Judging by the number of people milling about along Atlantic Ave. with brand-new skis and snowboards last night, business was brisk at the Ski and Snowboard Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center, where a pair of new retailers have replaced out-of-business Ski Market. The new location is certainly a welcome change, even if the quarters of the hall got a bit cramped during much of yesterday's opening day.
As for the deals, clothing and equipment from Eastern Boarder and East Coast Alpine carried fair prices, and certainly a much larger selection of both than what Ski Market had brought to the show in recent years. Worth a gander if you're in the market.
Deals and giveaways on lift tickets weren't as easy to come by in the past.
The new marriage of Attitash and Wildcat announced a new frequent skier card that can net you half-off non-holiday weekdays, 25 percent off on weekends, and 10 percent off on holidays. Not bad, when you consider the 50 percent off on weekdays could essentially replace the Wednesday 2-for-1 that Peak Resorts recently wiped out at newly acquired Wildcat (along with many other longtime deals). The catch: The card will cost you $79.
Discount cards are all the rage it seems, as every resort from Sunday River to Stowe has some form of pay-to-save version. Some come with a lift ticket, many don't. But the Ski and Ride card comes with a pair of lift tickets - one to Black Mountain in Jackson, N.H., and one other of your choosing, based on availability (Saddleback here). Best of all, a portion of the $29 purchase price benefits Children's Hospital in Dartmouth, N.H. The Vermont Travel Club Card is also a great way to save on lift tickets, lodging, and meals in Vermont, and the Ski Card seems like it offers pretty decent savings for $39.
Not a show special, but the Pico Express Card comes with three days skiing for $99. It is on sale until Dec. 16. Pico will become Vermont's first completely non-smoking ski area early next year.
Vermont's Burke is offering a three-pack of lift tickets at the show for just $99.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.