Ski Vacations on the Cheap

Ski Vacations on the Cheap
Lift access isn't cheap and ski vacations can get quite expensive. Whether you're a solo skier trying to cut costs to allow for an extra trip or two during the season, or a family man trying to find a way to afford a ski vacation for the whole family, cutting costs may mean the difference between a trip to the destination resort you've been drooling over and a few weekend getaways to the local hill.

Timing

Start early. Look for early season package deals and also purchase season passes and lift ticket packages as early as possible to get the best prices. Start looking in the spring or summer preceding the ski season. Alternately, late season packages also often offer significant savings. Stay away from peak holiday periods whenever possible. Typically, the busiest, most expensive time for ski vacations are between Christmas and early January, President's Day week and Martin Luther King Day week. March can also be busy with spring break travelers.

Information

Get on a few mailing lists for the resorts that you want to travel to. No one likes spam, but getting email updates on package deals will give you an easy way of keeping track of the best prices and finding that great deal right away.

Free Skiing

If you'll be skiing with children, check around for resorts that let young children ski free with their parents or guardian. Some resorts, including Steamboat and Park City, also offer free skiing the day of arrival, so plan to get there early and take advantage.

Discount Skiing

Discount lift tickets can be purchased at a variety of locations both online and around the mountain. Liftopia is a good source for online discounts. Some resorts also offer discount e-tickets. In town, you may be able to find discount lift tickets at ski shops, sporting good stores and even gas stations. Check ahead of time, as not all resort towns have outlets to purchase discount tickets.

Packages

Book lodging and activities all at once to save money with a package deal. You may even find that your package costs less than just one piece would have. Book things like transportation, lodging, lift tickets, ski school and rentals together. Consider calling the resort or hotel rather than booking online as customer service reps may be able to offer an even better deal than you found online.

Location

Consider traveling to smaller reputation resorts. The larger destination resorts are generally the most crowded and expensive. Many lower profile resorts offer the same great skiing with lower lift ticket and lodging prices and less crowds. Check the state skiing association of where you plan to travel to get some information on resorts you're not as familiar with.

Food

For groups and families, consider renting a condo rather than a hotel room. While this will probably cost more money up front, kitchen facilities will allow you to save a lot of money on expensive resort restaurants. Also, pack a lunch when possible and avoid eating at overpriced ski resort lodges.

Equipment

Weigh the expenses associated with equipment closely. While it was traditionally cheaper to bring your own equipment rather than rent, increased airline baggage fees may make renting a cheaper option. This depends on the individual airline pricing, but is something to bear in mind. Shipping gear via UPS or another carrier is another option to consider and may work well for the solo traveler.

Resources

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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