Ski for Less

Buying in Bulk & Mid-Season Strategies
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Park City Resort
Standing on the Edge of Savings: Park City Resort offers fab family-specific packages (courtesy, Park City Mountain Resort)

Buy in bulk
If you hope to get in a 30-day ski year and you don't mind concentrating on one resort, consider a season pass—these usually start to pay for themselves after you get past the ten-day mark. Some neighboring ski areas, such as Montana's Moonlight Basin and Big Sky or Utah's Alta and Snowbird resorts, team up to link passes, giving you another resort-full of piste on which to play.

The bulk rule also applies for gear rentals: if you can rent for a week, a month, or a season, your gear costs will decrease exponentially.

If being on the snow is tops for your family, consider a package tailored to you and your brood. Park City Mountain Resort's Family Fun Package offers three-nights lodging, tickets, and ground transportation for a deeply discounted $170, while both Taos Mountain and Vermont's Smuggler's Notch offer discounted family deals with perks sucks as "kids stay free," extra nights, discounted rentals, day care, and ski schools for all ages.

And if you've carved at least a few weeks of your vacation for this trip, target a multi-day pass; resorts with neighboring competition will typically offer good discounts to keep you on their mountain for the duration of your vacation—sometimes as much as a third off day-to-day prices. These are typically issued in three-, four-, and five-day deals, and sometimes include a day off (i.e., ski three days out of four), so you can still do a bit of exploring. Some resorts up the ante if you buy a multi-day ahead of time, or in tandem with a hotel reservation. Cutting these little corners can mean big savings—check with the individual resort websites for additional info.

Timing is everything—even mid-season
Because ski areas get their heaviest traffic mid-season and during school holidays, get around the crowds and the higher costs by avoiding the holidays or by going on a weekday.

"Take your trip in January when the crowds die down and ample winter conditions begin to set in," says Orbitz Mountain Region Manager David De Lalio. "You'll find great deals to boot."

That said, some resorts actually offer cut-rate deals to ski on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, for example. At Killington in Vermont, the pre-Christmas and Christmas Ski-and-Stay packages offer discounted holiday rates on lift tickets and lodging.


Published: 15 Dec 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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