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What are the pain points for researching & booking ski vacations/holidays?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, I'm curious to know how do you go about researching & booking a ski vacation?


1-What are the steps you take to research resorts/book accommodations? (e.g. what sites you use, what factors are most important to you, etc.)


2-What annoys you the most about the research/booking process?


3-If you can find a website that makes the research/booking process more efficient, what type of info would you expect to see there?


Thanks for any help!

post #2 of 6

I use a variety of sites for background info including epicski for US resorts and Snowheads for European resorts.  For most of my travel needs (car, air & hotel) , I like to use a site that checks multiple sites for the best price such as the Kayak/sidestep widget found at the bottom of http://www.skilodgingrental.com/ home page. 


post #3 of 6

There are a lot of do-it-yourselfers on this site.  Most focus on the skiing/riding and not so much on the resort experience or package deals.  Key data points:  what are the cheapest airfares from my city to major ski gateway airports?  If it's a last minute trip, which regions have the best snow at the moment.  List of cheap lodgings near major ski areas.  Lift ticket discount deals.  Car rental deals. Cheap, but good restaurants.  This site addresses some of this:


post #4 of 6

How I decide where to go:  I want a place that a) I've never been before, b) has enough greens that my wife won't get bored, c) has a lot of vertical so I can have nice long runs, d) would be nice if the base elevation wasn't super high, but it's not the end of the world if it is.  Your priorities will probably be different than mine.  I'll get a list of candidates that fit my criteria from the resort survey issue (each October or so) of Ski Magazine, or by just looking at resort websites, onthesnow.com, etc.  Then I'll look at prices.  Sometimes I buy lodging and lift tickets together, sometimes separately.  I've never bought airfare as part of a package deal, but there's no real reason behind that.  That's if I'm flying.


If I'm driving, it's usually just a matter of balancing how far I want to drive versus how big of a hill there is.  I live in the middle of corn.  3 hours in the car will get me 400' vertical.  6 hours will get me 800'.  10 hours will get me 1500'.  It's a tradeoff.  Usually I just go to one of the 400' places and home in the same day.

post #5 of 6

All of the above -- I'll usually contact a couple tour operators, too (loding, lift, air, car rental) and get some quotes worked up on a short-list of destinations I have in mind.  And I usually develop that short list based on the time of the season I'm going (historically, some resorts are better in February than in March, and vice versa) -- I'm often planning and booking months ahead due to time off I have to put in for.  Then I'll research the individual components to see if I can do better.  That will usually depend on the resort -- tour operators won't be able to do much for you if you're going to Alta or Snowbasin, but might do better for you if you're going to Breckenridge or Telluride.  Where tour operators come in handy, especially, is bulk air.  I'm going to Telluride in late March and the cost for a week there came in less through a tour operator than if I handled the individual components myself.  Not an endorsement of tour operators, mind you -- just depends on the destination.  Some of my best trips have been to Alta, but a tour operator wasn't involved (they usually want to provide all or nothing -- can't access their bulk air if they're not selling you lifts and lodging) -- but sometimes those trips to Alta involved killer air rates into SLC -- sales come along.

post #6 of 6

We usually book a condo through VRBO.com.  The package deals never seem to work cheaper whenever I have checked.  We also usually have friends joining from different locations which make the packages difficult.  Sharing a condo with friends is a lot better than being stuck in some hotel.  We have been getting ski-in ski-out places recently; more time on the mountain.  To get the best deals on lodging I usually book our ski trips in September.  We usually get travel insurance just in case things dont work out.

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