United and Alaska are practically dropping you at the ski lifts
Since late 2017, a few carriers have been eyeing expanded territory in cities mere minutes from the slopes. United, specifically, increased service from a number of its hub cities to 21 destinations nestled next to ski resorts. The company’s fleet is practically a conveyor belt to Colorado, making direct jaunts to Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs, and Montrose/Crested Butte border on the ubiquitous.
Expanded service on United further spreads to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Bozeman, Montana, among other Western destinations. The directive, which kicks off this season, unabashedly caters to skiers and their shred-seeking brethren.
Most important, though, are the deals that factor in for literally zero dollars. Alaska Air’s Ski Free endeavor didn’t make for splashy headlines when it debuted last November, but it should have: By partnering with 12 resorts, all on the West Coast, the carrier promises cheap and typically sub-$200 fares to mountains in Colorado, Canada, Idaho, California, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and Utah. The kicker? Anyone who presents their Alaska boarding pass at the lodge gets a free lift ticket for a day.
The terms and conditions apply, but the promise of a gratis afternoon at any one of the resort partners -- including Mammoth Mountain, California; Big White, British Columbia; or Mount Bachelor, Oregon, among others -- shows that snowboarding isn’t always synonymous with a bloated credit card bill.
Frontier Airlines also enters the equation with a bunch of low-ball fares to Denver this season. The airline announced a surge of 20 new routes to and from the Mile High City last July. A glance at recent fares from the West Coast shows the strategy at work: