As the air gets colder and snow starts to accumulate, Keene State College students still have options for enjoying the outdoors all winter long.
KSC is within an hour and a half of six ski and snowboard mountains that all offer significant discounts for students.
“Not only is this something that you’ll never be able to do at the same price ever again for what you get, but it’s a great all-around experience,” KSC Ski & Snowboard Club President, Chris Kouroyen said.
“To get the same season pass for someone who is not of college age is much more expensive, so it’s substantial savings,” Kouroyen continued.
With or without going through the Ski & Snowboard Club, KSC students can get discounted ski passes.
According to mountsnow.com, The Double Down Pass to Stratton and Mount Snow is $369. The 4.0: The College Pass to Killington, Mount Sunapee, Okemo Mountain and Pico Mountain is $379, according to killington.com.
According to the Killington and Mount Snow websites, The 4.0 Pass is only available to college students and The Double Down Pass is available to anyone 18-26-years-old. After that, the price for the same passes go up significantly. Passes are anywhere around $700 to $3 thousand dollars more than the cost of the college passes.
However, the Dec. 15 deadline to lock in these prices is approaching.
These two passes, which are valid every day of the season, also come with other deals.
The Double Down Pass includes two free ski lessons and two passes for friends at a reduced price, among other perks. The 4.0 Pass comes with five discounted lift tickets for college friends and 15 percent off lessons, along with other discounts.
These deals encourage people who may not have had the opportunity to try skiing or snowboarding many times before to get the pass or tag along with a friend who has the pass.
Rory Bogel, the treasurer of the ski and snowboard club, said he had never tried skiing or snowboarding before college. Bogel is from Connecticut and is a four hour drive from the mountains.
“I never bothered [to try skiing or snowboarding]. I had no one to ski with, my family and friends didn’t ski,” Bogel said.
However, he said his friends convinced him to try it his first year at KSC, and after a year of skiing, he switched to snowboarding and said he loves it.
“The mountains around here (besides Granite Gorge) are all big resorts, and really accommodate different skill levels,” Bogel said.
Bogel and Kouroyen agree that these two passes offer great deals for KSC students regardless of their skill level.
“With the pass you get the best bang for your buck, especially considering most of the mountains it’s like eighty dollars for a one-day pass,” Kouroyen said.
After five times of skiing at any mountain on the same pass, the pass is already cheaper than paying for individual one-day lift tickets.
Kouroyen said the Ski & Snowboard Club goes on four overnight trips, two to Mount Snow and two to Stratton, along with carpooling to the mountains on Fridays and weekends.
“[We usually] get the first chair at seven [a.m.], but sometimes we get lazy too and go out at eleven [a.m.] for a few hours. It’s all about what you want to make of your pass. If you only want to ski two hours once a week then you’re still saving money by getting a pass,” Kouroyen said.
Not only do the mountains offer discounts to students, but the mountains are only 45 minutes to an hour and a half away from campus, according to Google Maps.
“Keene is a central location of about half a dozen mountains,” Kouroyen said. “It’s pretty great what Keene has to offer for the ski community,” he continued.
Closer ski and snowboard mountains also offer deals to KSC students. Granite Gorge is only a nine-minute drive from campus and Crotched Mountain is 50 minutes. For a full day college-pass to Granite Gorge it is $32 and after noon tickets are $25. The 20-trail mountain also offers a season pass to KSC students for $99. Crotched mountain has Midnight Madness deals for college students on Friday night for $39 and all day lift tickets Wednesday for $29. Midnight Madness is when the mountain offers lighted night skiing from 5 p.m. until 3 a.m.
Ryan Cathcart, a KSC senior, has had a season pass all four years of college and snowboarded at all six mountains closest to KSC. Last year he had the 4.0 Pass, but this year he has The Double Down Pass.
“I like any pass, they’re all great deals,” Cathcart said. Cathcart said there are so many reasons he loves skiing and the opportunities these ski passes give him. He said there is a freedom in snowboarding that he doesn’t see in many other things.
“There’s no one telling you what to do or where to go. Its just you and the mountain and you can do whatever you want to enjoy it,” Cathcart said.
Cathcart said he also likes the flexibility of being able to go whenever he wants, and use it as a stress reliever.
“You can have a stressful week, but if you manage to find even a few hours one day out of the week to get on the mountain it’s going to take you away from everything else that’s going on,” Cathcart said.
Cathcart also commented on the importance of being active, even in the winter.
“In the winter we experience intense temperatures and it’s important to get yourself out from being locked inside for so long on end. People are indoors for months at a time and it really starts to have an impact on their psyche,” Cathcart said.
He said skiing and snowboarding is a great way to socialize and meet like-minded people and enjoy the outdoors.
Jacob Pastor, secretary and public relations for the Ski & Snowboard Club, said he recommends everyone to at least try out skiing or snowboarding.
“When you’re a freshman you think you have all this time in college, but by the time you’re a senior you might realize you missed out,” Pastor said.
Pastor continued, “You want to pack in as much as you can in college, and getting outside, enjoying the outdoors, and meeting new people is really important.”
Taylor Thomas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org