I moved to Colorado from my comfy roots in Pennsylvania for one reason and one reason only--the snow.  I've been in love with skiing since I was a kid, and after I had a taste of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, it wasn't long until I was a resident. So, I came for the skiing and I stayed for the career and people.

Sometimes though, I have to admit that I am stunned by the amount of Front Rangers that see skiing or snowboarding in the Rockies as out of their reach. If you have no interest, that's fine. But if you aren't skiing or riding because you feel it is TOO expensive, there are ways to save money on these activities.

Granted, it takes some resources and time, but folks...IT IS SO WORTH IT!! Skiing and snowboarding at a Rocky Mountain Resort means you must endure being carried through Colorado State or National Forest in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. You are in the postcard. When you get off the lift, you can choose from every level of difficulty, or you can go in the lodge, grab a hot drink and just look at the scenery. If you are a thrill seeker of any color, it is so much fun that it can be dangerous.

"But the prices are so high!!" you kvetch. I know. It's also the most fun one can have without a jet backpack. It's going to cost something. Just don't make it cost full price! I have yet to pay the $104 for Breck or the reported $108 for Vail, but I do pay them money, happily. For the price, you get unlimited rides all day, plus they've scouted the conditions and have determined them safe. If

something does happen to you they have trained emergency personnel ready to help. I am a fun expert and I'm obsessed with value, and I attest that if you can get away with paying between $30 and $85 for a day on the slopes, that is as good as you can do. For what you can take away from the day, it is well worth it.

So, here are a couple of ways that I save money and still enjoy the amazing Colorado resorts.

  1. Buy a pass. Compared to buying daily tickets, you'll pay for it in as little as 5 days of skiing and riding. Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, A-Basin are owned by Vail Resorts. Winter Park, Mary Jane, Copper Mountain and Steamboat team up for the Rocky Mountain SuperPass. All the resorts offer money saving passes.
  2. Have a 'Buddy' with a pass. Vail Resorts passholders, depending on how early they bought and how much they paid, have numerous great discounts. I skied Breckenridge and Keystone for under $60 this year on my buddy's Colorado Pass.
  3. Check out Loveland. It's the closest to us (can be on the hill in 2 hours flat), and their prices are always great! Loveland is amazing and has some of North America's highest chairlift rides. It had the highest until Breckenridge recently installed the Imperial Express. (see also Ski Cooper near Leadville, Monarch past Buena Vista and Eldora, just west of Boulder. Smaller areas, better prices.)
  4. Keep your eyes open! There are deals all over the place. Shell gas stations are offering 2 for 1's at Copper/Winter Park when you buy 10 gallons of gas. Wells Fargo offers a student discount when you open an account with them every year. There are ways. Just keep your eyes up and your head on a swivel.

So, I'm not claiming that it is cheap. I'm simply claiming that it is worth the money if you are into incredible thrills, wide open spaces, beautiful forest and world class scenery. I would liken it to being in Egypt without seeing the Pyramids. Or being from DC but never seeing the Lincoln or Washington Memorial. People come from all over the world to enjoy this, and it is right at our doorstep! Life is good!