Cheaper Colorado Skiing With Hotel, Airfare, & Lift Ticket Deals
Last season the ski resorts really felt the pinch of the economy. This year cheap tickets and discounted lodging are easier to come by.
The third quarter of the year is when most economists agree that the economy started to fall – known to some as ski season. Resorts all over the United States last year were feeling the pressure. Some turned to lay-offs in addition to slashing lift ticket rates. Intrawest, which manages Steamboat, Copper Mountain, and Winter Park resorts was the first to lay off their staff. Intrawest obviously blamed the economy and lack of travel, but also the unseasonably warm weather which made for a short season despite record snowfall.
January is when the doldrums were the worst. Resorts sharply cut their rates and airlines and lodging were soon to follow. The season across the Rockies, and in Colorado in particular ended unseasonably early and in a slump. This year resorts, airlines, and hotels all opened ready to make deals – it is time to make up some ground in their eyes. Whether cheap tickets and discounted travel expenses will revamp ski travel this year is still yet to be determined. However, that does not change the fact that there are some very enticing discounts this season.
Colorado Ski Resort Discounts
The resorts, airlines, and hotels have had all summer to prepare for a new season and a better economy. Discount travel web sites are booming with great deals right now. Even the independent resorts and hidden gems are offering great discounts. Resorts that are often revered for their poor access have incentives of their own. Crested Butte, Colorado is known for great skiing and boarding with minimal lines, but is far from the ‘beaten path’. The resort of Crested Butte is countering its location hindrance by offering free airfare from United Airlines into the tiny airport of Gunnison, Colorado with the purchase of lift tickets.
The big resorts like Steamboat Springs, Colorado are also participating in offering great discounts and cheap tickets. They are currently running promotions for free lift tickets when you book lodging with the resort or 25% off everything when you book a trip for eight or more nights.
Ski Resort and Credit Card Rewards
Vail Resorts, who manages several resorts in Colorado including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Heavenly are also running specials. Checking with both the individual resorts and Vail Resort’s reward program ‘Snow’ to be sure of finding a great deal. Snow (the rewards program) offers its users much more than great prices. Program members receive perks like no ticket or lift lines and rewards earnings for tickets, ski school, and dining purchases.
Be sure to check with your rewards programs and credit card companies. American Express in particular often runs specials with its many affiliates. Now is a great time to use any rewards points and “miles” accumulated. Finally, remember to ask for discounts. AAA members, veterans, and active-duty military members, and many corporate affiliates are eligible for discounts if they ask.
Ski Deals are Worth a Look
Great deals and big savings are available for purchasing this ski season. The savings alone may be the motivation for travel despite the slowly recovering economy. Taking the time and knowing where to look could save the family a lot of money.
7 Ways To Save On Colorado Ski Vacations
Ski vacations can cost upwards of several thousand dollars, but these simple tips make them much more affordable. From lodging to lift tickets to equipment, skiing is known to be a costly hobby. Does that mean a budget ski vacation doesn’t exist? Not necessarily.
There are many ways to ensure your ski vacation doesn’t break the bank. Follow these tips to keep costs in check.
- Travel during non-peak times. During Christmas (12/26-1/2) and President’s Week (2/13-2/23), rates are up to 50% higher than the regular season, and there’s often a five-night minimum. During the value season (the very beginning and end of the ski season), you’ll get the best rates, availability, and packages for your budget. Plus, you won’t have to fight the crowds.
- Book directly through the resort. Lift tickets can cost up to $80 per day at some resorts, but booking directly through the resort can make it more affordable. Call their reservations department first to see if they offer discounted lift tickets, rentals, or lessons. They often offer special discounts just for booking through them.
- Location, location, location. Ski-in/ski-out condos can cost thousands of dollars per night, but you can get much better deals even half a mile away. Seasoned budget travelers will tell you it’s more convenient if you stay on the shuttle route since you can stay further out but still not have to drive to the resort.
- Use shuttles when available. Many ski towns, resorts, and lodges have a free shuttle. If you stay on or near the shuttle route, you don’t have to rent a car, saving hundreds of dollars. Find out if the resort has free overnight ski storage, which makes using the shuttle a lot easier.
- Be aware of last-minute deals. Booking early means having the most choices, but booking later can save money. Call a month or less in advance and you may find relaxed nightly minimums and sometimes more affordable rates.
- Book a condo, not a hotel. The rate at a hotel may be lower, but if you’re traveling with a family it’s best to stay in a condo. They usually have full kitchens, and budget travelers know cooking even a few meals at home is one of the best ways to save money.