There's no way to sugar coat it: last winter in Tahoe sucked.
And with La Niña officially over, you're wondering whether it's worth gambling on a season pass.
Allow us to present a risk-free alternative: The Mountain Collective.
Here's how it works. You drop $349 on the new-for-this-year Mountain Collective pass. When conditions are good up in Tahoe, you can ski Squaw and Alpine twice for free. After that, all your lift tickets are 50 percent off.
Need to ski and stay? You'll also get up to 25 percent off the price of your hotel.
You get the same deal at Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, and Alta, Utah. Which means that if conditions suck (again) in Tahoe, you've got a weekend's worth of free lift tickets waiting for you at three other prime destinations where the snow might actually be falling.
Oh, yeah. And there are no blackout dates.
We like to think of it as supporting your home turf, while still hedging your bets against another dry winter.
The Mountain Collective
Price: $349 here
We do the math: Using last year's single-day lift ticket price at Squaw/Alpine, it would take six days skiing at Squaw for this pass to pay for itself. Compared with the cheapest season pass — currently at $429 — which pays for itself in five ski sessions, but has sixteen blackout dates, this pass makes the most sense for people who ski mostly on weekends and holidays.