There are not many options unfortunately. Vail is expensive, but it's so much better than Keystone and Breck, unless you are looking to ride some park.
Option 1: Go to the lift ticket office and pony up for lift tix. Here are the prices:
Option 2: Purchase and Epic Pass. This is probably the best thing to do, but it's too late to purchase one.
Option 3: Make friends with someone that works for the mountain. They get a limited amount of $30 passes. There are a lot of foreigners that work at Vail that sell these because they don't have family come up. To find these individuals, you want to go to the employee housing called Timber Ridge. You can get to Timber Ridge on a free bus from the transportation center, which is right in the heart of Vail. You will want to take the Red line. It runs every 15 minutes. To get back to the Transportation Center, you want to take the Green line. It also runs every 15 minutes. The best times to find employees are when they are getting back from work, which is probably around 4-5PM.
Option 4: Make friends with someone that has an Epic Pass. I might be wrong, but I believe these pass holders get some discounted tix as well, but they are not that cheap, but cheaper than the rack rate.
Option 5: Bring a backpack. Put your jacket in this backpack. Hike a short distance to the bottom of Chair 2, or 26. Hide in the woods and take your jacket out of said backpack. Then jump on the lift. This is illegal. It's not illegal to hike the mountain, but once you jump on the lift, it becomes illegal.