10 Amazing Ski Resorts That Offer Discounts and Freebies for Seniors

Retirement is a great time to make the most of winter vacations, and these resorts offer terrific perks.
Last updated June 1, 2023 | By Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Edited By Chris Kissell
Senior couple skiing

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Contrary to popular belief, not all retirees want to head for warmer climes the minute temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Skiing is a fun, invigorating way for retirees to spend the day, and there's no age limit for hitting the slopes.

Trekking out to ski resorts can be a great way to pass the time during the colder months. For those who want to have fun despite a tight budget, there are many resorts that offer freebies to visitors over a certain age.

Following are 10 amazing ski resorts that offer perks many retirees will love.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort — Vermont

jkrueg/Adobe Smuggler's Notch Resort in Vermont

The Smuggs 55+ Club at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont aptly describes itself as “for seniors on the hill, not over the hill.”

The 55+ club meets every Wednesday morning throughout the ski season. It is a great option for those who love to ski (both alpine and Nordic), snowboard, or snowshoe and are looking to connect with like-minded peers. Dues are $30 annually.

If you’re not interested in joining the club, but still want to enjoy Smugglers’ Notch’s gorgeous Vermont resort, skiers over age 65 also get $20 off day passes.

Shawnee Mountain — Pennsylvania

Jin/Adobe Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania

Shawnee Mountain is located in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It is a great option for seniors on the East Coast, with discounts for skiers 65 to 69 and free skiing for those 70 and over.

The mountain has 23 slopes and trails of varying difficulty, two terrain parks, and a snow-tubing park. It is a great option for snow lovers of all types.

Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort — California

Courtesy of Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort in California

A smaller resort with plenty of heart, Tahoe Donner Downhill is a great option for retirees just getting into skiing or those who feel more comfortable on simpler slopes.

The resort is an ideal spot for families and skiers of all skill levels, with a healthy mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert terrain. 

It boasts 120 skiable acres, and its smaller size allows the staff to offer a more personalized experience. Seniors (60+) can get discounts on both day and season passes.

Waterville Valley Resort — New Hampshire

Courtesy of Waterville Valley Resort Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire

Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire is home to Silver Streaks, the longest-running skiing program for seniors in the country. Skiers 50 and up are invited from December through mid-March to meet for group outings Monday through Thursday.

Seniors (65+) can also get $20 off daily lift tickets, or more if they opt for a two- or three-day pack. Waterville has 62 trails, so whether you’re into alpine, Nordic, or freestyle, this gorgeous New England resort won’t disappoint.

Sun Peaks Resort — British Columbia

Courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia

If you’re interested in exploring our neighbor to the north, Canada has some incredible skiing options for retirees, including Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia.

The area boasts more than 4,200 acres of skiable terrain, including two alpine bowls, 126 trails, and a terrain park. As the second-largest resort in Canada, it’s a great spot for families who love to ski.

Those who are 65+ get discounts on day passes ($30 off) and even bigger price breaks on season passes, which vary depending on your age.

Pro tip: Leaving on a ski trip? Make sure to take one of the top travel credit cards so you can earn cash back or other perks.

Copper Mountain — Colorado

rodphotography/Adobe Copper Mountain in Colorado

Copper Mountain in Colorado has something for everyone — 154 trails, 23 lifts, around 2,500 acres of skiing, and a club for skiers 50 and older dubbed the “Over the Hill Gang.”

Those looking to ski for the full season can join the gang and ski up to 46 days for $499. Membership includes guided mountain exploration, lessons on how to improve skiing skills, and the chance to make and foster friendships while staying active.

Skiers 80 and over can get memberships for $249 and the gang also accepts daily drop-ins ($99).

Alta Ski Area — Utah

Courtesy of Alta Ski Area Alta Ski Area in Utah

Alta Ski Area in Utah was one of the first to open in the U.S. and offers more than 2,600 acres of skiable terrain for visitors. The gorgeous mountain has something for everyone, with terrain split almost evenly between beginner/intermediate areas and expert areas.

Those 80 and older ski for free all day, anytime they want. Regular adult tickets range from $154 to $174 for a full day, but newbies can also buy beginner tickets for $69, or $79 during peak hours.

Mt. Hood Skibowl — Oregon

Courtesy of Mt. Hood Skibowl Mt. Hood Skibowl in Oregon

Mt. Hood Skibowl is another great option for retirees. The Ski Bowl boasts 960 acres of terrain and 69 runs. It also features snow tubing and an adventure park.

Skiers aged 65+ can get more than $30 off daily lift tickets, and you’ll find slopes for skiers of all types — from the earliest beginners to those seeking the steep thrills of “The Chutes.”

Swain Resort — New York

Courtesy of Swain Resort Swain Resort in New York

Swain Resort is the oldest independently run ski resort in Western New York, and it recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.

The resort boasts 35 trails of varying difficulty levels, five lifts, cozy lodging units, and a packed events calendar. Skiers 65 and older can get discounts on full weekday passes ($12 off) or four-hour passes ($11 off). 

On Throwback Thursday, skiers 65 and older ski for $29. Those 75 and older can always ski for free.

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area — New Mexico

Courtesy of Pajarito Mountain Ski Area Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in New Mexico

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area offers a unique skiing experience and is a stellar option for those looking to hit the slopes out West. It also offers free skiing for anyone 75 or older. 

The resort is located on the edge of the Jemez Mountains and offers breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Valley. The mountain has 300 acres of skiable terrain and is known for its excellent bump skiing. 

However, with 44 trails, the mountain boasts something for skiers of all types, with about 20% of the trails considered to be easy, 50% deemed intermediate, and 30% labeled as difficult.

Bottom line

auremar/Adobe Older couple skiing

If you want to hit the slopes well into your golden years, many ski resorts across North America offer discounts, special groups for retirees, social hours, and more.

Taking advantage of the right deals will let you enjoy a great ski trip and help you avoid wasting money on your next winter vacation.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.