CU's Ski Bus

The ski bus is a classic (and classy? Yeah!) way to hit the Summit County slopes with a few dozen of your best buds. It's cheap, and you can either nap or be that guy that does funny, mean things to people while they're napping. Check colorado.edu/skibus for details. Plan ahead -- it fills quick. The schedule goes up about a month before the bus starts bussing.

I n the heat of August, skiing might be the furthest thing from your mind.

Then again, this is Colorado -- maybe not.

But if you plan to ski this winter, the planning for passes begins soon. And the deals are happening now.

Mid-summer is often a good time to start looking for a season pass, because that's when resorts determine their new prices for the season -- and that's when they're cheapest. You often have a month or two to buy at that lower price.

Spokes-folks for Vail Resorts and Winter Park say that the current pricing on their passes are good through Labor Day (Sept. 3).

Some resorts -- and passes -- offer discounts to college students.

For example, keep an eye out for the Super Pass plus College Pass, Winter Park's two-for-one offer for students (details at collegeskideal.com).


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If you don't think you'll ski or ride often enough to warrant a season pass, or want to sample resorts, a GEMS card, usually $10 (details at coloradoski.com/colorado-gems-card), gives owners two-for-one and other discounts at Colorado's smaller resorts -- like nearby Eldora, Echo Mountain and Loveland.

Whatever you think sounds best for you, consider this -- choosing a pass might be a time to bow to peer pressure. It's all about spending the day with your friends, right?

And sharing carpooling cash.

Epic Pass (and more)

Info: snow.com

Vail Resorts has changed up their pass structure for the 2011-2012 season. Among the multi-mountain passes offered, the Summit Value Pass, $419 as of late July, might be the one to snag for students wanting to get a lot of time in at the areas this winter. This pass grants unlimited access to Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, plus Breckenridge, minus some holiday blackout dates at Breck, and six ski-with-a-friend discounts for your pals. Want to ski whenever, wherever, and especially at Vail? The Epic Pass, $659, is still the way to go.

Rocky Mountain Super Pass

Info: skicolorado.com

If you love the bumps (Mary Jane, anyone?) and love the idea of escaping to Steamboat a couple of times even more, the College Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus (say that five times fast) should be on your radar. Students can pick up this pass, which includes unlimited access to Winter Park/Mary Jane, Copper Mountain and six unrestricted days at Steamboat, for $359 through Sept. 3. (By the way, this pass didn't increase in price this year. Sick.)

Eldora Mountain Resort

Info: eldora.com/college

As Boulder County's only ski area, Eldora gets bonus convenience points -- especially since you can take the bus there from Boulder.

Eldora also offers a pretty stellar deal for students who want to ski or ride just up the hill. Students can pick up a season pass for $149 any time online before Oct. 21. Or sign up on person when Eldora has tables up in the University Memorial Center throughout the fall.

A season pass also gets you access to Eldora's network of Nordic trails.

Four packs

If you think you'll make it out a few times, but not enough to warrant a season pass, look for four packs, like those offered at Loveland, Copper, Winter Park and other areas. (Winter Park calls theirs a "four-pass" rather than "pack," but you get the drift.

These are usually available for a limited time in the fall and will give you big discounts compared to buying a lift ticket the day you plan to ski or ride.

Some areas -- like Loveland -- just send your lift tickets in the mail, and no photo ID is required, so you can share them with friends and family.