Best for sampling: Powder Alliance
Credit: Karl Weatherly / Getty Images

The Deal A full-season pass at any one of the following resorts, plus three-day passes at each sister resort: Snowbasin in Utah; Crested Butte in Colorado; Ski Bowl and Timberline in Oregon; Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho; China Peak, Mountain High, and Sierra at Tahoe in California; Stevens Pass in Washington; Snowbowl in Arizona; Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico; and Bridger Bowl in Montana.

Pros It gives skiers the chance to check out smaller mountains and enjoy some of the "biggies."

Cons Saturday and holiday blackout days are pretty restrictive

Best for pass holders at any one of the resorts. The range of offerings is the obvious selling point here, so the pass is ideal for someone who has a home base but wants to try something new. Snow Basin, Crested Butte, and Bridger Bowl are all worth a bit of travel time. [Price varies by resort; powderalliance.com]