It's hard to believe, but this winter's ski season is almost upon us. Not exactly known for being an affordable passtime, skiing does offer big savings to those who plan in advance.
Know when and where you want to go? Book early through Liftopia.com and access deals that can be up to 80 to 90 percent off rates you'd find at the slopes. Simply choose your region and your dates—the site partners with over 250 resorts across North America. Acting fast helps, as the disocounts for popular destinations and weekends can sell out early.
GetSkiTickets.com offers similar savings with nearly 50 resorts in U.S. and Canada, including biggies such as Park City, Squaw Valley, and Mount Sunapee. The site sells discount lift tickets, season passes, lessons and rentals.
Looking for more than just one or two trips? Try the Epic Pass from Snow.com. For $709 ($369 for children), passholders gain unlimited lift tickets to multiple mountains in the US, as well as five days at peaks in France, Switzerland, and Austria. We're not talking obscure resorts either: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Verbier are among the 26 on the pass. When a day pass to Vail runs from around $100, the Epic Pass is a great moneysaver for anyone looking to ski or snowboard for more than a week this winter. Like Liftopia, the earlier bookings save more. Prices for the pass have already gone up around $20 since Labor Day, and they're scheduled to rise again in mid-October.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.