Minnesota Ski & Snowboard Expo offers activities, discounted lift tickets

Want to get another look at the upcoming season for skiing and snowboarding?The Minnesota Minnesota Ski & Snowboard Expo comes to the Mall of America on Friday, October 19th through Sunday, October 21st, 2012.

At the show, you will be able to talk with representatives of several Twin Cities-based ski areas: Afton Alps, Buck Hill, Hyland Hills, Welch Village, and Wild Mountain. In addition, three ski areas from Greater Minnesota will be on hand: Giant’s Ridge, Lutsen Mountains, and Mt. Kato. There will also be a small selection of resorts from the western U.S., including Big Sky, Jackson Hole, and Steamboat.

Hard gear companies represented will include Rossignol and Volkl. Ramp, a relatively unknown company that makes its own skis and boards, will be there, too.

As a bonus, you can save some dough on lift tickets and season passes. The particulars vary, so read on for more.

Wild Mountain will be selling 5-packs of evening lift tickets for $100. You’ll benefit in two ways. The most obvious is that the tickets are cheaper ($20 each, versus the usual rate of $31). A less obvious benefit is that for these tickets, the “night” rate starts at 2 p.m., earlier than usual.

Afton Alps will also be selling packs of 5 lift tickets for $140, or an average of $28 per person. According to a representative of Afton, these tickets have no restrictions, are transferable, and are good for up to three years. You can’t buy them online or at the ticket window, so get them at the show. They represent a modest savings from the weekday rate of $33, but a 35 percent discount from the weekend and holiday rate of $43.

Welch Village will have presentations on the PMTS Direct Parallel method of ski instruction. Welch has recently obtained a license to use this method, which was developed by Harald Harb.

If you’ve thought of buying a season pass at Welch, you’re in luck. The “Last Chance Season Pass specials” will save you some money. The individual season pass will be on sale for $279, or $20 off the current price. Family and quad passes will be $50 off the current price, or $949 and $849, respectively.

Hyland Hills will also sell 5-packs of tickets. They go for $120.00, which is a $35.00 savings. A spokesman for the ski area says that it’s “basically 5 tickets for the price of 4.”

Trollhaugen will be offering a package of discounted lift tickets, though details were not yuet available.

Buck Hill will have a booth at the show, but will not be offering any discounts.

A mall-based ski show doesn’t have the same vibe as an at-the-hill swap or fall festival, but it’s still a good way to gather some information, talk with like-minded people, and anticipate the excitement of snowboarding and skiing.

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