Cheap Ski Vacations

by Meg Massie 
Posted Dec 9th 2010 08:59 AMUpdated Jan 11th 2011 04:38 PM

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cheap ski vacations

For many hard core skiers, the end of summer immediately triggers thoughts of the first snow and early skiing. For the casual thrill-seeker, planning a cheap ski vacation may not occur until the last minute. Whatever the level of enthusiasm, it's certain that traveling to the top ski destinations in the United States, Europe, or elsewhere can be quite expensive. But there are things you can do when planning your next cheap ski holiday that will help you fit winter fun into your budget.

1. Plan your ski trip outside the peak season. In the Northern Hemisphere, passes and tickets are generally cheaper during September and October, and then again in March and April. This isn't to say that discount ski vacations aren't to be had during the peak months. However, rates do tend to go up across the board during the peak months. Also, remember that peak season may differ slightly by location, so do your research.

2. Take a cheap ski vacation during the week. Weekends on the slopes are almost always going to be the busiest times, and travel and resort operators know this. If your schedule is even a little flexible, do yourself a favor and compare rates on airfare, resorts, and lift passes between weekends and weekdays. You'll likely find significant savings.

3. Ski vacation packages are usually the best way to save. There is great savings to be found in organized ski packages. You have several options for finding these packages. First, travel aggregators like Expedia and Orbitz have special sections of their site set aside to help you find discount ski vacations. Another option is to look for specialized winter travel carriers in the location you're targeting. For example, if you're thinking about heading to Colorado, then a company like SnowVentures may be just what you need to save money on your ski trip.

4. For your next ski vacation, travel in a group. Whether as a family or with a group of friends, many ski operators offer special group rates on resorts, lift passes, and rentals. It may sound boring, but even going with a tourist group for your next ski holiday could net you some serious savings.

5. If you're looking for last-minute ski deals, try a travel agent. As many travel agents tend to buy allotments of tickets during the winter ski season, they'll frequently offer last-minute discounts to ensure that they sell most if not all of their allotment. Don't be afraid to ask them if they have a cheap ski vacation available. Travel agents and resort owners will sometimes have specials set aside for people who ask for cheaper rates.

Here are some other tidbits of advice that may help you have a cheap ski holiday:

• Consider less-traveled places for skiing. In the U.S., for example, have you thought about a Michigan ski vacation?
• Save money by packing your own lunch for eating on the mountain
• Consider if your group truly needs to rent a car. Shuttles often go from the airport to resorts.
• Consider a bed and breakfast rather than a resort.
• Follow some of Gadling travel writer Amy Chen's advice for how to find affordable ski deals.

Photo by eric.surfdude from Flickr

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Tony Smith

We have been with my family on Ski Vacation. I was really satisfied after I subscribed with ThinkRentals.com because they offer the most affordable and best vacation rentals and SKI Vacation for your family. I hope they would also experience the unforgettable moments that I had with my family last December.

February 22 2011 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Thank you for your comments Shawn. Looks like not too many people posted. That's too bad. Yes a tourist group is one thing, but to look specifically for a local ski club is a great option. Good luck to you.

December 11 2010 at 12:33 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Main point missed, find out about a ski club, for example, the Miami Ski Club at miamiskiclub.com they plan trips, get discounts on lodging, air, and lift tickets. You can be from anywhere to go with them.

December 09 2010 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
Shawn Douglas

@Karen: Ahhh, the ski club! Indeed, this is definitely worth mentioning. It goes along nicely with point four about traveling in groups. Thanks for the comment!

Shawn

December 10 2010 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
timyostdc

This is possibly the most useless article ever written. If you really want to save money, here are the real ways to do it:

Airfare: Plan your trip and book your airfare in the spring or summer before your trip is planned. Watch for airfare sales, costantly check ticket costs for the 10 months prior to your trip and be ready to book when they are cheap. Use a site like Kayak.com that lets you put in search criteria such as "flexible dates +/- 3 days" and "search airports nearby". Sometimes tickets can be $100-$200 more or less just for flying on certain days of the week. If you book early enough you will usually find tickets for less than $300. Major hubs are always cheaper. Fortunately, Denver is a major United hub and Salt Lake City is a major Delta hub. These happen to be the 2 best airports in the US as far as world class skiing and convenience go. Also join a frequent flyer program and utilize the rewards as much as possible. Free tickets are to be had if you work the system correctly.

Lodging: You pretty much get what you pay for here. Ski in/out lodging options are always a lot more expensive but they provide the most pleasurable experience. Determine what is important to you and then search your fingertips off online. Email travel agents. Search travel websites. Look at as many different options as possible. Lodging by far takes the most research if you want to find a good deal.

Lift Tickets: Try to find discount lift tickets online. Sometimes there will be a ski shop that sells discount lift tickets. Sometimes you can find people selling vouchers or unused tickets on ebay. You can't save too much money here but every little bit counts.

Misc: Travel with friends. The larger the group you can put together, the cheaper your trip will be. When you are sharing the costs amongst friends it really cuts down on your individual bill. If you are bringing your family, try to get another family to come along and share a cabin or condo.

I'm going to Park City with 2 friends for 8 days in Feb. I paid $270 round trip non stop airfare, $210 for a nice hotel room that the 3 of us are sharing and $110 for a rental SUV (midsize 5 seater). I found a store in SLC that sells discount lift tickets that we will visit to buy them from when we get there. So for air, hotel and rental car, I spent less than $600. Airfare was booked in July. Hotel and rental car were booked in October. I booked the rental car fpr is through Delta Skymiles rewards and paid roughly half of the published internet rate from the same rental car company.

December 09 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to timyostdc's comment
Shawn Douglas

@timyostdc: I'm sorry you found the article to be "possibly the most useless article ever written." However, you seem to have copied some of the exact same "useless" information that I had.

I said "For your next ski vacation, travel in a group" and you replied with "The larger the group you can put together, the cheaper your trip will be."

I said "If you're looking for last-minute ski deals, try a travel agent" and you said "Email travel agents."

I will give you a point for talking about searching for surrounding airports and using a flexible search feature. Those are things I've espoused in past articles, but I didn't mention it on this one.

All said, thanks for taking the time to comment, but next time be a little more constructive with your criticism, especially if you're going to repeat some of the same things I said in the article.

Regards,

Shawn

December 10 2010 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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