The price of a lift ticket at some of New England’s most notable resorts is creeping up toward $200 this year. While you can shell out another $50ish at Killington to cut the lift line, there are a handful of tried-and-true methods for spending less of your hard-earned cash at the mountain and more of your free time skiing.

1. Ski On an Off Day

It’s not uncommon for ski areas that are packed on the weekend to resemble a ghost town during the week. Consequently, weekday lift tickets are often priced cheaper than weekend passes as a way to entice visitors. In addition to saving a few bucks on a pass, smaller crowds during the week mean less time waiting in busy lift lines and more time on the slopes.

Credit: Tim Peck

2. Small Resorts

Smaller resorts might not have the cache and terrain of their big mountain counterparts, but they often lack the big price tag and large crowds. Besides costing less, smaller mountains—like New Hampshire’s Ragged and Crotched—attract fewer people and have shorter lines, which adds up to better snow and more runs per day.

3. Buy Passes Online and In Advance

Buying a lift ticket online allows you to shop around for the best deal, especially if you’re not committed to a particular area or day. Purchasing a pass in advance can also help you avoid a huge time suck at the mountain, helping you get out of the ticket line and onto the slopes.

Credit: Tim Peck

4. Double-Check Your Gear Before Leaving the House

Even the thriftiest ski bum can see a season’s worth of savings disappear by forgetting a key piece of gear at home. Whether you need to buy a simple item like gloves or rent something involved like boots, you’ll pay a premium on the mountain. Before leaving the house, make sure you have everything you need for a day on the hill and that it’s all in working condition. As well, having a well-stocked car kit is a great way to bail out a friend who left that critical piece of gear in their living room in Connecticut.

5. Get Ready at the Car

Rather than burn time and energy dragging all of your ski stuff to the lodge and looking for a place to gear up, simply do it in the parking lot. This will not only get you on the hill faster, but will also keep you out of the lodge and away from expensive temptations—like that cup of coffee or breakfast sandwich you really don’t need.

6. Arrive Early

Showing up early won’t save you money, but it will help you maximize your lift ticket. The first hour is often one of the slowest on the mountain and if you’re in line when the lifts start spinning, you can grab a few runs while the lift lines are short and most other skiers and riders are still putting on their boots. An added bonus, you get to lay first tracks in fresh snow or groomers.

Credit: Tim Peck

7. Ski at Lunch and Bring Your Own Food

Lightly trafficked lift lines are a common occurrence at ski areas around lunchtime, which makes it the ideal time to rack up the runs. It also keeps you from visiting expensive cafeterias and pubs when they’re most busy. Feeling hungry? Pack a snack or lunch and eat it during off times (early or late), or even while riding the lift. This will maximize your ski time and help you avoid spending your dollars on overpriced on-mountain food.

8. Find Less-Populated Lifts and Stay There

Utilizing lifts with shorter lines is a reliable method for racking up runs at the resort. High-speed lifts, ones that service intermediate terrain, and lifts that leave base areas commonly attract a crowd, while the old triple in the middle of the mountain that provides access to only a few runs might get overlooked—for example, the Sunnyside Triple at Waterville Valley. That old lift might not net as much terrain, but it will keep you skiing, rather than standing idly in line.

Credit: Tim Peck

9. Ski Late

Skiing bell to bell is something ski bums are quick to brag about and is key for squeezing every cent out of value from a lift ticket. The icing on the cake—crowds start to thin late in the day, which is great for milking extra runs and ensuring you leave the resort with wobbly legs.

10. Après Off Mountain

There is a certain appeal to ski bars—there’s a reason why even non-skiers know the term “après”—but they can drain your wallet as fast as you can suck down an IPA. Expert après enthusiasts have learned to take their post-skiing festivities to the parking lot. Not up to packing more stuff? Another strategy to avoid crowds (and inflated on-mountain prices) is to stop somewhere on the way home, like one of these mountain town breweries.

Do you have any tricks for keeping costs down at the resort? If so, we want to hear them! Leave them in the comments below, so we can all save a few bucks this winter.