Save money on snowboarding by buying a season pass

No doubt about it, snowboarding can be expensive. You will need to buy (or rent) snowboards, bindings, and boots, not to mention weather-appropriate clothing and lift tickets. But there’s one sure way you can save money on lift tickets: Buy a season pass. While you may some initial sticker shock, you’ll find that the savings do kick in.

Here are some prices for ski areas within easy driving distance of the Twin Cities. Prices are for adults. Children and seniors may obtain discounts.

These numbers represent the highest rates that each area charges for a season pass. All offer discounts for buying early. Some offer family discounts, discounts for unrelated people who come together to buy several passes at one time, for college students, or passes that are good for only certain days of the week or times of day.

Whether a pass works out for you depends on how many times you visit the ski area, and when you go. If you plan to go only a few days during the season, during the week, a pass may not be for you. If you’d like to go every weekend, then a pass is probably your best bet.

For example, an all-day adult ticket at Wild Mountain costs $43. At that rate, you can “ride for free” after your ninth visit. On the other hand, the situation is a bit more complicated at Afton Alps, which has different rates for weekends ($43) and week days ($33), meaning that ride free after either 11 weekend days or 14 week days. Again, doing the math is a good idea.

The downside of a season pass, of course, is that you are locked into one area. If you have a pass at Wild Mountain but you would like to join up with some friends for an afternoon at Hyland Hills, you’ll have to buy a day pass at Hyland. But in exchange for that concession, you can spend just a few hours at your chosen resort, and not feel as if you’ve wasted your money. Sometimes, all you need is a few hours on the snow, making the $50 lift ticket that much more expensive.

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