A ski vacation is quite expensive — what with the lift tickets, the travel and lodging costs, and all the gear needed for a successful day on the slopes. If you plan to take a ski trip this coming winter, Alaska Airlines may be able to help make the trip more affordable — if you’re willing to head straight from the airport to the slopes. Its “ski free” program offers free lift tickets to boarding pass holders at eight ski resorts in the United States and Canada. All you have to do is fly into the resort’s qualifying airport and hang onto your boarding pass. The catch is that you’ll have to make good time getting from the airport to the ski hill, because seven of the eight resorts only hand out the free ticket on the same day you fly in. Here’s the lowdown, by state or province.
Note: Free lift tickets are not valid on certain blackout days and travelers must fly from eligible airports served by Alaska Airlines. Check the websites listed here or the resort’s website to be sure your date of arrival and departure airport renders you eligible for a free lift ticket.
Partner resorts including Alyeska near Anchorage and Eaglecrest near Juneau offer flyers free lift tickets on their day of arrival, from qualifying airports into Anchorage (Alyeska) or Juneau (Eaglecrest). Bring your boarding pass to the lift ticket window after departing the airport and you’ll receive one complimentary lift ticket valid for that same day. Alyeska is about 50 minutes from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, while Eaglecrest is only about 15 minutes from Juneau International Airport.
Fly into Spokane, WA, and receive a complimentary lift ticket for Schweitzer Mountain Resort, just across the border in Idaho about 85 miles (1.5 hours) from the airport. If you happen to land early morning at Spokane International Airport, head north across the border to Rossland, British Columbia, and ski free that same day at Red Mountain Resort. The drive is 129 miles and requires a border crossing, but if all goes smoothly the drive should take less than three hours, leaving you an afternoon to ski free. Further east, you can fly into Boise Airport and ski free that same day at Bogus Basin, just 50 minutes from the airport.
Head to Big Sky Country and ski free at Whitefish Mountain Resort on the same day you fly into Kalispell Glacier Park International Airport, just 30 minutes away. If flying into Billings Logan International Airport, head an hour and a half south to Red Lodge Mountain and ski free on the day of your arrival.
The sole Canadian airport with access to free skiing is Edmonton International Airport. Here, you have 21 days in which to claim your free lift ticket at the resort’s ticket window because the airport is more than four hours from Ski Marmot Basin.