Money-Saving Strategies for Ski Trips

Lodging
Skier lying in snow
Redefining low-frills... (IO2)
Homes Away From Home
Rental properties typically offer greatly discounted rates and access to cost-saving strategies like cooking your own dinners and packing your own lunch (as well as fun add-ons like hot tubs, fireplaces, and balconies). Let our guide to finding the best vacation rentals help you get sorted.
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There's not a resort town in the country that doesn't have jaw-dropping packages this winter. In many areas, hotels offer free lift tickets for people who stay a minimum number of days, and counter-intuitively sometimes staying at the resort isn't always the more expensive option; Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood offers nightly rates as low as $115. Again, check the ski resort website first, and then widen your search.

An alternative to hotels are less-expensive bunk-style hostels. While the United States certainly doesn't have the extensive hostel system found in Europe, there are hostels in the U.S. and Canada that drop the price of a bed to around $20 a night. For deals in Canada, check canadianskihostels.com. In the U.S., try sites like Hostel World or Hostelling International for information on where to find dormitory-style accommodations and other cheap beds. There's also a good group of hostels at resorts such as Crested Butte, Colorado, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, not to mention the well-known Fireside Inn in Breckenridge, Colorado, which offers dormitory beds for under $30 a night. These frill-free accommodations don't generally come with a piano bar and afternoon sherry, but all have working bathrooms and heat.

Even posh, A-list resorts have bedroom communities and bargain-basement lodging that's often as convenient to the slopes as the luxury chalets. You can generally get a cheap bed in town and take public transportation to the mountain. Then spend the cash you've saved having appetizers and a cocktail in the five-star hotel next door.

And, don't forget that you can ski around metropolitan areas like Seattle, Portland, Denver, Bend, Boise, Salt Lake, and even LA. These cities offer top-notch nightlife, cheap hotels, grocery stores, and transportation to world-class areas like Crystal Mountain, Mt. Hood, Arapahoe Basin, Mt. Bachelor, Bogus Basin, Snowbird, Alta, and Big Bear. Keep in mind, too, that it's easy to tack a ski vacation onto a business trip to one of these towns.

If you are traveling with several people, consider a rental property. There are a lot of vacation homes and condos on the market this season. Search local rental sites for winter deals. Chances are you can get a place with a kitchen and a couple of bedrooms for under the cost of a hotel room.


Published: 11 Jan 2010 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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