Had a great day skiing bumps on "The Rumor" at Gore Mtn. with my son on Saturday (4/9). Got a nice tan (slight burn) too. Gore expects to open next Fri/Sat/Sun for a "last Hurrah."
As always occurs at this time of year, I've been checking out the "deals" offered if you purchase early season passes at nearby ski areas. I'm looking for a family of 3, with a 10 y.o., I will not drive South (toward NYC/NJ) to ski, and the drive needs to be less than 3 hours each way.
Here's what I found at the resorts I might reasonably consider:
Killington/Pico (I assume the Killington pass is also valid at Pico--I didn't check) is $1050/adult for a full season pass, and I would have to pay an additional $700 for my son. Grand total = $2800
The only option would be to get the blackout pass (18 days--ouch) at $730/adult for me and my wife. Alternate grand total = $2160.
Killington appears to be the most expensive option.
Sugarbush has a couple of options that might appeal to me. Full adult season pass is $1050/adult. But, for each paid adult, one kid 12 or under skis free (same is true for all Sugarbush season passes). Grand total $2100.
Mt. Ellen Plus Pass is $750/adult (the plus part is early and late season skiing all over the resort, plus five days I can use any time to venture off Mt. Ellen). However, the better season-long kids ski programs at Sugarbush all require an all-mountain pass, so we would probably have to consider getting at least one of those. Grand total $1500 or $1800 if we got one Mt. Ellen + and one full season pass.
Sugarbush should consider permitting parents to upgrade their kids' "free" Mt. Ellen and Mt. Ellen +
passes to all-mountain for an additional fee of $100 or $150.
Mount Snow appears to be offering the best deal for adults w/o kids. Classic Pass with 11 blackout dates (but 5 pre-loaded free tickets that will permit you to ski on blackout days) is $600/adult. But, there is no discounted kids pass (must pay full adult rate for kids), so Grand total $1800.
Whiteface/Gore (valid at both locations) full season pass is $720/adult and $300 for my son. Grand total $1740. We've had season passes at Gore/Whiteface for 3 seasons now (next year would be 4), so a change would be nice, but probably isn't in the cards.
Pico (only) full season pass is $320/adult and $220/child. Grand total $860. It looks like a great deal if the terrain is good (I've never skied at Pico). However, Pico does not appear to offer a season-long learning program for kids (big minus).
Interesting options--the Sunday Ticket that Okemo, Stratton and Mt. Snow all offer looks like a good deal. Stratton's is $250 each ($750 total), Mt. Snow $300 each ($900 total) and Okemo $320 each ($960 total). We would have to pick up tickets for holiday skiing elsewhere, probably by taking advantage of MRG Mad Cards and similar products. Another alternative might be Magic Mountain season passes. Magic has not posted its prices for next year yet.
End result--I'm jealous as heck of the deals folks get out West and I'm gonna have to find out what people think of Pico.