MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Save on the ski hills

Get a deal now on a season pass.

Skiers at Duluth's Spirit Mountain.

© Beth Gauper

Alpine skiing and snowboarding is expensive, without doubt. So if you plan to ski this winter, buy a season pass. Better yet, buy one during the October and November sales.

Hit the hills just five times (Spirit Mountain) to 10 times (Afton Alps) and your pass is paid for.

If you don't buy a pass, you'll still save if you buy online, especially for multi-day passes. Every resort offers many kinds of specials, so always check in advance.

At Spirit Mountain in Duluth, the "First Time'' pass, for skiers who haven't held a season pass during the last five years, is only $139 through Oct. 31. Regular passes are $179. Buy one at Spirit Mountain, and a Giants Ridge pass is $99.

If you're a first-timer, you can get a free lesson, lift and equipment on Jan. 3, Learn to Ski or Snowboard Free Day. Reserve your place at 218-628-2891. A regular adult ticket is $37-$42.

Through Oct. 31, Giants Ridge near Biwabik, on the Iron Range, is selling season passes for $209, a $25 savings. With it, a Spirit Mountain Co-op Pass is $99. A regular daily pass is $38-$46.

At Afton Alps east of the Twin Cities, season passes are $389 through Oct. 31, a $50 savings. A regular daily pass is $28-$40.

At Trollhaugen near Dresser, Wis., season passes are $360 through Nov. 5, a $40 savings. A regular daily pass is $41.

At Lutsen Mountains on Minnesota's North Shore, a season pass is $369 if you buy by Nov. 15, a $50 savings. The regular walk-up rate for a lift ticket is $58.

At Granite Peak in Wausau, Wis., season passes are on sale for $394 through Nov. 15. The regular daily pass is $58, $50 online. Call 715-845-2846.

At Welch Village south of the Twin Cities, college passes are $99 through Dec. 15. A once-a-week pass is $299, and a midweek pass is $199.  A regular daily pass is $47.