Budget ski vacations in Colorado

Winter Activities in ColoradoColorado Ski Vacations Don’t Have to Break the Bank

Skiing in Colorado isn’t always cheap, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are many free activities and services at Colorado’s favorite ski resorts. You just have to know what you’re looking for. Here’s a list of some of the best free activities at Colorado ski resorts.

Arapahoe Basin

Rail Jams –

Reflecting its commitment to enhancing the experience of freestyle skiers and riders, Arapahoe Basin will host rail jams throughout the 2011/12 season. In May, rail jams will be held every Saturday in the Treeline Terrain Park. Registration and attendance are free.

Spring Splash

– Don’t miss Arapahoe Basin’s annual Spring Splash competition at Lake Reveal. Lake Reveal is a natural lake that forms to the side of Dercum’s Gulch trail. Participants who successfully ski or snowboard across the lake will win free prizes. Categories include best costume, best trick, best dunk, best run and many more. Registration is free.

May Concert Series – Every Saturday in May A-Basin will heat things up with free live entertainment in the base area. Guests are invited to head down to the party after the free rail jam.


First Tracks – Guests who sign up with First Tracks at Aspen/Snowmass will be on the slopes before the lifts start running, meaning they’ll get to enjoy untracked powder and pristine groomers. To make sure they’re first on the mountain, all guests have to do is call and reserve a spot the night before. Of course, they will still need a lift ticket. For reservations, call 970-923-0560 (Snowmass) or 970-925-1220 x3543 (Aspen Mountain).

Mountain Tours – Ambassadors at Aspen/Snowmass provide free tours twice daily on all fourmountains. The ambassadors share a wealth of knowledge about the mountains, the resorts, and the surrounding town.

Coffee & Hot Cider – Before they make their first turns, skiers and riders can grab a cup of Green Mountain Coffee at the base of any of the four mountains – compliments of the house. Once they’re out on the slopes, guests can stop at the top of the lift to enjoy a free cup of hot cider.

Free concerts, sponsored by Bud Light, are held once a month throughout the season and are scheduled to coincide with key events and peak weekends. Past performers include Blues Traveler, Ozomatli, Everclear, English Beat, The Gin Blossoms, The Vandals and DJate and The Rockers.

Sing-A-Longs and Storytelling – Guests in search of good old family fun should check out the free Sing-A-Longs and Storytelling sessions at Pokolodi Lodge in Snowmass. Sing-A-Longs by the Campfire happen every Monday evening from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. throughout the winter. Storytelling by the Campfire occurs at the same time on Wednesdays. Guests will get to roast marshmallows, drink hot chocolate, and enjoy a true Colorado experience.

Copper Mountain

Tucker Mountain Cat Skiing – Copper Mountain offers free snowcat rides to legendary Tucker Mountain, where guests have access to more than 273 acres and 1,200 vertical feet of terrain in a high alpine bowl. Cats run from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on select days, departing from the base of the Mountain Chief lift.

Kids’ Night Out – Kids’ Night Out is a free childcare service offered to parents at Copper Mountain Resort. Parents are eligible for the free service when they spend $30 per child at any commercial outlet within the resort during the hours that children are in the program. The service is offered from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Kids will enjoy pizza, crafts, movies and a variety of fun activities. Parents should make reservations 48 hours in advance.

Redfeather Snowshoe Tours – Copper Mountain offers free snowshoeing tours daily. Resort Ambassadors help guests discover the beauty of the area’s snow-covered meadows and pine and spruce forests. Redfeather Snowshoes and touring poles are provided free of charge.

Ice Skating – Guests who bring their own skates can take a whirl around the beautiful West Lake located in The Village at Copper for free. Guests without skates can try their hand at Curling or play a game of Broomball. Skate rentals are on West Lake at Chubs.

Crested Butte

Guided Mountain Tours – For guests who prefer to do their exploring with the help of an expert guide, Crested Butte offers two free mountain tours every day. Guests will ski or ride with a guide who will introduce them to the mountain and help orient them to hot spots for powder, groomers, and warm beverages.

Cookies and Cocoa – On the weekends and during the holidays, the resort bakers whip up fresh, homemade shortbread cookies and cocoa. Guests can help themselves to the treats at any of the guest service tables at the base area.

Echo Mountain

Kids Ski Free – Echo Mountain wants to help parents pass on their love of skiing and riding to the next generation. Lift tickets for children age five and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Seniors Ski Free – Skiers and riders who have put in their time on the mountain and off will be rewarded at Echo Mountain. Lift tickets are free for guests ages 75 and over.

Free Ski Days – Echo Mountain season pass holders can take advantage of three free days when they visit Sunlight and Ski Cooper with their Echo Mountain season pass.


Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing – Season Pass holders at Eldora can get in on Colorado’s best-kept cross-country, skate skiing and snowshoeing secret. Season Pass holders enjoy free access to Eldora’s Nordic Center and Eldora’s extensive network of trails. The trails, 40 kilometers in all, start just a few steps from the ski lifts and meander through serene forests, across expansive alpine meadows, and past dramatic mountain backdrops. Eldora Nordic Center offers complete rental packages, lessons and clinics.

Movies and Crayons – The Children’s Center at Eldora is dedicated to providing kids with the skiing and snowboarding skills necessary to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the mountains. But the Children’s Center also knows that sometimes kids need a break from the hill. For children who are feeling sick or sad, or who just need some time in out of the cold, the Children’s Center keeps a collection of movies and crayons on hand – come inside, warm up, watch a movie, draw a picture, or just take a nap. There’s no charge.


Free Helmets – Loveland’s Ski & Ride School features an expert staff of instructors who are dedicated to teaching young children to ski and ride in a positive and encouraging environment. To ensure safety, helmets are provided free of charge with all children’s lesson packages.

Kids Ski Free – In order to make sure that every little skier and rider has the chance to fall in love with Loveland, Loveland Ski Area offers free lift tickets to children five and under.

Beginners Ski Free – For guests who have never tried skiing or riding before, Loveland has the perfect deal. Guests who purchase a 3-Class Pass from Loveland’s Ski & Ride School will receive a free season pass that will allow them to work on their turns all season long.

Child Entertainment – Join Loveland as it hosts a variety of children’s entertainment on select weekends throughout the season. Acts range from magicians to storytellers to musicians and are a perfect way to follow up a day of skiing with the family.


Kids Ski Free – Monarch Mountain is a great place for families to ski and ride together. It helps that lift tickets are free for children six and under.

Seniors Ski Free – Monarch Mountain offers free lift tickets to skiers and riders ages 69 and over.

Free Lift Tickets for Gems Cardholders – Monarch Mountain is recognized by Colorado Ski Country USA as a Colorado Gem, one of nine resorts that are hidden off the beaten path, where you’ll find shorter lift lines, smaller crowds, down-to-earth prices, and a great family atmosphere. Gems Cardholders are eligible to receive one free lift ticket at Monarch any time during the month of April 2012.


Snow Play Area for Kids – Purgatory Mountain is all about fun, whether it’s whooshing down the mountain or making snowmen and snow angels. Along with its dedicated kids ski and snowboard instructors, Purgatory has set up a special play area where kids can take a break from the hill and just play in the snow. Entrance to the area is free, but watch out for the Snow Monsters!

Snowbike Licensing – Purgatory offers guests the chance to experience the latest craze in winter sports – snowbiking. Purgatory is an established leader in this new sport and Purgatory Ski and Ride School offers free snowbike licensing, which guests will need to have before testing their mettle on the slopes. Guests can rent snowbikes at Purgatory Rentals from Brenter, the industry leader. More information is available by calling 970-247-9000 x 11155.


Boot-Packing Days: Earn Free Turns – At Silverton Mountain guests can earn free unguided ski days by helping to prepare the mountain for the ski season, literally by packing the snow with their boots. Guests who want to participate should show up – with pants duct taped to boots – at the base area at 8:45 a.m. on any or all of the four scheduled boot-packing days. No experience is required but participants must have a beacon, shovel and probe. Guests will earn one free ski day for each day of boot-packing – up to four free days. Free tickets must be used during 2011/12 season. Check out the Silverton website for a schedule of boot-packing dates.

Ski Cooper

Free Lift Tickets for Gems Cardholders – Ski Cooper is recognized by Colorado Ski Country USA as a Colorado Gem, one of nine resorts that are hidden off the beaten path, where you’ll find shorter lift lines, smaller crowds, down-to-earth prices, and a great family atmosphere. Gems Cardholders are eligible to receive one free lift ticket at Ski Cooper on weekdays during the month of February 2012.

Sol Vista Basin

Snow Play Park – Next to the Patio, Sol Vista Basin features a Snow Play Park where kids will find a series of sculpted snow mounds positioned over a maze of plastic tunnels. Kids of all ages love to climb up, around and through the features. Access is free.

Sledding Area – When the parents are done relaxing and the kids decide it’s time for more fun, they can leave the Patio and head over to Sol Vista Basin’s sledding hill. The Sledding Area is fenced off from ski traffic and provides kids and parents the perfect place to play after the lifts are closed or when the kids have decided they’re ready for something a little less challenging.

Cross-country Skiing – Sol Vista Basin offers all guests free access to cross-country skiing trails. Cross-country skiing is a great way to enjoy the majesty of the environment, exercise a different set of ski muscles, or tour around the mountains with friends and family.


Kids Ski Free – Guests who print a free coupon online at www.SunlightMtn.com can get a free child lift ticket at Sunlight Mountain Resort with purchase of two adult lift tickets. Guests must present the coupon at the ticket window to take advantage of this family-friendly deal (not valid 12/05/11 – 01/02/12, 02/13/12 – 02/15/12, 02/18/12 – 2/20/12 or 03/10/12 – 04/02/12).


Free Lift Tickets – This season Steamboat is giving away free lift tickets when guests book lodging packages through Steamboat Central Reservations®. Early Season packages are available November 23 through December 16, 2011, and late season packages are available April 8 through April 15, 2012.

Kids Ski Free – As always, Steamboat offers the best deals around for families with young children. Book packages through Steamboat Central Reservations® and receive one free lift ticket for children 12 and under for each regular-priced five-or-more-day adult lift ticket.

Kids Rent Free – Free flights, free lift tickets, of course rentals are free too. Book packages through Steamboat Central Reservations® and receive one free rental for children 12 or under for each five-day adult pass.

Family Season Pass Program:For each parent or legal guardian purchasing an unrestricted Steamboat Adult Season Pass or Rocky Mountain Pass, one child 12 or under in the same family will receive a free Season Pass.

Free Mountain Tours – Steamboat Ambassadors lead free mountain tours daily at 10:30 a.m., starting outside the upper gondola terminal at the top of Vagabond. Get a comprehensive tour of the intermediate and advanced trails with information about resort services and the surrounding area. Tours are offered December 11, 2011 through April 1, 2012.


Gondola Transportation – Telluride provides free gondola transportation to guests travelling between the resort, the Intercept Lot, and the core of the Mountain Village. The gondola runs seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to midnight.

Free Fun in the Snow – Telluride guests can take advantage of free opportunities to cross-country ski, ice-skate, snowshoe, and sled in and around town. There are 30 km of Nordic trails in the Telluride area, along with miles of snowshoeing trails, three ice rinks, and a sledding hill – located in the town park. Guests who don’t have their own equipment can rent from one of the many shops in the Telluride area.

Winter Park

Free Lift Tickets – Winter Park will provide two free lift tickets when guests book two nights of lodging between Opening Day, November 12, 2011 and December 18, 2011. Skiers and riders will also get an additional free lift ticket per night booked for both three and four night stays. This package is available at www.winterparkresort.com/deals or by calling 800-979-9874.

Wolf Creek

Ridge and Beyond Tour – For those interested in exploring Wolf Creek’s bowls and ridgeline terrain, join the resort’s guides each day for the free Ridge and Beyond Tour, a one hour skiing/snowboarding tour of Wolf Creek’s more challenging terrain. Intermediate ability required.

Horseshoe Bowl Snowcat – On selected days throughout the season, Wolf Creek provides a free snowcat shuttle to the remote Horseshoe Bowl, making this excellent terrain more accessible for skiers and snowboarders. The snowcat shuttle picks up skiers and boarders at the east end of the Knife Ridge, accessed by the Alberta Lift.

Cross-country Track – In the Alberta Meadow, below the base area at Wolf Creek, sits a six mile complimentary cross-country track. It is groomed for Nordic skating, classic touring and snowshoeing.

For more information, see www.coloradoskicountry.com


Go World Travel Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *