sundown Ski Patrol Ski Swap, New Hartford, CT

Nov 5: Gunstock Ski Club Swap, Gilford, NH

Nov 6: Pat’s Peak Ski Team Ski & Snowboard Sale, Henniker, NH

Nov 6: Brunswick Ski Swap, Brunswick, ME

Nov 15-19: Ski Haus Ski Swap, Brewster, NY

Nov 18-19: OMS Ski Swap & Sale, Okemo Mountain, Ludlow, VT

Nov 21-22: Cambridge Rotary Ski Swap & Sale, Jeffersonville, VT

MID ATLANTIC

Oct 1-2 & 8-9: Mt. Pleasant Ski Swap, Cambridge Springs, PA

Oct 7-10: Alpina Ski Swap, White Haven, PA

Oct 10-15: Buckman’s Tent & Ski Swap, All stores, PA

Nov 5: Ski Roundtop Mega Sale, Lewisberry, PA

Nov 25: Wintergreen Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Wintergreen, WV

MIDWEST

Sept 23-25: Buck Hills Ski Swap, Burnsville, MN

Sept 30-Oct 1: Welch Village Fall Ski Swap & Sale, Welch, MN

Sept 30-Oct 1: Granite Peak Ski Swap, Wausau, WI

Oct 1: Harbor Springs Ski Team Ski Swap, Nub’s Nob, MI

Oct 1: Skitoberfest, Boyne Mtn Resort, MI

Oct. 1-2: Wild Mountain Open House & Swap, Wild Mountain, MN

Oct 2-11: Afton Alps Ski Swap, Hastings, MN

Oct 10-16: Boston Mills/Brandywine/Alpine Valley Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Peninsula, OH

Oct 14-15: Mt Kato Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Lake Crystal, MN

Oct 21-22: Giants Ridge Ski Swap, Biwabik, MN

Oct 28-30: Team Duluth Ski Swap, Duluth, MN

Oct 29: Ski Swap at Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, MI

Oct. 29: Chestnut Mountain’s Open House and Ski Swap, Galena, IL

Nov 12: Central Wisconsin Ski & Sport Swap, Stevens Point, WI

WEST

Sept 30-Oct 2: Snowbird Sports Education Foundation Ski & Snowboard Swap, Snowbird, UT

Oct 14-15: Winter Park Ski & Snowboard Swap, Winter Park, CO

Oct 16: Sac State Ski Swap, Sacramento, CA

Oct 21-23: Vail Ski Swap, Vail, CO

Oct 21-23: Sandia Ski Patrol Ski Swap,  Albuquerque, NM

Oct 22: Jackson Hole Ski Club Swap, Jackson, WY

Oct 22-23: Marin Ski & Snowboard Swap, San Rafael, CA

Oct 24: North Tahoe Ski/Sport Swap, North Tahoe, CA

Nov 4-5, Red Lodge Ski Swap, Red Lodge, MT

Nov 5: San Ramon Valley High School Ski & Snowboard Swap, Danville, CA

Nov 5: Truckee Ski and Snowboard Swap, Truckee, CA

Nov 5-6: Bridger Foundation Ski Swap, Bozeman, MT

Nov 7: Hesperus Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Durango, CO

Nov 10-12: Beaver Mountain Ski Swap, Garden City, UT

Nov 11-12: University of Nevada Ski Swap, Reno, NV

Nov 11-12 & 19-20: Helm of Sun Valley’s Ski Swap, San Mateo, CA

Nov 23: Larson’s Ski Swap, Wheat Ridge, CO

Dec 2-4: Ski Dazzle, Los Angeles, CA

PACIFIC NORTHWEST:

Oct 12: Skyliners Winter Sports Swap, Bend, OR

Oct 22: 49° North Ski Swap, Chewelah, WA

Oct 23: Leavenworth Gear & Ski Swap, Leavenworth, WA

Oct 20-23: Corvallis Ski Swap, Coravallis, OR

Oct 27-30: Eugene Ski Swap, Eugene, OR

Oct 29-30: Mt. Spokane Ski Swap, Spokane Valley, WA

Nov 1–2: Tacoma Ski Swap, Tacoma, WA

Nov 2-6: Ski Fever & Snowboard Show’s Ski Swap, Portland, OR

Nov 4-6: Bogus Basin Ski Swap, Boise, ID

Nov 5: Lookout Pass Ski Patrol Swap, Coeur D’Alene, ID

Nov 11-12: Newport Ski Swap, Bellevue, WA

Nov 12: Schweizer Alpine Racing School Ski Swap, Sandpoint, ID

Nov 21-22: Olympia Ski Club Ski Swap, Olympia, WA

CANADA

Oct 13-16: Canada’s Largest Ski & Snowboard Swap, Toronto, ON

Oct 21-23: Calgary Ski Swap and Sale, Calgary, AB



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Goodbye To My Year of Going Without

fireworks

Well, I did it, everyone! I made it through My Year of Going Without!

Some of you know about this already (I wrote about it here). In a nutshell, last November I challenged myself to not buy anything for the next 12 months unless it was an absolute necessity. Essentially, this covered things like clothing, books, shoes, sporting equipment, electrical gear, anything I considered discretionary. Not included: items like food, eating out, hair appointments, toiletries, gym membership, cable and/or internet, phone, and of course, my season lift pass.

Why? First, I just wanted to see whether or not I could do it. I have a friend who went 12 monthstuffed-closet1s without drinking any alcohol, and this seemed like an interesting twist on that. And second, I already had a ton of stuff. And not just ski stuff. I have a closet full of shirts/sweaters/pants/shoes/you name it. My decision was more a reaction to consumerism and a move toward simplification (you have to read this article about the incredible amount of crap we own).  I mean, do we really need five or six ski jackets? Or another fleece when we already have six in the drawer? Probably not. We could definitely all make do with less.

There was an environmental component, too. While buying stuff may be great for the economy, it’s really not that good for the planet. Making stuff to meet growing demand strains our resources and creates all sorts of disposal problems, too. And as someone who loves winter, I want to do what I can to help stop climate change. (See, it all comes back to skiing.)

So in early November, 2014, I stepped off the consumer bandwagon. And I stayed off it for twelve long months.

How’d I do?

Pretty damn good, actually. Yes, I did buy a couple things, but I made exceptions for these going in: a new pair of ski boots, of which I was in dire need (end of season pricing!) and a new helmet (pro deal!) which I also really, really needed. Other than that, nothing.

To be honest, it really wasn’t that hard. I’m not that much of a shopper, anyway. And it’s pretty easy when you live in an area where there aren’t a lot of stores. Oh, sure, there’s always the internet. But I unsubscribed to a lot of the e-commerce sites that used to send me emails. And that made it a bit easier.

Did I learn anything?

Yes. I learned that you really don’t need as much as you think. As I said in the beginning, I already had a lot of stuff. So anything else that I bought would’ve been, well, extra. On a daily basis, I was able to make do with what I had just fine. And strangely enough, knowing that I wasn’t going to buy something didn’t make me desire it more; if anything, it made me desire it less, probably because I knew it wasn’t in the cards. There’s something freeing in that.

I also found that it reinforced something each of us already knows: you can’t rely on things to make you happy. For example, we might think a new sweater will make us more attractive, happier, better able to deal with our lives. But in reality, the good feeling you get is pretty fleeting. Happiness has to come from within. Not buying things tends to bring that home.

Did I miss anything?

Yes — and this surprised me: I found that I missed the actual shopping experience. Many of us don’t shop just because we need to. We shop because it’s fun. It’s a recreational activity, which is something I don’t think I ever really considered. For example, when I visit my parents in Florida, one of the things I always do is go shopping with my mom. Taking away that activity left a bit of a hole, yet it opened the door to other options, too.

Has my life changed, now that My Year of Going Without is over?

Not really. I haven’t gone on a shopping frenzy. Yes, I bought a few things: a new hat, a pair of shoes, a pair of earrings. Recently, I went into a Target and was profoundly struck by how much stuff is packed away in there. The number and variety of items is dizzying. It seemed to clarify that all of us have access to more than we could ever want or need in a million lifetimes. It’s up to us to decide what’s important, what isn’t, and do what makes the most sense for us.

I’m hoping this experience makes me a thoughtful and more deliberate shopper; one who thinks more carefully before handing over my credit card and who asks more questions: Is this something I really need? Will it make a difference in my life? Sometimes we buy things in the heat of the moment just because we want to own them. It’s how we end up with closets full of stuff we never use. And then we’re right back where I started from.

 



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Ski Swaps, 2015.

We’ve done it: we’ve crossed the magic bridge into September. And though it’s not officially fall, everyone knows that with Labor Day in the rear view mirror, summer is over. Which means we’re one step closer to ski season.

It means something else, too: the start of that great annual tradition, the Ski and Snowboard Swap. These are a great way to enjoy new-to-you gear without getting sticker shock.

skiswap

Ski swaps are everywhere: ski resorts, ski clubs, high schools, and colleges often have them. So keep your eyes open; chances are there’s one near you.

To make your search a bit easier, here’s a list of some of the swaps you’ll find in the months ahead:

NORTHEAST

Sept 18-20: Upstate NY Ski and Snowboard Swap, Syracuse, NY

Oct 2-4: Pico Ski Swap, Pico Mountain, VT

Oct 8-12: Wachusett Mountain Ski & Snowboard Swap, Wachusett, MA

Oct 9-11: Killington Ski Club Ski Swap, Killington, VT

Oct 10: Plattepalooza Ski Swap, Plattekill, NY

Oct 10-11: BBTS Ski Swap, Waterville Valley, NH

Oct. 10-12: Ski Butternut Ski Swap, Great Barrington, MA

Oct. 18-19: Bousquet Mountain, Bousquet Lodge, Pittsfield, MA

Oct 23-25: Greek Peak Ski Club Ski Swap, Cortland, NY

Nov 1: Pat’s Peak Ski Team Ski & Snowboard Sale, Henniker, NH

Nov 7: Gunstock Ski Club Swap, Gilford, NH

Nov 8: Brunswick Ski Swap, Brunswick, ME

Nov 21: Cambridge Rotary Ski Swap & Sale, Jeffersonville, VT

Nov 21-23: OMS Ski Swap & Sale, Okemo Mountain, Ludlow, VT

Nov 27-29: Ski Haus Ski Swap, Brewster, NY

Nov 27-28: Stratton Mountain School Ski & Snowboard Sale, Stratton, VT

Nov 28: Down East Ski Club Swap, Portland, ME

MID ATLANTIC

Oct 25: SkiCenter Ski Swap, Washington, DC

Nov 7-8: Ski Roundtop Mega Sale, Lewisberry, PA

MIDWEST

Oct 2-3: Welch Village Fall Ski Swap & Sale, Welch, MN

Oct 2-11: Afton Alps Ski Swap, Hastings, MN

Oct 3: Skitoberfest, Boyne Mtn Resort, MI

Oct. 3-4: Wild Mountain Open House & Swap, Wild Mountain, MN

Oct 12-15: Boston Mills/Brandywine/Alpine Valley Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Peninsula, OH

Oct 18: Snow Snake Ski Swap,  Midland, MI

Oct 23-25: Team Duluth Ski Swap, Duluth, MN

Oct 24: Ski Swap at Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, MI

Oct 25-27: Buck Hills Ski Swap, Burnsville, MN

Oct. 31-Nov 1: Chestnut Mountain’s Open House and Ski Swap, Galena, IL

WEST

Sept 11-13: Team Summit Ski & Snowboard Swap, Breckenridge, CO

Sept 25-27: Snowbird Sports Education Foundation Ski & Snowboard Swap, Snowbird, UT

Oct 9-10: Winter Park Ski & Snowboard Swap, Winter Park, CO

Oct 9: Weber State Outdoor Gear Swap, Ogden, UT

Oct 23: Ski Swap @ 2nd Tracks, Ogden, UT

Oct 23-25: Vail Ski Swap, Vail, CO

Oct 23-25: Sandia Ski Patrol Ski Swap,  Albuquerque, NM

Nov 6-8: Bridger Foundation Ski Swap, Bozeman, MT

Nov 7: Hesperus Ski Patrol Ski Swap, Durango, CO

Nov 8: Truckee Ski Swap, Truckee, CA

Nov 12-14: Beaver Mountain Ski Swap, Garden City, UT

Nov 20-22: UNR Ski & Snowboard Swap, Reno, NV

Dec 4-5: Alta Ski Swap, Alta, UT

PACIFIC NORTHWEST:

Oct 15-18: Corvallis Ski Swap, Coravallis, OR

Oct 23-25: Eugene Ski Swap, Eugene, OR

Oct 24-25: Mountain to Sound Ski Swap, West Seattle, WA

Oct 24: Mission Ridge Ski Team Ski Swap, Wenatchee WA

Oct 31-Nov 1: Yakima Ski Swap, Yakima, WA

Oct 31-Nov 1: Mt. Spokane Ski Swap, Spokane Valley, WA

Nov 1-2: Tacoma Ski Swap, Tacoma, WA

Nov 6-8: Bogus Basin Ski Swap, Boise, ID

Nov. 6-8: Lookout Pass & Silver Mountain Ski Patrols, Coeur d’Alene, ID

Nov. 6-8: Portland SkiFever & Snowboard Show, Portland, OR

CANADA
October 15-18: Canada’s Largest Ski & Snowboard Swap, Toronto, Ontario

Oct 23-25: Calgary Ski Swap and Sale, Calgary, BC

 

 



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My Year of Going Without.

woman-sitting-with-shopping-bags

Before I get started, let me make one thing clear: this is not for everyone. What’s more, I certainly wouldn’t want you to abstain from buying anything from the many companies that advertise on the TheSkiDiva.com. Please, if you want or need something, by all means, click on our advertisers’ ads and buy lots of stuff. It helps support the site.

What I want to talk about here is pretty much the antithesis of the Gear Addiction and Jacket Slut threads we’ve had on forum. Because now that the year is half over, I thought I’d come clean: I made a resolution to not buy anything for myself in 2015.

Why? Well, two reasons: First, I just wanted to see whether or not I could do it. I have a friend who went 12 months without drinking any alcohol, and this seemed like an interesting twist on that. And second, I already have a ton of stuff. And not just ski stuff. I have a closet full of shirts/sweaters/pants/shoes/you name it. My decision is more a reaction to consumerism and a move toward simplification (you have to read this article about the incredible amount of crap we actually own). I mean, do we really need five or six ski jackets? Or that fleece we see on the internet? Probably not. We could definitely all make do with less.

People have asked if this includes things like cable and hair cuts and things like that. No. It’s a not-buy-anything-that-I-don’t-think-is-a-necessity challenge. I’m not trying to do without everything and live like a monk in a cell. I’m just trying to reduce the amount of stuff I accumulate, at least for a year. What does it include? Clothing, shoes, sports equipment (including ski gear, except for ski boots for which I made an exception going in), and any discretionary spending for stuff (like books, jewelry, etc). Not included? Food, eating out, hair appointments, toiletries, gym membership, cable and/or internet, phone, and of course, my season lift pass.

My biggest challenge has been books. I love to read, but our local library isn’t the best, so in the past I’ve had to buy whatever I was interested in. As a solution, I’ve been using the library in my daughter’s town. Even though it’s 4 hours away, they let you take out books for four weeks, so I’m pretty safe since I usually see her once a month. And I can download ebooks online.

Reaction has been funny. My mother is aghast — though I’m not exactly sure why; maybe she thinks I’m depriving myself for no reason  — and other people have said it’s a good idea but they could never do it themselves. To be honest, I think they’d be surprised by how easy it actually is.

Have I been tempted? A bit, but I’m really not a huge shopper, and living where there are few stores and no shopping malls makes it pretty easy not to buy things. The hardest part so far has been avoiding all the end-of-the-season sales in the ski shops and on line.

I’ve had great trepidation about making this public. Manufacturers of ski gear and apparel, whom I strongly support, thrive on selling people the latest and the greatest. There’s a new technology for skis? You gotta have it. Warmer, lighter weight jackets? Oh, baby, I’m all for it.  It’s just that right now, I’m good. So I’m taking some time off.

One more thing: By doing this, I’m not passing judgement on anyone’s decisions to buy whatever they like. This is just something I’m doing for me, because I’m in a place now that makes it possible, both emotionally and materially. Once the year is up, there’s no telling what I’ll do. :smile:

So here we are: six months down, six more to go. Will I make it? Stay tuned. But I’m pretty sure I will.

 



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To buy (on clearance) or not to buy? That is the question.

clearance-tags-sign

So it’s the end (or approaching the end) of ski season, and the ski you’ve been lusting after all year is finally on sale! In fact, alllllllllllllll the skis out there are on sale. At shop after shop, Ski Divas are doing their happy dance. It’s clearance time, and you can save big bucks on the ski of your dreams.

Provided you know what that is.

But what do you do if you need/want new skis, and you’re not sure exactly what to buy? Or if you kinda sorta maybe know what ski you want — I mean, you’ve read all the great reviews and you’ve been leaning toward a particular ski — but you didn’t get around to trying it out on snow? There it is in the shop and the price is phenomenal — but you just. don’t. know. Should you go ahead and pull the trigger? Should you pay your money, even if you’re not entirely sure? What if you ski it and don’t like it? Then again, what if you don’t buy it and then end up paying full price for something nearly identical next season? Like Ulysses, you can hear the sirens singing. Can you resist? Should you?

This is something that is asked all the time on TheSkiDiva.com. And the answer is…….(drum roll here)….there is no right answer.

For some people, the prospect of missing out on a good deal is just too enticing. They’ll buy even if they haven’t demoed and even if they’re not entirely sure the ski involved is 100% right.  They figure they can sell it on eBay or Craig’s List if it doesn’t work out. And if they take a small loss, that’s okay. The potential savings offset the risk.

But then there are those for whom this is just too chancy. They don’t want to invest in a ski unless they’re 100% sure that it’s  right for them. Which is easy to understand. Why shell out your hard earned cash for something you’re not going happy with? Better to buy when you’re completely certain than to settle for something just because it’s cheap.

So there you have it. The way you go is up to you. Me, I’m always up for a good deal, and if I can’t get exactly what I want, most of the time I’m okay with an alternative — if the price is right.

What about you?



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Combo Ski Passes: More Mountain for Your Money

You know it’s spring when you start seeing emails about next year’s season lift passes in your in-box. I’ve received quite a few lately, and I’ve been struck by the many combination deals that are cropping up; you know, the ones where you pay for a pass that’s good at more than one resort. Some of these, like the Epic and Mountain Collective Passes, have been around for a few  years. And some, like the MAX pass, are brand new for next season.

These are great for just about everyone. The resorts get money up-front, as well as loyal customers who’ll spend on peripheral items like food, lessons, and equipment. And skiers can realize big savings, too. In an era when the walk-up window rate can be over $100., you could end up paying for your pass in just a few visits.

Some of the best season pass deals are listed here. Many offer extra savings for buying early, so you may have to move fast to get the best price.

BTW, if you know of any other combo deals, please post them in the Comments section below.

In the West:

listingRocky Mountain Super Pass+: This gives you access to five Colorado resorts and one in New Zealand. It includes unlimited Access to Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain & Eldora Alpine Pass, as well as restricted access to Steamboat, Crested Butte, and Mt. Ruapehu. For a bit less, you can get the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, which gives you unlimited access to Winter Park and Copper, and limited access to Mt. Ruapehu, or the Route 40 pass, which gives you unlimited ski/ride days with a Winter Park Resort season pass and 4 days at Steamboat.

epic-pass-logo2(1)Epic Pass: You have four choices here:

The Epic Pass with unlimited access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, and Arapahoe Basin.

The Epic Local Pass, with unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton & Arapahoe Basin,  10 total restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, and limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood.

The Summit Local Pass, unlimited access to Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, and limited restrictions at Breckenridge.

The Tahoe Local Pass, access with limited restrictions to Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood, and limited restrictions to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone,  Park City, and Arapahoe Basin.

logo_Powder_Alliance copy.jpgPowder Alliance:  Buy an anytime season pass to any of 13 areas and receive three free days at all the rest. Powder Alliance Resorts include Angel Fire Resort, Arizona Snow Bowl, Bridger Bowl, China Bowl,  Crested Butte, Mountain High, Mount Hood Ski Bowl, Schweitzer, Sierra at Tahoe, SilverStar, Snowbasin, Stevens Pass, Timberline.

 

 

d5bbb8e18cf3c3cd310bb2d137955221Mountain Collective Pass: This covers 16 days total at The Collective destinations. You get two days each at Alta/Snowbird, Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Sun Valley, and Whistler Blackcomb. You also get 50% off all additional days at The Collective destinations, and special Mountain Collective lodging deals. Even better, no blackout dates.

 

Ski Utah Silver and Gold Passes: The Ski Utah Silver Pass allows the holder to ski for 30 days at each Utah resort (30 days at Alta, 30 days at Deer Valley, 30 days at Sundance, etc.). The Ski Utah Gold Pass offers 50 days of skiing at each Utah resort; however, the pass is also fully transferable pass so your friends and family can enjoy your same privileges on the days you’re not using the pass.

The Gold Tahoe Super Pass: Worried about buying a season pass and not using it? Here’s one with a  worry-free guarantee.  The Gold Tahoe Super Pass gives credits for unused days that can be put towards the following season. Skiers get unlimited access to Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, plus four additional days at both Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sugar Bowl, as well as 50% off lift tickets at the eight resorts that are part of the Mountain Collective, including Jackson Hole, Alta-Snowbird, and Sun Valley. But if you’re unable to ski at least four days during the upcoming season for any reason (not just poor conditions), you get a $100 credit for each unused day. So if you don’t ski at all, their 2016/17 pass would be discounted by $400.

california-cali4nia-ski-passCali4nia Pass: One pass covers Mammoth, Bear, June, and Snow Summit. There’s a host of benefits when you buy early, including 5 exclusive Early Up events at Mammoth, 5 Bring-A-Friend tickets, 10% off rentals, 10% off retail when you spend more than $100., and up to 20% off lodging at Mammoth Lodging Collection properties.

 

In the East:

 Ski Roundtop/Liberty Mountain/Whitetail Pass: Includes unlimited access to Ski Roundtop, Liberty Mountain, Whitetail Resorts. You also get preferred parking at Roundtop on weekends and holidays until 5PM,  50% off regular class lessons, two snow tubing tickets valid Monday through Thursday non-holiday, one free First Class Learn to Ski or Board Package for a friend, special hotel rates at the Liberty Hotel, and a 15% discount in the sports shops.

superpassWhite Mountain Superpass: Valid every day of the 2015/16 winter season at Bretton Woods, Cannon, Cranmore and Waterville Valley.

 

 

NEPass_logo-bw-180New England Pass: Includes Sunday River, Loon, and Sugarloaf. You also get lodging deals, retail savings, and free or discounted lift ticket at Boyne Resorts’ western mountains including Brighton, UT and Big Sky, MT.

 

UnknownFour.0 College Pass: This is for the full-time college student who wants unrestricted access to Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Killington and Pico at a price that fits a student’s budget. Includes resort-specific benefits.

 

East & West, Combined

MAX_Pass_Logo_highresThe MAX Pass: Brand new for the ’15/’16 sesason, the MAX pass covers 22 mountains throughout North America, with five days at each mountain (110 days total!). In the west, this includes Steamboat, Mount Bachelor,  Big Sky, Winter Park, Copper, Crystal, Brighton, Boreal, Cypress, Las Vegas, and The Summit. In the east, Killington, Pico, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Stratton, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Snowshoe, Boyne, Loon, and Boyne Highlands.

 



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Let’s hear it for the little guy!

I love hearing stuff like this:

LOCAL NH TOWN TO REOPEN ITS SKI HILL

SAM Magazine—Littleton, N.H., Sept. 12, 2013—After being shuttered for more
than 20 years, the Mt. Eustis Ski Tow will reopen to skiers and local school ski
programs after Jan. 1. The town is planning to offer the non-profit Mt. Eustis Ski
Hill Group a three-year lease for $1 a year. Voters approved the plan at a town
meeting last March.The Group plans to run the area, with its one rope tow and two
trails (one lighted) and a gladed area, with volunteers, with costs handled mostly
through donations. The Group is suggesting a $5 donation for each visit, but it’s
not required. The aim is to offer affordable skiing and riding to all, and to provide
a venue for school and local youth ski/ride programs.

As part of the community-wide effort, the automotive technologies students at Littleton High are resurrecting the rope tow’s gas-powered engine. Home Depot is donating a building to serve as the warming hut. Five volunteers will split the duties
of running the tow and slopes, and will be trained in operations, safety, and first aid.
The area will be open in the afternoon Tuesday through Friday and on weekends.

And this:

BIG TUPPER WILL REOPEN THIS WINTER

Adirondack Daily Enterprise -Tupper Lake, NY, September 17, 2013 – As long as
there’s snow in the forecast, people will be able to ski Big Tupper this winter. Jim LaValley, chairman of ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy), announced Monday that Big Tupper Ski Area, which was closed last winter, will be
open for the 2013-14 season. “One of the challenges we looked at last year that made
us decide not to go forward with operating after three seasons was, what if we sold
preseason tickets and we didn’t get the snow?” LaValley said. “It’s really hard to
explain to people that we wouldn’t have the capability of paying them back. We have
enough money in the bank now to mow the trails and wait for the snow.”

Skiers and snowboarders will be able to take to the slopes of Big Tupper Ski Area this winter, Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy announced Monday.
Last year, ARISE sold one of the the ski center’s groomers, which gave the group a
little extra cash. Now, LaValley said, with a little luck and a lot of snow, Big
Tupper could turn a corner financially. To help maximize revenue, the ski center
will be completely volunteer-run this winter. Day passes will cost $25. In the
past, there have been up to four paid employees manning the center’s 25-plus trails.
Although he wouldn’t get into specifics, LaValley said this is just the beginning of
Big Tupper’s role in Tupper Lake.

Why does this warm the cockles of my little heart? And why does it matter to anyone at all?

Once upon a time there were hundreds of small ski areas like this all over the place. Any farmer who had a hilly back pasture could hook a rope up to a tractor motor during the winter, call it a ski run, and be good to go. Yes, agreed, those were simpler times. People’s expectations were lower. Air travel wasn’t as common as it is today. And snowmaking was practically unheard of.

But even in a world with mega-resorts and super-sonic snow guns, there’s still a place for areas like Mt. Eustis and Big Tupper. Little ski hills like these aren’t a Business Venture or Investment Opportunity. They’re not around to sell condos or even ski-and-stay packages. Instead, they’re perfect for newbies who want to learn, for school programs, and for families who want to have some affordable fun. They’re no-frills, know-everyone, no-lift-line kind of places where you don’t have to pay a fortune for a lift ticket. You can send your kids off on their own without any worry. Or you can drop them off after school to take some runs instead of sitting home playing video games.

Sure, you don’t get the terrain and amenities of the big resorts. If you want a high speed lift, restaurants, or trail-side lodging, fuggedaboutit. And if there’s no snow, well, you’re pretty much out of luck. But with lift tickets at some resorts well into nosebleed territory, these places bring them back down to earth.

Power to the people.

I know the economic realities of running a ski area are daunting. But when communities come together to support places like Mt. Eustis and Big Tupper, everyone comes out ahead.

Let’s hope for more of this in the future.

Rope tow in Pinnacle Park, Pittsfield, Maine

 



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Have I got a pass for you!

Getting a season pass used to be a pretty simple affair. Ski a lot at one mountain? No problem. It’ll be X dollars per year. Enjoy.

More recently, however, resorts have gotten smarter. They’ve partnered with one another to offer passes that are good at multiple locations. The result is a win-win for everyone. The resorts get loyal customers who’ll spend on peripheral items like food, lessons, and equipment — all the other things that bring in money. And skiers can realize big savings, too. In an era when the walk-up window rate can be over $100., you could end up paying for your pass in just a few visits.

Some of the best season pass deals are listed below. Many have purchasing deadlines that you can find out by visiting the provided links, so you may have to move fast.

The Mountain Collective Pass:  For $379., you get 2 days each at 12 resorts: Alta/Snowbird, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Whistler-Blackcomb, and Squaw/Alpine Meadows. PLUS 50% off all additional days at these resorts. No black-out days, and 25% off lodging. A pretty sweet deal.

The New England Pass: This is good for the Boyne resorts of Loon, Sugarloaf, Sunday River. Prices range from $459. for the Bronze Pass, which includes non-holiday weekends, to $735 for the Silver, which has 13 blackout dates, all the way up to $1,055 for the Gold, which has no blackout dates. You also get discounts at the Boyne resorts out west.

The Rocky Mountain Super Pass: For $489, you get unlimited skiing at Copper Mountain and Winter Park/Mary Jane, plus 6 days at Steamboat and 3 days at Monarch. For $419., you get unlimited skiing at Copper and Winter Park/Mary Jane.

Epic Pass: $689. buys you unlimited skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Arapahoe Basin, and Eldora. No blackouts. It also includes 5 free days at Verbier, Switzerland and 5 free consecutive days at Arlberg, Austria. Move on this one; you only have til September 2.

Epic Local Pass: A subset of the Epic Pass,this gives you unlimited, unrestricted skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Arapahoe Basin with limited restrictions at Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar & Kirkwood. Also includes a total of 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek with holiday restrictions. All this deliciousness for only  $529.

Tahoe Local Pass: Another subset of the Epic Pass, offering unlimited skiing or riding at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood 7 days a week, with limited holiday restrictions, for $439.

The Summit Value Pass: Yep, another subset, with unlimited skiing or riding at Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with restrictions at Breckenridge.

Big Cottonwood Pass: A joint offering by Brighton and Solitude that offers unlimited skiing at both resorts with no blackout dates. $999.

Powder Alliance: Buy a pass at any one of the following resorts and get 3 full days of skiing at all the rest (that’s 33 extra tickets!): Angel Fire, Arizona Snow Bowl, Bridger Bowl, China Peak, Crested Butte, Mountain High, Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, Schweitzer, Sierra at Tahoe, Snowbasin, Stevens, and Timberline. Imagine the Ski Safari possibilities!

Ski and Ride NY: This covers multiple ski areas throughout New York State. There are no black out dates, it’s transferrable to family and friends, and you can use it holidays and weekends. It’s a bit pricey ($1100!) and there’s a limited supply left. Go here for more info.

White Mountain Superpass: Good for Bretton Woods, Cranmore, Cannon, and Waterville Valley. I’m not sure if this is still available or not  — the web site only lists prices through May 31, 2013 — but back then it ran $949.

4.0 College Pass: Skiers in Vermont (like me) are thirsting for some sort of collective pass, and this here’s a good one.  Unfortunately,  it’s for undergrad college students only. I hope they’ll change this next year. Which is why it’s included here (Do you hear me, Okemo & Killington?). Anyway, it works like this: Ski Killington, Okemo, Pico, and Sunapee for $369. As I said, for college students only. Too bad.

Having a season pass is a great thing. Only want to ski an hour? No sweat. Decide to quit early?  Go ahead. You don’t feel like you’ve blown a hundred bucks. Another thing: many season passes offer lots of great discounts for food, retail, lodging, and so on. So you can save in other ways, too.

Go forth and buy.

 

 



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