How to Ski for Free With Your Airline Boarding Pass

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Learn How to Snowboard at Snow Summit ski lift with Daddy
Timothy and me on the ski lift at Snow Summit
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My family loves to ski, but we hate how expensive a ski vacation can be. That’s why we love promotions like the one from Alaska Airlines where you can get a free lift ticket at participating ski resorts. Here’s how to ski for free with your airline boarding pass.

How to ski for free with your airline boarding pass

This Alaska Airlines promotion is one of my favorites every year. I get to fly an airline that I love and respect, while also saving money while skiing and snowboarding. It makes winter adventures way more affordable.

Participating in this Alaska Airlines promotion is very simple. Simply book your flight to the nearby airport, then present your boarding pass and matching ID at the mountain’s ticket office.

There are 10 ski resorts participating in the free lift ticket promotion this winter. Each mountain sets its own rules, so check each ski resort’s page before planning your trip. For example, some mountains only provide free tickets to children and some mountains only offer this promo on weekdays.

  • Alyeska Resort (Anchorage, Alaska)
  • Big White Ski Resort (Kelowna, Canada)
  • Bogus Basin (Boise, Idaho)
  • Eaglecrest Ski Area (Juneau, Alaska)
  • Red Lodge Mountain (Billings, Montana)
  • RED Mountain Resort (Spokane, Washington)
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort (Spokane, Washington)
  • Ski Marmot Basin (Edmonton, Canada)
  • Steamboat Ski Resort (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)
  • Whitefish Mountain Resort (Kalispell, Montana)

Also, remember to check back frequently on the mountain’s COVID policy. You may have to agree to COVID testing or book an arrival window to access the mountain.

Learn How to Snowboard at Bear Mountain me on the slopes
Daddy enjoys boarding the mountain while Timmy is in lessons.

Alyeska Resort (Anchorage, Alaska)

The Alyeska Resort is known for its steep terrain and deep snowpack. Visitors will love the stunning views from its peaks while enjoying the 669″ (55+ feet) of annual snowfall. The resort is about 40 miles from the Anchorage (ANC) airport, which offers flights from Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane.

Full-day adult lift tickets at Alyeska Resort are as high as $89 per day. With your boarding pass, you’ll receive a lift ticket for the day that you arrive. This offer is good any weekday from January 4, 2021, to April 17, 2021. Blackout dates of MLK Day (January 18, 2021), President’s Day (February 15, 2021), and ASD Spring Break (March 5-12, 2021) apply.

Big White Ski Resort (Kelowna, Canada)

Big White Ski Resort is Canada’s largest ski-in and ski-out resort. Visitors love being able to step out onto the slopes straight from their accommodations. Skiers love the 24-feet of “champagne powder” that falls annually. The powder is light and dry making for an easy day, even when we keep falling on the mountain.

This ski resort is less than an hour away from Kelowna Airport (YLW), and Alaska Airlines offers flights from Seattle.

Lift ticket prices are as much as $159 per day at the window or $119 when you buy them online. Due to COVID, Big White Ski Resort is not offering free lift tickets this year. However, they are offering 25% off all lift tickets every day. They hope to return next year with free lift tickets for arriving passengers.

Bogus Basin (Boise, Idaho)

Bogus Basin boasts 2,600 acres of skiable terrain, four high-speed quad chairlifts, and night skiing until 10 pm, seven days a week. Visitors will also love the 37 miles of trails for skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking. Plus, it is just 16 miles from downtown Boise, so you can choose to stay at the mountain or in town.

Adult lift tickets are $69 for a full day and $34 from 3 pm to 10 pm. To get your free lift ticket, present your boarding pass and photo ID on the same day that your flight arrives. Book your flight from Seattle on a weekday because this offer is not valid before 3 pm on Saturday or Sunday. Also, there are blackout dates over Christmas, New Years, MLK Day, and President’s Day.

For ideas on things to do in Boise during your visit, check out the podcast interview I did with Whitney about floating down the river in Boise.

Eaglecrest Ski Area (Juneau, Alaska)

In Juneau, you’ll find the community-owned Eaglecrest Ski Area. It offers big mountain terrain with hardly any lift lines. You’ll find 1620′ of vertical drop, 640+ acres, and impressive backcountry access. It is only 19 miles from the airport and flights are available from Anchorage, Glacier Bay/Gustavus, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Seattle, Sitka, and Yakutat.

Eaglecrest Ski Area is one of the most budget-friendly ski resorts on this list. Adult lift tickets are only $59 and it offers some of the most affordable private and group lessons in North America. Visitors will receive a free lift ticket on their day of arrival when presenting their boarding pass and ID. The ski resort is open from Wednesday through Sunday, so avoid arriving on Monday or Tuesday.

Check out the podcast that I recorded with Sara about hiking a glacier in Juneau.

Red Lodge Mountain (Billings, Montana)

Red Lodge Mountain offers beautiful snow, great people, and no lift lines. It is located about 70 miles southwest of Billings, Montana, and offers 2,400 vertical feet and 1,600+ acres to explore. Visitors will find a laid-back atmosphere and a town labeled the “Coolest Ski Town You’ve Never Heard Of” by Business Insider.

Adult lift tickets are up to $69 per day. Book your flight out for later in the day, because Red Lodge Mountain offers free skiing on your day of departure. Present your boarding pass and ID to receive your lift ticket. Then, ride the slopes and enjoy the powder before heading home. Alaska Airlines offers flights from Seattle and Portland.

RED Mountain Resort (Spokane, Washington)

RED Mountain Resort is a new addition to the IKON Pass this year. Visitors will find 3,850 acres of pristine skiing and the honor of ranking #1 for the most acres per skier. There is over 300″ of snowfall every year and over 2,900 vertical feet. Skiers will love the ski-in and ski-out accommodations long the ski runs for easy access to the mountain.

Alaska Airlines offers flights from Anchorage, Boise, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle. While adult lift tickets are up to $118, you’ll receive a free lift ticket with no blackout dates when you fly into Spokane. Take notice that, while you’re flying into Spokane, RED Mountain Resort is just across the Canadian border and is a 2.5-hour drive.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort (Spokane, Washington)

Schweitzer Mountain Resort ranks as one of the nation’s top winter destinations. You’ll find 2,900 acres of terrain, two massive bowls, and tree skiing for the adventurous skiers. As you ride the slopes, take a moment to catch the views. From atop the mountain, you can see three states, Canada, and Lake Pend Oreille.

While it is located in the Idaho panhandle, the closest Alaska Airlines airport is 88 miles away in Spokane. Alaska offers flights from Anchorage, Boise, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle. Lift tickets are up to $95 for adults, but you can ski for free on the date of your arrival in Spokane.

Ski Marmot Basin (Edmonton, Canada)

This mountain resort is surrounded by 4,247 square miles of protected wilderness in Jasper National Park. Ski Marmot Basin has the highest base elevation of any major ski area in Canada, and you’ll find 91 runs, two terrain parks, and 1,720 acres of trails, bowls, and treed runs. The slopes receive consistent snow from mid-November through early May each ski season. This means that the ski season lasts a long time.

You can fly into two airports on Alaska for this promotion. However, both are several hours away from the resort. Because of that, Ski Marmot Basin has two promotions available to allow you to ski free within 21 days of your arrival. Here’s how to ski for free with your airline boarding pass at Ski Marmot Basin. You can choose the free lift ticket or get a 3-consecutive day lift ticket for the price of a 2-day lift ticket. Tickets are normally $105 per day for an adult.

Steamboat Ski Resort (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)

Steamboat Ski Resort is another IKON Pass mountain. It has one of the biggest and best ski mountains in the U.S. I’ve snowboarded here several times and love the champagne powder. While I’ve previously flown into Denver to hit the slopes, it is quite a drive. To take advantage of this promotion, you’ll need to fly into Steamboat Springs/Hayden from either Seattle or San Diego. This airport is much more convenient at only 7 miles from the slopes.

Normally, all travelers get a free lift ticket with their boarding pass. Due to COVID, they are limiting the promotion. Kids 12 and younger can ski for free with an adult that buys a 5+ day adult lift ticket.

Whitefish Mountain Resort (Kalispell, Montana)

Whitefish Mountain Resort has been entertaining local skiers since the 1930s. It receives more than 333 inches of snow each year across its 3,000 acres of bowls, chutes, and glades. And if you need a day off from skiing, Glacier National Park is only 35 miles away.

To take advantage of this promotion, book a flight from Portland or Seattle to Kalispell. From there, it’s only 24 miles to the ski resort. With this promotion, you’ll receive a free lift ticket on your day of departure. Adult lift tickets can be up to $85 per day, so that can be a nice savings. This promo is not good between Christmas and New Year’s or during President’s Day weekend.

Check out the podcast interview I did with Jillian about eating huckleberries and hiking Glacier National Park.

Learn How to Snowboard at Snow Summit on the slopes - How to ski for free with your airline boarding pass
Timmy at Snow Summit in Big Bear, California

Get 2-for-1 flights with the Alaska Airlines credit card

Lift tickets are only part of the expense of a ski vacation. Flights can be pretty expensive too. Especially if you’re traveling to a popular winter destination or one that has limited service.

One of the ways to reduce that cost is to use the Alaska Airlines credit card from Bank of America. Every year, you’ll receive a buy one, get one free certificate that allows you to bring a buddy with you for a small fee. The best part is that these companion flights are treated like a normal paid flight. This means that both of you will earn miles for the flight and have a boarding pass that enables you to get your free lift ticket at one of these participating ski resorts.

For the latest promotions, visit our credit card marketplace to learn about each card’s signup bonus, annual fee, and other benefits.

IKON Pass vs. EPIC Pass

One of my favorite ways to get lift tickets is to buy a season pass. For one flat price, you can ski or snowboard all you want at numerous ski resorts across the U.S. These ski passes are becoming so popular, that they have started to include international resorts as well.

I’ve had the IKON Pass for several years because some of my favorite mountains – like Mammoth Mountain, Stratton Mountain, and Mont Tremblant – are included with the pass. Now that we’re in Nashville, I may try out the EPIC Pass sometime to experience some other mountains.

On this list from Alaska Airlines, only two mountains are part of the IKON Pass. They are the RED Mountain Resort and Steamboat Ski Resort. None belong to the EPIC Pass. So, if you’re looking to stretch this promotion into a longer vacation, I would go with the IKON Pass.

JetSuiteX Burbank to Mammoth Timmy - How to ski for free with your airline boarding pass
Let’s go to Mammoth!

How to buy discounted lift tickets

Ok, so you learned how to ski for free with your airline boarding pass, but what about the rest of your trip? If you’re staying for a week or longer, it may make sense to purchase a season pass. You’ll save money versus buying lift tickets every day and many resorts also include other perks, like discounts on food and a free buddy pass.

One of my favorite ways to save money on lift tickets is to buy them from Liftopia. Through this reseller, you can save up to 80% off your lift tickets. They don’t always have the best prices versus the mountain resorts, but I’ve saved money with them numerous times.

When booking your hotel or other accommodations, look for packages that include lift tickets. You may pay a little more for your room, but it can be a nice discount compared to paying for them separately.

The Bald Thoughts

Now that you know how to ski for free with your airline boarding pass, which is your favorite ski resort? There are so many tempting offers, it is hard to narrow down the choices. To save money, you can book a flight to one location and stay there. Or you can hop from one location to the next every couple of days to maximize the number of free lift tickets that you earn.

Do promotions like this get you excited? Or is the fine print too restrictive to make it worthwhile?


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