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Plan Ahead, Save Big for Next Ski Season Hot

The skiing off-season can be a bummer for the avid skier dying to be on the slopes once again, however, now is the perfect time to find some great steals on equipment and lift tickets in advance of the 2011-12 Winter.

The first thing you notice come warm weather and spring time is that numerous retailers are looking to make room on their shelves for summer sports equipment like baseball and softball.

That means the skis, snowboards and other gear must move, but instead of storing it in the warehouse, retailers slash prices in order to move inventory and make a quick buck. If you’re on a budget, head to some of these larger retailers like a Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority and see if you can’t snag some quality equipment for next year at a fraction of the price.

Niche ski stores and boutiques share a similar conundrum when the weather turns warm. These enterprises thrive off offering the latest and greatest ski equipment; therefore last year’s stuff just won’t cut it for the high-end customer. Discounts are the norm at a time like this as stores try and sell their left over gear while still attempting to turn a profit.

A little preparation ahead of next season can also pad you wallet when it comes to purchasing your 2011-12 ski pass. More often than not, your favorite resort offers a cheaper lift ticket price now, ahead of the competition, than if you wait until everyone gears up in the late fall.

It’s a simple supply and demand equation. In the Spring and Summer, demand for lift tickets is low and the supply is high, so prices are cheaper. Come Fall and Winter, the resorts have your right where they want you, and they’re not afraid to make you pay out the nose for what you want.

At a place like Killington Resort in Vermont, they list different prices for season passes purchased between now and October. They don’t even list what the price is afterward, but we all now there will be a precipitous increase.

In Colorado, the coveted Epic and Colorado Passes remain at a fairly reasonable price until May 30, afterward the price jumps steeply or is unavailable altogether.

Most mountains typically offer other perks if you buy your pass in advance. Usually called “Spring benefits,” many resorts will throw in free Spring skiing lift tickets or off-season activities at their mountain when you purchase next year’s pass ahead of time. It’s a great way to get some added ski time in or enjoy your mountain in the Summer, just for avoiding the rush.

Okay, so here’s a recap on how to save on you skiing habit: go to your local sports equipment store and buy last season’s gear at a bargain and buy your season pass for next year, now. Basically, beat the rush, think ahead and you’ll look smarter and be richer!

-Ryan O'Leary

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