In the old days of skiing, you bought a pass for one area and that's where you skied.
Welcome to the new days of skiing. This season, more than ever, ski passes are all about options.
Monarch Mountain's season pass now includes skiing at Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Steamboat Springs, and the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus is good for those three ski areas and three days at Monarch. The Vail Resorts Epic Pass gives skiers access to 12 mountains.
And if you're the parent of a fifth- or sixth-grader, wax up those skis. A whole season of free skiing awaits the kids.
But don't wait until the lifts are running or you might be left out in the cold of the lift ticket line. Some deals expire in October and November while other passes rise in price significantly, so buy now.
Here is a guide to deals and passes for the ski season.
This southern Colorado ski area is a favorite among Colorado Springs skiers for its abundant snow, short lift lines and laid-back vibe. Some gripe about the runs being too short, but if you get tired of what Monarch offers, you have 29 other ski areas from which to choose.
Monarch touts its pass as "one planet, one pass." And that's not far off these days. In addition to free days at Winter Park, Copper and Steamboat, it comes with free days at Loveland, Sunlight, Ski Cooper, Devils Thumb, Durango, Granby Ranch and Silverton. Like to travel? Monarch partners with areas in four countries and eight other states.
Cost: $429 for adults, $239 ages 13-15, $139 ages 7-12, $279 for ages 62-68
When prices increase: Nov. 9
Where to buy: skimonarch.com
If you like big mountains with endless terrain and the freedom to bounce among huge ski areas, the Epic Pass might be for you.
With unlimited skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and, new this year, Eldora, it's for those who want to ski a lot. You also can ski free at Canyons in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and ski areas in Minnesota and Michigan.
Cost: $709 for adults and teens, $369 for children ages 5-12
If you don't see yourself needing $709 worth of skiing, a cheaper option is the Epic Local Pass, formerly known as the Colorado Pass. It includes unlimited skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin, 10 restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, and limited skiing at the company's other resorts.
Cost: $549 for adults, $419 ages 13-18, $279 ages 5-12
Maybe you're a Summit County rat? The Summit Value Pass is good for unlimited skiing at A-Basin and Keystone and skiing at Breckenridge with some holiday blackout dates.
Cost: $459 for adults, $359 ages 13-18, $239 ages 5-12
Or you simply can ski two areas with the Keystone/A-Basin Pass.
Cost: $289 for adults and teens, $199 ages 5-12
When prices increase: Sunday
Where to buy: snow.com/epic-pass and Colorado Ski & Golf, 2454 Montebello Square Drive
Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Steamboat Springs
Another popular multi-mountain option is the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus, with unlimited skiing at Copper and Winter Park, six days at Steamboat and, new this season, three days at Monarch. Globe-trotters also can try Mt. Ruapehu in New Zealand.
Cost: $509 for adults, $379 ages 13-17, $269 ages 6-12, $369 ages 70+, $379 for full-time college students with ID (must be purchased at the Winter Park season pass office)
If you don't want to make the trek to Steamboat, the Super Pass is good for unlimited skiing at Copper and Winter Park.
Cost: $439 for adults, $339 ages 13-17, $229 ages 6-12, $339 ages 70+. Buy before Oct. 21 and receive two early-season lift tickets
Other options include the 4by40 Pass (two days at Winter Park and two at Steamboat for $199), four-day passes for $149 at Copper and for $159 (renewal) or $179 (new) at Winter Park. You also can buy single-mountain passes for $369 at Copper or for $389 at Winter Park.
When prices increase: Early November
Where to buy: skicolorado.com and Christy Sports, 1808 N. Academy Blvd.
A-Basin is a favorite among locals and, since the lifts often run from October to June, has one of the longer ski seasons in North America. Its season pass is good for unlimited skiing there and, this season, two days at New Mexico's Taos Ski Valley.
Cost: $269 ages 19+, $199 ages 15-18, $139 ages 6-14
A-Basin also offers a four-day pass for $129 ages 15+ and $99 ages 6-14.
Where to buy: arapahoebasin.com
Loveland Ski Area
The closest resort to Denver, another locals' spot, has upgraded its season passes with partner resorts. The pass includes three days at Monarch, Durango and Crested Butte and one day of unguided skiing at Silverton.
Cost: $379 for adults, $269 ages 15-22, $169 ages 6-14
For those with flexible schedules, the Midweek Pass is a great way to ski Monday through Friday for cheaper. It's $259 and includes three days at Monarch.
Loveland also sells four-day passes for $129. If you don't want to go all-in on a pass, you can buy a $45 card good for discounted lift tickets, and the first and every fifth day are free.
When prices increase: Nov. 24
Where to buy: skiloveland.com
This small area near Leadville is great for families as you can let the kids loose without worrying about them getting lost. The season pass comes with three days at Monarch, Granby Ranch and Sunlight, as well as five areas in New Mexico and areas in three other states.
Cost: $329 for adults, $159 ages 6-14, $239 ages 60-69, $129 ages 70+,
Where to buy: skicooper.com
School of Shred
Parents of fifth- and sixth-graders can acquire a pass for their kids from Vail Resorts, good for four free days at Breckenridge, Keystone, A-Basin, Vail and Beaver Creek and a free first-time lesson.
Where to get it: Bring a report card to Colorado Ski & Golf or any season pass office by Nov. 24.
5th and 6th Grade Passports: Trade group Colorado Ski Country USA offers three free days at all 20 member resorts for fifth-graders. The group also offers a $99 pass for sixth-graders, good for four days at all 20 ski areas.
Where to get it: coloradoski.com/passport by Jan. 31.
Active-duty service members can find great deals at most resorts. Among the offers:
Monarch Mountain: Season pass is $269 for active-duty military. Must have a military ID valid through April 13. Call 1-719-530-5105 to order.
Vail Resorts: The Vail Resorts Liberty Pass is good for unlimited skiing at Keystone and A-Basin. This year's price has not been set. It sold for $209 in the past.
Ski Cooper: Active-duty and retired military can get an adult pass for $189 and a child pass for $89.
Where to buy: Most passes can be bought at Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy and Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases, as well as other military installations.
Check resort websites for details and other deals.