The [R430R, Stratton] X2 Express Card costs $69 and pays for itself in one visit, because buyers get a free day of skiing.

Here's how it works.

Buy the X2 Express Card, and it comes loaded with a free day of skiing, good anytime except holidays.

A credit card is linked electronically to the X2, and is charged the first time the card is scanned at the lift each day.

Card holders get a discounted rate on the daily ski passes, however. The discount is $30 off ski pass prices on non-holiday weekdays, $20 off on non-holiday weekends, and $10 off during holiday periods.

The X2 Express Card is a direct-to-lift product, with the owner's photo and ID bar code on it, meaning card holders do not have to stand in line for daily ski passes. Head for the lift, and the lift attendants' handheld scanners do the rest.

The X2 Card offers similar convenience to the transponders drivers use to speed up paying tolls on toll roads, but better, because of the discounts.   

Given the free daily lift ticket that's included in the purchase price, it's one of the best deals going.

Caveats? The X2 Express Card cannot be transferred. The free ticket cannot be redeemed on holidays.  Daily savings apply to full day tickets only; no half days. Holidays are Dec. 26 to Jan. 3; Jan. 16 - 18; Feb. 13 - 19. Card expires at the end of the current winter season.

More information. Or call 800-787-2886.