Fireside views of snow-draped slopes and dreams of brisk trail runs tempt many travelers to hit the slopes during the winter season. The price tag doesn’t have to be prohibitive, however. Here are four savvy strategies to have a stylish ski getaway for less.
Many ski venues offer no-cost lift tickets to entice travelers. For example, Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia allows children younger than 5 to ski, tube and skate for free all season. Complimentary mountain tours with experienced snow hosts are also offered every morning and afternoon to familiarize skiers with the resort’s trails. Similarly, Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon permits children up to eighteen years of age to ski for free all season with the purchase of one adult multi-day ticket. Big Tupper in the New York Adirondacks lets active duty military members ski for free all season.
Booking lodging away from the slopes is a huge money-saving strategy. Ski instructor Kathy Bechtel of Italia Outdoors, an adventure tour company, agrees. Bechtel points to the town of Bolzano in Italy’s Trento-Alto Adige region as offering off-mountain accommodation value along with culture and charm. Traveler Leonard Lee uses a similar strategy for ski getaways to Salt Lake City, Utah where affordable urban motels offer significant savings compared to higher-priced resorts in the mountains.
Vacationer Lori Lenz recently started planning her first ski trip. Her main hurdle? The specialized clothing necessary for a comfortable ski experience. Determined to get the best prices possible, Lenz is using several online savings strategies. For example, she saved $170 on a quality-brand ski jacket by purchasing it in gently-used condition on Ebay. Steepandcheap.com is another must-check resource, according to Lenz. The site offers daily discounts on many ski-specific gear items such as sunglasses, insulated pants and more.
Booking months in advance to get the best deal leaves you susceptible to the whims of Mother Nature. When unpredictable snowfall impacts ski conditions, it pays to know your resort’s refund policies. ResortQuest.com for example, has a snow guarantee program which allows travelers to check the projected ski conditions at their chosen venue prior to departure. If it looks iffy, they’ll transfer your lodging reservations to a comparable participating resort, based on availability. Since the program includes several resorts in Colorado, planning your getaway to that state makes it possible to travel between venues with your rental car, skipping air fare change fees altogether.
Photo Credit: Skistar Trysil