If you think it is impossible to stay in 4 and 5 star accommodations and ski some of North America's best resorts for under $100 per day, then read the 4 local tips below and start planning your next ski trip now.
1. Buy your Lift Tickets NOW: Discounted season pass works out to less than $30 per day for as few as 7 to 10 days skiing, so you don't have to be a local to benefit pricing. Summit Value, Epic Local, A-Basin Bonus and Copper Mountain Season Passes currently offer unlimited skiing at up to 7 resorts for as little as $209 for kids, $299 for teens and $369 for adults. Plan to ski less than 7 days? Check out the Loveland transferable 4 pack online for $129 while the Copper 4 pack is available in person for $149.
Prices usually increase as the season approaches and the best deals are usually gone by mid-November, so buy now to save big money over ticket window prices.
2. Book Lodging Rental directly from an owner willing to price competitively or use a site that compares multiple properties from multiple suppliers with a single simple search. Examples include: Ski Country Luxury at Chalet Frisco for under $30 per day per person. Hotels Combined search of thousands of hotels from multiple suppliers on this site. By seeing what everyone is charging in a single search, you can be sure to never over pay for your favorite hotel.
3. Resort Food can be a budget buster, but there are ways to keep things under control without having Top Ramen every night.
- Hit the Local Market- Prices are decent at many local markets like Safeway in Frisco. For better quality and amazingly competitive prices, get your organic food at Natural Grocers-Vitamin Cottage in Dillon. While doing your shopping get easy to prepare items like cereal and orange juice as well as snacks and your favorite beverages. Better choices and much more economical to bring these with you to the resort rather than pay on mountain prices.
- Make it a Group Affair- While cooking every night doesn't seem like much of a vacation, dining in 3 to 5 nights a week can be quite manageable if everyone pitches in. With a larger group of 8 to 10, including at least 3-5 adults who are willing to supervise/prepare a meal once during the week, it can be really simple. Just remember that water boils at a lower temperature at altitude, so pasta and eggs take longer to cook.
- On Mountain Discounts- While packing your own sandwich will certainly help the food budget, it is not exactly what most would consider a luxury vacation. Fortunately, many of the Resorts have some less expensive options that offer good quality and value. At Vail Resort properties (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge), look out for "Lunch for Less" deals that usually include a meal with drink for under $10. Combine this with a Vail Mountain Meal card (10 to 20% discount at all Vail Resort Dining when purchased BEFORE your arrival). If you are skiing Copper, check out upstairs below the Super Bee lift for a handful of weekly $6 choices (2011 prices not including drink).
- Lunchtime Indulgence- While dinner at Keystone's Alpenglow Stube located on North Peak is likely to set you back $100 per person, lunch could be had in 2011 for $20 plus tax and tip. Their elegant buffet which starts with your choice of hot soup includes cold seafood, salad, bread, cheese and dessert. Add a hot entree for another $12. Check your ski boots at the door, throw on some comfy slippers and warm up by the fire while enjoying white linen service.
- Local Discounts while Dining Out- While the best 2 for 1 and 50% off deals are most easily found between Easter and Thanksgiving, be sure to check out a free copy of the Summit Daily or Vail Daily available online and at local new stands in Summit and Eagle counties. Personal dining favorites include Vinny's (Frisco), Nozawa (Dillon), Sweet Basil (Vail) and Ember (Breckenridge).
4. Have fun and be sure to bring the sun cream...in addition to great snow
and a long season (A-Basin closed for the 2010-11 season July 4, 2011 and re-opened October 13 for the 2011-12 season) Colorado gets a lot of sun!