Winter is coming: How to ski for free by showing this airline’s boarding pass

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

We have good news for those ski bunnies out there: Winter is right around the corner. In fact, some resorts are already spinning their lifts. But as we all know, planning a ski trip can be really expensive. You can often offset the costs of hotels and flights by using points and miles, but lift ticket prices can add up — especially when multiplied by the number of people in your family.

Fortunately, there are a few mountains that will actually let you ski for free simply by showing your airline boarding pass in partnership with Alaska Airlines.

kids skiing
SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Some mountains give you a complimentary lift ticket for the afternoon you arrive, while others are for the morning you depart. Some mountains will even give you a free lift ticket for any day of your vacation, regardless of your arrival or departure date. This is an amazing way to help offset the cost of your lift tickets since there is no better way to ski than for free.

Here are all the resorts that currently allow you to ski for free simply by showing your boarding pass:

Alaska

Alyeska Resort
Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. VISIT ALASKA

Alyeska Resort

Alyeska Resort is only 40 miles from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), where Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from many cities, such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Even those in Hawaii will have plenty of flight options with nonstop flights from Honolulu, Maui and the Big Island.

All you have to do is show your Alaska Airlines paper boarding pass at any resort ticket office, and you can ski the remaining part of the day you arrive for free. This offer is only valid Monday through Friday between Jan. 7 and April 30, 2024. Blackout dates are Jan. 15, Feb. 29 and March 8-23.

Related: Alyeska Resort review

Eaglecrest

Only 15 minutes from downtown Juneau, Eaglecrest will give a free same-day lift ticket to those flying into Juneau International Airport (JNU) that morning on Alaska Airlines. If you are coming by boat on the Alaska Marine Highway System or by seaplane on Alaska Seaplanes, this promotion applies to you as well. You are also limited to three redemptions per person per winter season.

For subsequent days, the most expensive lift ticket is only $75, so you are still looking at a relatively economical ski vacation.

Related: These are the best times to visit Alaska

Canada

Ski Marmot Basin

Ski Marmot Basin has two different promotions for travelers flying on Alaska Airlines for their ski vacation. When you show your boarding pass or printed itinerary at the Ski Marmot Basin guest services desk, you can select either a free full-day lift ticket or a three-consecutive-day lift ticket for the price of a two-day lift ticket. The best part about this offer is that the free day doesn’t have to be used the same day you fly in, which makes sense since the airport is more than four hours away.

The complimentary lift ticket must be redeemed within 21 days of your travel through Calgary International Airport (YYC). This offer is valid through April 26, 2024.

Red Mountain Resort

Travelers flying Alaska Airlines into Spokane International Airport (GEG) between Dec. 9, 2023, and April 7, 2024, will receive one complimentary lift ticket to Red Mountain Resort. They can then redeem the lift ticket during any day of this ski year, which is more flexible than most similar ski-free programs. To be eligible for the promotion, you must fly into Spokane’s airport (approximately a 2.5-hour drive to Red Mountain) and not other nearby airports within Canada.

Colorado

person skiing
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

Steamboat Ski Resort

When flying Alaska Airlines, you can fly nonstop to Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN) — the commercial airport for Steamboat Springs — from Seattle or San Diego. Passengers on these flights (or one with a connection in one of these two locations) will receive a free night skiing ticket on their arrival day at Steamboat Ski Resort by showing their boarding pass to any ticket office. Fortunately, there are no date restrictions, but if you’re flying in on a Wednesday, you can use your free night skiing on Thursday.

Idaho

Bogus Basin

With many flights into Boise Airport (BOI), it’s easy to hit the slopes of Bogus Basin after an early morning flight. Just show your Alaska Airlines boarding pass and ID at the Simplot Lodge ticket window to receive a complimentary lift ticket to ski for the rest of the day.

Schweitzer

For flights into Spokane on Alaska Airlines only, you can ski Schweitzer for free for the rest of the day. The mountain is approximately 90 minutes away from the airport, which offers nonstop flights from Portland and Seattle. Take this promotion into account when comparing different flight options between airlines since there are many other U.S. carriers that fly into Spokane.

Montana

Red Lodge Mountain

Instead of skiing for free the day you arrive, Red Lodge Mountain will give you a free lift ticket to ski the day of your departure. All you have to do is show your Alaska Airlines boarding pass at any ticket window, and you can enjoy a few runs before heading off to the airport. On Alaska Airlines, you can fly nonstop from Seattle and Portland to the Billings-Logan International Airport (BIL) in Montana, about 90 minutes from the mountain.

Bottom line

When flying into any of these mountain airports, hang on to your paper boarding pass to leverage a variety of promotions. Maybe even print out multiple copies just in case. Although many mountains have done away with their ski-free programs over the past few years, there are still a decent number of resorts offering deals.

Are you planning a family ski vacation? Here are some more resources: