116 ski resorts where seniors can ski free
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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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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.
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.
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 27 of the 50 states — including Alabama! Of those, here are 116 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.
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.
Where seniors ski for free
|Arizona||Arizona Snow Bowl
|California||Bear Mt., June Mt., Mammoth
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows
|Colorado||Cooper Purgatory Sunlight Wolf Creek Telluride||80+|
|Maine||Big Rock Black Mt.
|Maine||Mt. Abram Sugarloaf Sunday River||80+|
|Maryland||Wisp Ski Resort||70+ plus $5.00 process fee|
|Michigan||Nubs Nob Snow Snake Homestead||70+|
|Michigan||Boyne Highlands Boyne Mt., Crystal Mt .||80+|
|Montana||Bear Paw Bridger Bowl||80+|
|New Hampshire||Cannon Mt. McIntyre||65+ ( Cannon Mt.- state residents only and only on weekdays )|
|New Hampshire||Bretton Woods, Dartmouth Skyway, King Pine, Loon Mt., Ragged Mt., Tenney Mt. Watersville Valley||80+|
|New Jersey||Mountain Creek||72+|
|New Mexico||Cloudcroft Red River* Ski Apache.||70+ ( Red River appears to be charging $5 -$10 for 70+ to ski )|
|New Mexico||Sandia Peak Santa Fe||72+|
|New Mexico||Pajarito Angel Fire Sipapu||75+|
|New York||Maple Ski Ridge, McCauley Mt. Peter Oak Mt.||70+|
|New York||Catamount Toggenburg||80+|
|North Carolina||Wolf Ridge||65+|
|North Carolina||Cataloochee Ski Beech Sugar Mt.||70+|
|Oregon||Anthony Lakes Cooper Spur Mt. Ashland||70+|
|Oregon||Mt. Hood SkiBowl, Summit Ski Timberline||71+|
|Oregon||Mt. Hood Meadows||75+|
|Pennsylvania||Bear Creek Blue Mt Shawnee Mt., Ski Sawmill Spring Mt.||70+|
|Pennsylvania||Hidden Valley Laurel Mt. Seven Springs||80+|
|South Dakota||Terry Peak||70+|
|Utah||Nordic Valley Powder Mt.||75+|
|Vermont||Killington Pico Mt.||80+|
|Washington||Crystal Mt. Mt. Spokane 49 Degrees N||80+|
|West Virginia||Canaan Valley||70+|
|Wyoming||Hogadon Jackson Hole Snowy Range||70+|
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 Andre Schoenherr/Getty Images
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