Winter is here, and that means one thing for skiers and snowboarders everywhere: time to hit the slopes. But these days, a trip to the mountains means shelling out more cash than ever before for gas, gear, lift tickets and meals. Fortunately, there are plenty of great deals out there for savvy consumers who don't mind doing a little digging. From free lift tickets to discounts on lodging and lessons, resorts around the country have a lot to offer cost-conscious skiers. Here are some tips to help you hit the slopes for less. Plan ahead: Don't go to a ski resort without checking it out online. Most resorts have a "deals" section on their Web site and, in some cases, buying your lift tickets online may save you money. For example, Waterville Valley in New Hampshire offers $10 off the regular lift-ticket price of $65 when you buy online 48 hours in advance. If you can't find a deal on the resort's Web site, browse sites such as skicoupons.com to find price breaks for ski resorts throughout North America. Boreal, a resort in northern California, offers an iRide card. Cardholders who buy two all-day lift tickets get a third day of skiing or boarding for free. The card is only available online. If you're heading to the ski Mecca of Park City, Utah, book your flight for the morning and hold on to your boarding pass. With Park City Quick Start, you'll receive a free same-day lift ticket at one of three Park City resorts (the Canyons Resort, Park City Mountain Resort or Deer Valley Resort) with your boarding pass, out-of-state photo ID and a completed Quick Start voucher. After your first day in Utah, head to Canyon Sports in Salt Lake City for discount lift tickets to all the major resorts.