Todd Armstrong (Avalon) and Craig Gamble (Hickman) are California college undergraduates who unsuccessfully date co-eds Linda Hughes (Deborah Walley) and Barbara Norris (Yvonne Craig). Arrogant, handsome, athletic classmate Freddie (Aron Kincaid) has no such problems and chooses not to fight off all the women chasing after him. As president of the Ski Club, Freddie organizes a midterm vacation trip to ski country (in gorgeous Sawtooth National Forest) in Idaho. Although they know nothing about skiing, Todd and Craig follow Linda and Barbara on this bus trip, to try to learn "the secret of Freddie's technique".
Once at the rustic ski resort, Todd and Craig pose as frumpy, non-threatening, young English women, Jane and Nora, with terrible accents. When not interrupted by a mysterious ice skating, yodeling polar bear, or toying with psychologically-imbalanced and lederhosen-clad lodge manager Mr. Pevney (Robert Q. Lewis), they observe the girls in their group up close, to learn how to succeed with women, and figure out how they have gone wrong.
To make Linda jealous, Todd attracts the attention of gorgeous, curvy Swedish ski instructor Nita (Bobbi Shaw) when he's dressed as himself. But Freddie becomes obsessed with Craig when Craig is dressed as a woman, not accustomed to girls who play "hard to get". Nita persuades Todd, over Freddie's goading, to compete in a ski jump against Freddie. Todd's jump, featuring absurdly comical special effects, forces Craig to shoot him down, resulting in a broken leg.
Todd crawls through miles of deep snow, late at night, with his broken leg covered in a plaster cast, to Nita's house. Toting a bottle, he learns that Nita is not the exotic minx she pretends to be but aspires to be treated like an "American girl", that is, with much "talk" and little "action".
Back at the lodge, Freddie, still obsessed with Craig's "female" character, Nora, tries to break down "Nora's" room door. Stuck inside, Todd and Craig contemplate their next move as they escape through a window. Somehow they hail a taxi, and rack up an enormous fare to Santa Monica, California. Freddie follows on a moped piloted by fur-coated lodge manager Pevney. The rest of the group abruptly ends its spring break and follows behind on the bus.
Todd and Linda, and Craig and Barbara arrive, with the rest of the group and Pevney, at Todd's parents' beachfront house. There the two couples share their true feelings and the boys surprise the girls with their ruse.
Delusional Freddie swims into the Pacific Ocean convinced that he will catch his beloved brunette-wigged "Nora" who swam off ahead of him and is "somewhere near Guam".
Cast notesAnnette Funicello contributes an opening cameo role as the boys' desirable but modestly dressed biology professor.
Surfing champion Mickey Dora plays a small part.
Avalon and Hickman appeared together again – after trading their character names with each other – in AIP's Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
Meredith Macrae uncredited appeared as the girl on the bus behind Lesley Gore.
Los Angeles City College (a two-year institution in East Hollywood) was the location used for the unnamed university in the film. The outdoor snow scenes were filmed in and around Sun Valley, Idaho, and the film gives screen credit to Idaho's Sawtooth National Forest.
Ski Party is punctuated with musical numbers by Lesley Gore, who sings Marvin Hamlisch's "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows" on the bus, and James Brown & The Famous Flames (Bobby Byrd, Lloyd Stallworth, and Bobby Bennett) who sing and shimmy through "I Got You (I Feel Good)" in the lodge, having been humorously cast as the "white bread" resort's all-black ski patrol.
The Hondells sing two songs written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian – the title track off-camera, then appearing in beach attire for the closing track, "The Gasser" on Sorrento Beach in Santa Monica.
Avalon sings the surf-rock "Lots, Lots More", (by Richie Adams and Larry Kusik) and is joined by Hickman, Walley and Craig for the Holiday-styled "Paintin' the Town", written by Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons.
Walley and Craig sing "We'll Never Change Them", a song by Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner, originally written as "I'll Never Change Him" and sung by Annette Funicello in a scene cut from Beach Blanket Bingo.
This is the only AIP beach party film not scored by Les Baxter. Edwin Norton is credited as the film's music editor and Al Simms as music supervisor.
Samuel Arkoff of AIP stated the film was a commercial disappointment.
The end credits feature a plug for an upcoming AIP film, Cruise Party—a project that never materialised for AIP (although Crown International Pictures did manage to release Scuba Party in 1967 after changing the title to Catalina Caper).
Both Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios produced their versions of snowbound beach party films: Columbia's Winter a Go-Go was released four months later in October 1965, and Universal's Wild Wild Winter was released in January 1966.
Dell Comics published a 12-cent comic book version of Ski Party in conjunction with the movie's release.
Ski Party was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on April 15, 2003 as part of a double-sided disc with Ski Party on side two of the disc, and also on July 10, 2007 as part of the box set The Frankie and Annette Collection with Ski Party on the fourth disc.