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Winter is here: How to ski for free by showing this airline’s boarding pass

Jan. 18, 2022
7 min read
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Despite a slow start, wintery weather all over the country means ski season is well underway. Over the weekend, for example, some parts of the Northeast received well over 2 feet of snow, courtesy of Snowstorm Izzy.

But if you're chasing fresh powder, you probably know that weather is just one hurdle: Planning a ski trip can also be really expensive.

Although you can often offset the costs of hotels and flights by using points and miles, lift ticket prices can add up, especially when multiplied by the number of people in your family.

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Fortunately, there are a few mountains that will actually let you ski for free simply by showing your airline boarding pass — in partnership with Alaska Airlines.

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(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.)

Some mountains give you a complimentary lift ticket for the afternoon you arrive, while others are for the morning you depart. There are even some mountains that will give you a free lift ticket for any day of your vacation, regardless of your arrival or departure date. This is an amazing way to help offset the cost of your lift tickets since there is no better way to ski than for free.

Here are all the resorts that currently allow you to ski for free, simply by showing your boarding pass:

Alaska

Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Visit Alaska)

Alyeska Resort

Alyeska Resort is only 40 miles from Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport (ANC), where Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Spokane, Washington. All you have to do is show your Alaska Airlines paper boarding pass at any resort ticket office and you can ski the remaining part of the day you arrive for free. This offer is only valid Monday through Friday between Jan. 4 and April 22, 2022. Blackout dates are Jan. 17, Feb. 21 and March 1 to 11 this year.

Related: Alyeska Resort review

Eaglecrest

Only 15 minutes from downtown Juneau, Eaglecrest will give a free same-day lift ticket to those flying into the Juneau airport (JNU) that morning on Alaska Airlines. If you are coming by boat on the Alaska Marine Highway System or by seaplane on Alaska Seaplanes, this promotion applies to you as well. You are also limited to three redemptions per person per winter season.

For subsequent days, or for those who are driving to the area, the most expensive lift ticket is only $62, so you are still looking at a relatively economical ski vacation.

Related: These are the best times to visit Alaska

Canada

Ski Marmot Basin

Ski Marmot Basin has two different promotions for travelers flying on Alaska Airlines for their ski vacation. When you show either your boarding pass or itinerary at the Ski Marmot Basin guest services desk, you can select from either a free full-day lift ticket or a three-consecutive-day lift ticket for the price of a two-day lift ticket. The best part about this offer is that the free day doesn’t have to be used the same day you fly in, which makes sense since the airport is more than four hours away. The complimentary lift ticket just must be redeemed within 21 days of your travel through Calgary Airport (YYC). This offer is valid through April 30, 2023.

Red Mountain Resort

Travelers flying Alaska Airlines into Spokane Airport (GEG) through April 4, 2022, will receive one complimentary lift ticket to Red Mountain Resort. The lift ticket can then be redeemed during any day of this ski year, which is more flexible than most similar ski-free programs. To be eligible for the promotion, you must fly into Spokane Airport (approximately a 2.5-hour drive to Red Mountain) and not other nearby airports within Canada.

Colorado

(Photo courtesy of Steamboat Springs)

Steamboat Ski Resort

When flying Alaska Airlines, you can fly nonstop to Steamboat Springs (HDN) from Seattle or San Diego. Passengers on these flights will receive a free day of skiing on their departure date at Steamboat Ski Resort by showing their boarding pass to any ticket office. Fortunately, there are no date restrictions, so this is a great opportunity to get a few runs in — for free — before your flight takes off.

Related: 5 reasons to ski at Steamboat Springs this year

Idaho

Bogus Basin

With many flights into Boise (BOI), it's easy to hit the slopes of Bogus Basin after an early morning flight. Just show your Alaska Airlines boarding pass and ID at the Simplot Lodge ticket window, and you’ll receive a complimentary lift ticket to ski for the rest of the day. This offer is valid every day of the week, although there are a decent amount of blackout dates: Saturdays and Sundays before 3 p.m., and Feb. 19 to 21, 2022.

Schweitzer

For flights into Spokane International Airport (GEG) on Alaska Airlines only, you can ski Schweitzer for the rest of the day for free. The mountain is approximately 90 minutes away and offers nonstop flights from Boise, Portland, San Diego and Seattle. Take this promotion into account when comparing different flight options between airlines, since there are many other U.S. carriers that fly into Spokane.

Montana

Red Lodge Mountain

Instead of skiing for free the day you arrive, Red Lodge Mountain will give you a free lift ticket to ski the day of your departure. All you have to do is show your Alaska Airlines boarding pass at any ticket window and you can enjoy a few runs before heading off to the airport. On Alaska Airlines, you can fly nonstop from Seattle and Portland to the Billings-Logan International Aiport (BIL) in Montana, which is about 90 minutes from the mountain.

Bottom line

When you are flying into any of these mountain airports, hang on to your paper boarding pass to leverage a variety of promotions. Maybe even print out multiple copies just in case. Although many mountains have done away with their ski-free programs over the past few years, there are still a decent number of resorts offering deals.

Are you planning a family ski vacation? Here are some more resources:

Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner.

Featured image by Skiing at Whistler (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
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.

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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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