These Buffs are crazy for snow. Colorado Daily/Jinsan Lee
These Buffs are crazy for snow. Colorado Daily/Jinsan Lee
CU's ski bus

Find out more about the bus here: http://colorado.edu/ecenter/transportation/bus/skibus.

The bus is a super cheap way ($15, $5 for CU Herd members) to get up to the mountains with all your friends. The bus picks up students, faculty and staff from three locations around campus almost every weekend of spring semester. Destinations include Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper, Vail and Beaver Creek.

I t might seem a bit nuts to start thinking about ski season, but if you buy your pass now, you'll save yourself a ton of money.

Plus, it's never too early to start dreaming of powder, shredding and that sweet new board you got on sale at the end of last season.

Many resorts haven't released pricing yet for their various 2013-2014 passes, but we broke down what you can expect to pay and get out of some popular passes here in Colorado.

 

Epic Pass

 

The Epic Pass is, well, Epic, in both price and how much shredding you can do with it.

This Vail Resorts pass gets you unlimited access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and new this year, Eldora, right here in your backyard, plus resorts beyond Colorado, such as Heavenly and Northstar.

Jet-setting types: You also get five free days at Verbier in Switzerland and five free days at Arlberg in Austria. You can literally ski around the world on this pass. Feel free to take us along for the ride.

You also get six discounted tickets on your pass to share with friends, and there are no blackout dates.

Vail Resorts won't say exactly when prices will go up, but it's usually early to mid September. You always save money if you buy early, and right now you can get the pass for $689.

Dusted-up snow at Arapahoe Basin. Mahala Gaylord, The Denver Post
Dusted-up snow at Arapahoe Basin. Mahala Gaylord, The Denver Post ( Mahala Gaylord )

More info: http://snow.com/epic-pass/passes.aspx

 

Epic Local and Epic 7-Day

 

Don't have 700 bucks in your pocket? There are a few other options.

The Epic Local pass gets you unlimited, unrestricted access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin. You get limited restrictions at Heavenly, Northstar and Brighton (so you can still do a little traveling), and 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek (but you can't use those during the holidays).

You still get your six discounted tickets for friends loaded onto your pass, and this pass will run you $529. If you can prove that you're taking 12 credits, you can get the local pass for $479.

The Epic 7-day pass costs the same ($529) but you get seven unrestricted tickets for use at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin (and again, some Cali resorts), plus six additional discounted friend tickets.

More info: http://snow.com/epic-pass/passes.aspx

 

Eldora pass

 

Eldora Mountain Resort is in Boulder's backyard, and there's a bus that takes you right to the lift line. You can ski at Eldora on your Epic Pass, or purchase an Eldora-only season pass, which typically runs around $470.

Buffs on the slopes. Colorado Daily/Jinsan Lee
Buffs on the slopes. Colorado Daily/Jinsan Lee

But here's the part you really need to know: Students can get a season pass at Eldora for around $150 on certain days this fall. Keep an eye out for the Eldora table in the UMC.

A season pass at Eldora gets you unlimited access to the Nordic area and trails, too.

More info: http://eldora.com/

 

Four packs

 

If you think you'll get out four-ish days this season, look for four pack deals, offered by many resorts around the state. Though information on four-pack pricing is not yet available, most resorts charge between $100 and $200. The higher priced packs are often good at two resorts: In the past, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin have paired up on a four-pack, as have Steamboat and Winter Park.

Check resort websites around Sept. 1 for four-pack pricing.

 

Uphill passes

 

Into backcountry skiing? You probably already have the gear for uphilling. Uphilling is just like downhill skiing, minus the chair lift on the way up. This super trendy sport gives you an awesome cardio workout as you skin up the mountain (you ski back down, eventually). Many resorts are catching on and offering uphill passes for dirt cheap to entice skiers to their resorts. Eldora does not allow uphilling, but lots of other resorts in Colorado do. Arapahoe Basin requires you to get a pass, but it's free (they just want to know that you're there for safety reasons), and the same goes for Copper Mountain.

Many resorts allow uphill access in the very early mornings (think: 5 a.m., very-pre-lift service) and then after the lifts close for the day, but some have special uphill trails you can use even when the lifts are running.

For a full list of uphilling policies in Colorado: http://ussma.org/resort-uphill-policies.

 

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.