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Here are more than 100 ski resorts where seniors ski free

Oct. 31, 2020
9 min read
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The post-World War II baby boom is swelling the ranks of senior citizens in the U.S. Citizens over the age of 65 will make up 20% of the nation's population within a decade.

But reaching a golden age doesn't mean that senior skiers have to stay home and pack away their equipment. The ski industry in the United States is certainly not writing off the enthusiasts who helped build and sustain their business for the last 50 years. Rather, they are encouraging them to stay on the slopes by reducing lift ticket prices for seniors.

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(Photo courtesy of Grandpa Points/The Points Guy)

There seem to be multiple reasons for this trend. Lower prices can be, in part, a recognition that most senior citizens are well past their prime earning years and highest income levels.

Reduced ticket rates can also be an acknowledgment of the support seniors offered the ski industry in their previous decades. And lift ticket deals for seniors can simply be an incentive to keep skiing or good PR based on the hope that the senior skier is accompanied by generations of family members. If you go that route, here are places where kids can ski free.

Related: 6 mistakes to avoid when planning a ski trip

(Photo courtesy of Grandpa Points/The Points Guy)

Lift ticket price breaks start as early as 60 years of age, but most seem to kick in starting at 65. Financial savings can vary from just $5 off to a $50 discount or more.

Related: Tips for skiing after 70

Free skiing for seniors

There are deals, however, that go all the way to free lift tickets for seniors. We combed the web (and even made a few calls on a real landline) to find as many places as possible within the U.S. that offer free skiing for seniors.

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Some are hills with single Poma lifts and just a few hundred feet of total vertical on a couple of runs, but there are also major resorts with hundreds of runs and thousands of feet of vertical served by dozens of lifts including high-speed quads, gondolas and magic carpets.

We found ski resorts in 26 of the 50 states -- including Alabama! Of those, here are 115 mountains, hills and resorts that offer free lift tickets for seniors, usually beginning at age 70, though some hold out for octagenarians and a few optimistically start their "free" skiing at the ripe young age of 90.

Related: Ski free with your airline boarding pass

(Photo courtesy of Grandpa Points/The Points Guy)

COVID-19 impacts

All of that said, unless you are on a secret mission to Mars or you are reenacting Rip Van Winkle’s sleep, then you are fully aware that life on our beautiful planet has been dramatically altered in this year of 2020.

Virtually everything is different than it was pre-pandemic and normalcy is still a very elusive goal. Like most other facets of life, the ski industry quickly shut down last spring well before its originally scheduled closing date. Since then, the ski industry has been hard at work finding the best and safest path to getting the lifts running and skiers turning on the approaching winter snow.

While each ski resort is approaching COVID-19 adjustments in its own way, some common themes involve mandatory face coverings, distancing in lines and while indoors, reduced capacity on each lift or gondola and reliance on advance ticket purchases or even advance ski reservations. Cash transactions and day-of lift ticket sales will become an even more rare occurrence.

Ski areas will largely continue their own policies for “Seniors Ski Free” but with a few more caveats than usual. While the skier may qualify for the specific age requirement, the new world order may require adjustments for advanced planning and reducing touchpoints. Many resorts are suggesting age-appropriate seniors seek out their season passes to provide the most “hassle-free” avenue to the slopes in this transitional year. While the skiing will still be free, there is likely to be a one-time registration fee attached to the season passes with fees ranging from $5 to $50.

We have done our best to update the list below, but highly recommend that you follow-up with your preferred mountain for their specific suggestions, policies and updates that may still be evolving this season.

Related: What to know if you are skiing at a Vail Resort this year

Where seniors ski for free

StateResortAge Requirement
AlaskaArctic Valley
Moose Mt.
AlaskaHill Top80+
ArizonaArizona Snow Bowl

Mount Lemmon

CaliforniaMountain High

Snow Valley

CaliforniaBear Mt., June Mt., Mammoth

Snow Summit

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows

CaliforniaDodge Ridge82+
CaliforniaAlta Sierra90+
ColoradoSki Hesperus70+
ColoradoCooper Purgatory Sunlight    Wolf Creek  Telluride80+
IdahoBald Mt.70+
Maine Titcomb70+
MaineBig Rock Black Mt.

Big Squaw

MaineMt. Abram Sugarloaf  Sunday River80+
MarylandWisp Ski Resort70+ plus $5.00 process fee
MassachusettsOtis Ridge70+
MassachusettsBerkshire East80+
MichiganMt. Holiday65+
MichiganNubs Nob Snow Snake  Homestead70+
MichiganPine Mt.
Big Powderhorn
MichiganBoyne Highlands Boyne Mt., Crystal Mt .80+
MontanaBear Paw  Bridger Bowl80+
NevadaDiamond Peak80+
New HampshireCannon Mt.  McIntyre65+  ( Cannon Mt.- state residents only and only on weekdays )
New HampshireGunstock70+
New HampshireBretton Woods, Dartmouth Skyway,  King Pine, Loon Mt., Ragged Mt., Tenney Mt.  Watersville Valley80+
New JerseyMountain Creek72+
New MexicoCloudcroft    Red River*    Ski Apache.70+                                                                                                                                            ( Red River appears to be charging $5 -$10 for 70+ to ski )
New MexicoSandia Peak Santa Fe72+
New MexicoPajarito  Angel Fire    Sipapu75+
New MexicoTaos80+
New YorkMaple Ski Ridge, McCauley  Mt. Peter  Oak Mt.70+
New YorkSwain75+
New YorkCatamount Toggenburg80+
North CarolinaWolf Ridge65+
North CarolinaCataloochee Ski Beech  Sugar Mt.70+
OregonAnthony Lakes Cooper Spur  Mt. Ashland70+
OregonMt. Hood SkiBowl, Summit Ski Timberline71+
OregonMt. Hood Meadows75+
PennsylvaniaBear Creek Blue Mt Shawnee Mt., Ski Sawmill Spring Mt.70+
PennsylvaniaHidden Valley Laurel Mt.  Seven Springs80+
South DakotaTerry Peak70+
TennesseeOber Gatlinburg70+
UtahNordic Valley  Powder Mt.75+
VermontKillington  Pico Mt.80+
WashingtonWhite Pass73+
WashingtonCrystal Mt.    Mt. Spokane  49 Degrees N80+
WashingtonStevens Pass90+
West VirginiaCanaan Valley70+
WisconsinGranite Peak80+

Related: Best credit cards to use on ski trips

(Photo courtesy of Grandpa Points/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

If you're headed to one of the mountains on this list, double-check before making travel plans based on free senior lift tickets. If you're eligible, you'll likely need to complete some steps in advance of heading to the slopes.

But if you're healthy, willing and able to take advantage of a free-skiing offer, a reduced rate or, Jack Frost forbid, a full fare -- put your smile on and enjoy the day!

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Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.