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The $10 lift ticket and other Colorado Gems

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Last week we looked at some of the best early-bird deals on season passes at Colorado ski areas; now that details of the 2011/2012 Colorado Gems Card from Colorado Ski Country USA have been announced, we'd be remiss in not mentioning that its $10 price tag makes it a must-buy, no matter which other season pass you're opting for.

For starters, the card will get you one free lift ticket at Ski Cooper, valid any weekday in February 2012, which means you just scored a $10 lift ticket, even if you never use the pass to explore some of the other smaller-sized "Gems" featured in the program. There are also 2-for-1 lift ticket deals and other discounts with the card at Arapahoe Basin, Echo Mountain, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn and SolVista Basin, and other discounts worth at least $10 each at Eldora and Sunlight (see ColoradoSki.com for blackout dates and restrictions).

CSCUSA promotes the card as a reminder that size isn't everything when it comes to nine of the state's smallest ski areas. Here's more, via www.ColoradoSki.com/Gems (they had us at the $10 Ski Cooper lift ticket):

Colorado is home to some of skiing and snowboarding's best-hidden treasures, but sometimes you have to get off the beaten track to discover them. These are the Gems. With diverse terrain, the Gems have something for everyone from families to fanatics. We know there is a Gem or two (or nine) that is sure to become your favorite. Free of crowds. Free of paid parking. Down-to-earth prices. Authentic experiences.

The cards are available for pre-order now and will ship on September 30. For other lift-ticket and season-pass deals hit up the Labor Day weekend sales at Sniagrab and Ski Rex.

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