Act now for ski pass deals | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Act now for ski pass deals

Susan Wood

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Time is running out on early bird rates for ski area season passes.

It pays to be an early bird. And for those who are already thinking about riding the bumps, jumps and groomed runs of Tahoe-area ski resorts, time is running out to save on ski passes for next season.

Deadlines for lower rates on at least two areas on the South Shore are fast approaching. With lift tickets hovering at or surpassing $60, it can take only five visits before a skier or boarder can redeem the cost of the season pass.

The pass rates are going up at Sierra-at-Tahoe on Sept. 30. Kirkwood will raise its season passes by $20 after Tuesday. Heavenly Mountain Resort had already hiked its prices on June 23.

These days, ski areas operate on the notion that skiers and boarders buy discounted passes to more than one resort because prices have been cut in half at many resorts in the last five years. A few years ago, a pass war reduced the prices even more, prompting an overflow situation in Sierra-at-Tahoe’s parking lots and crowding Heavenly slopes.

Now the spirit of cooperation has the ski areas working together.

“It’s easier to have two passes – at least it is to locals,” Kirkwood spokeswoman Tracy Miller said. “Our competition really isn’t each other anymore. As a destination resort, it’s Utah. So the revitalization of the South Shore has done a lot.”

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Sierra-at-Tahoe spokeswoman Nicole Belt agreed.

“I definitely see this as a trend. That’s one reason we look at (our) variety by offering two resorts at a really low price,” she said.

The riders have rewarded the resorts when they have the snow.

Buoyed by a snowpack averaging 130 percent of average last season, Lake Tahoe resorts aligned with the state in enjoying a record ski year.

California raked in 8.1 million skier visits, topping 7.6 million set in the 1997-98 season. Skier visits are defined in ticket sales. Heavenly’s 586,000 visits showed a a 17.7 percent increase, while

“We still have snow up there,” Miller said.

Season passes

Heavenly Mountain Resort

— Adult Regular (Minus holidays) – $319

— Adult Midweek – $249

— Adult Unlimited – $518

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

— Adult Regular – $299

— Adult Midweek – $199

— Adult Unlimited – $399

Sierra-at-Tahoe

— Value Double Whammy (Sierra and Northstar, Sunday through Friday) – $299

— Unrestricted Double Whammy – $689

— Unrestricted young adult Double Whammy – $389