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How to Save on Family Ski Vacations

Updated on November 8, 2009

Arapahoe Basin

Plan Budget-wise Ski Vacations

Some Colorado ski areas, such as Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, have already opened. Snowy slopes are creating a ski waxing frenzy! While others are gearing up for traditional Thanksgiving openings.

Getting the best value without robbing your skiing budget weighs high in hard economical times. People still want to get away from it all, play in the white powder on mountain tops, and experience the best for the least.

Some tips to get the most out of your ski budget:

  • If you absolutely must take your ski vacation over the holidays, pick Thanksgiving over Christmas. Many 'peak season' prices don't begin until the week before Christmas, and some resorts offer special pricing on early-season packages.

  • Take advantage of “fly-in, ski-out” deals. Many times these offers include direct flights to airports with transportation to the lodge. Some resorts offer free shuttles or buses that have inexpensive pickup and drop-off locations.

  • Save on lodging costs by renting a condo or house to share with family or friends.

  • The longer you stay, the less you'll pay per day on lift tickets, lodging and rental ski equipment.

  • Many resorts offer packages that have freebies for children. Crested Butte, for instance, kids under the age of 6 always ski free.

  • Check on the cost of baggage fees when flying. Many times the cost of renting equipment versus transporting your own equipment can offer big savings.

Some of the most affordable ski resorts in Colorado are:

Keystone:Located near Denver, there are lots of lodging and moderately priced condos. A Keystone lift ticket is also valid at Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, plus access to Vail and Beaver Creek.

Steamboat: A beautiful area having great selections of ski-in, ski-out condos and motels. A five-day adult lift ticket, one child aged 12 and younger skis free.

Crested Butte: This resort offers ski free-stay free packages, early season free lift tickets, and many 25 percent lodging discounts. They also offer a deal in which the third airline ticket you purchase is free.

Winter Park: This is the closest resort to Denver, and caters to moderate demographic, no luxury properties, with numerous lodging selections. Some lodging is located within walking distance to the mountain.

Small or mid-sized resorts might have less glitz, but may be geared towards a warm welcome for your family. Most family-friendly resorts offer skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating, sleigh rides, snow blading, snow skating, ice fishing, horseback riding and torchlight parades. So, don't eliminate less glitzy resorts when planning a great ski getaway.

Angle Fire Resort, Angle Fire, New Mexico:This friendly mountain resort is located in the southern Rocky Mountains, just a stones throw from Taos and Santa Fe. It has half-mile children's progressive learning trails, snowball throws and a ski-through teepee and fortress. The Polar Coaster tubing hill has jumps, rails and a times NASTAR race course.

Sunrise Park Resort, Greer, Arizona: This area is in the White Mountains pine forest. It's an easy-going, uncrowded resort on the Apache Reservation. The more than 65 runs offer downhill, cross country skiing, and a 'ski-wee' ski area for children. The Valley of the Sun is just three hours to the south, where you can play a round of golf, or warm up in the resort pool.

Grand Targhee Resort, Alta, Wyoming: The Tetons are famous for top-notch snow conditions. Kids love learning to ski with the help of the Papoose Conveyor and Magic Carpet, that makes it easy to get back up the hill. Being a Powder Scout let kids ages 6 to 14 cruise the mountain with other kids they own age. They can hang out in their own clubhouse and explore with instructors on runs like, Bat Cave, Bird Brains and Wacky Weasel Way.

Big Bear Mountain Resorts, Big Bear Lake, California: This family-friendly resort is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, just north of San Bernardino. After a day on the slopes, families can go tubing at nearby Magic Mountain.


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      7 years ago

      Very helpful tips. Me and my family were doing some of these during a ski vacation.


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