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Free flying - advice for cheap last minute lodging for a solo traveler? [Taos, SLC, etc.]

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

My father spent 37 years flying for an airline and retired earlier this year.  As part of retirement he gets buddy passes for free flying (space available) that he gives to me.

 

So I can travel for free any time there is space (which is common on the small seasonal flights going into ski towns).  I love skiing alone, and used to camp in the back of my Forester at the Alpine Meadows parking lot in my base layers and sleeping bag on powder days.

 

I'd love some ideas/advice on how to travel on the cheap, given that it's just me traveling and it'll be last minute (when a storm is on the way).  I'm in my 30s and married, so I don't really care about nightlife, social stuff, or luxury lodging - I just want to turn first chair on deep days, then get work done in the afternoons/evenings.  

 

Almost all the AirBNB and VRBO stuff I see is entire cabins or apartments.  I'm fine with couch surfing, renting spare bedrooms, or bringing a sleeping bag and air mattress.  Any advice on where I could look to find cheap rooms/couches?  

 

Also, Any advice on where to find guides to ride with for a day or two to possibly include some sidecountry riding?  I'd love to get a few good days in at places I've never been before - Taos, Alta, Kicking Horse, etc.   

 

Thanks,

Jason

post #2 of 28

There is a Couchsurfing organization that hooks up people that want just what you do. They have a website. I think Airbnb has changed a lot. Most of units now are owned by people that have multiple units just for rental purposes. I'd still keep checking, though--there's got to be some people that do it the (relatively) old fashioned way. 

 

What about hostels? Whistler has one, so does Jackson Hole; I'm sure there are more. You mentioned Alta--SLC must have at least one if not more.

post #3 of 28

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason-Ada View Post
 

My father spent 37 years flying for an airline and retired earlier this year.  As part of retirement he gets buddy passes for free flying (space available) that he gives to me.

 

So I can travel for free any time there is space (which is common on the small seasonal flights going into ski towns).  I love skiing alone, and used to camp in the back of my Forester at the Alpine Meadows parking lot in my base layers and sleeping bag on powder days.

 

I'd love some ideas/advice on how to travel on the cheap, given that it's just me traveling and it'll be last minute (when a storm is on the way).  I'm in my 30s and married, so I don't really care about nightlife, social stuff, or luxury lodging - I just want to turn first chair on deep days, then get work done in the afternoons/evenings.  

 

Almost all the AirBNB and VRBO stuff I see is entire cabins or apartments.  I'm fine with couch surfing, renting spare bedrooms, or bringing a sleeping bag and air mattress.  Any advice on where I could look to find cheap rooms/couches?  

 

Also, Any advice on where to find guides to ride with for a day or two to possibly include some sidecountry riding?  I'd love to get a few good days in at places I've never been before - Taos, Alta, Kicking Horse, etc.   

 

Thanks,

Jason

 

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post
 

There is a Couchsurfing organization that hooks up people that want just what you do. They have a website. I think Airbnb has changed a lot. Most of units now are owned by people that have multiple units just for rental purposes. I'd still keep checking, though--there's got to be some people that do it the (relatively) old fashioned way. 

 

What about hostels? Whistler has one, so does Jackson Hole; I'm sure there are more. You mentioned Alta--SLC must have at least one if not more.

 

Couchsurfing looks promising - I signed up for an account and will message people there.

 

Looks like hostelz.com is a good database of hostels as well.  Will experiment with that too.

 

Thanks,

Jason

post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason-Ada View Post
 

My father spent 37 years flying for an airline and retired earlier this year.  As part of retirement he gets buddy passes for free flying (space available) that he gives to me.

 

So I can travel for free any time there is space (which is common on the small seasonal flights going into ski towns).  I love skiing alone, and used to camp in the back of my Forester at the Alpine Meadows parking lot in my base layers and sleeping bag on powder days.

 

I'd love some ideas/advice on how to travel on the cheap, given that it's just me traveling and it'll be last minute (when a storm is on the way).  I'm in my 30s and married, so I don't really care about nightlife, social stuff, or luxury lodging - I just want to turn first chair on deep days, then get work done in the afternoons/evenings.  

 

Almost all the AirBNB and VRBO stuff I see is entire cabins or apartments.  I'm fine with couch surfing, renting spare bedrooms, or bringing a sleeping bag and air mattress.  Any advice on where I could look to find cheap rooms/couches?  

 

Also, Any advice on where to find guides to ride with for a day or two to possibly include some sidecountry riding?  I'd love to get a few good days in at places I've never been before - Taos, Alta, Kicking Horse, etc.   

 

Thanks,

Jason


Welcome to EpicSki!  Keep hoping my kid will consider being a flight attendant ;)

 

For places like Taos or Alta, look around the on-going regional threads.  Post up and introduce yourself.  Or start a thread a week or so before you arrive.  Stand a good chance of hooking up either with a local or a traveling Bear who knows the place well.  There is a complete list at the top of Resorts, Conditions & Travel.

 

For Taos, hook up with @KingGrump for plenty of guided adventures.

 

post #6 of 28

What airline and what's your departure gateway?

 

I've got S4 buddy passes on Delta and it's not nearly as easy as it used to be, to get on flights, especially if you have to connect.

I used to fly into SLC and ANC a lot, but you need to be vary flexible.

post #7 of 28

Since you have air taken care of your next expenses are:

Lodging-couch surfing is a possibility, but guessing a lot of pressure in ski areas.  Hostels can be cheap.  Motel6 that have the renovated interior are a real good buy.  Small kitchens can save on food.

Food-the more you eat out, the more it is going to cost.  Only drink water with meals.  Try to make as much as you can in your room

Tickets-Mountain Collective Pass could be right up your alley.  Otherwise search with just this year as parameters.

Transportation-not renting a car can save a good amount, but public transport takes more effort.  If you can no car.

Night life-if there is a town go visit all the art shops and other shops.  Just walk around, make conversation, buy nothing.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Welcome to EpicSki!  Keep hoping my kid will consider being a flight attendant ;)

 

For places like Taos or Alta, look around the on-going regional threads.  Post up and introduce yourself.  Or start a thread a week or so before you arrive.  Stand a good chance of hooking up either with a local or a traveling Bear who knows the place well.  There is a complete list at the top of Resorts, Conditions & Travel.

 

For Taos, hook up with @KingGrump for plenty of guided adventures.

 

 

 

Thanks, will do.  I'd be stoked to find locals to take a few laps with if that worked out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

What airline and what's your departure gateway?

 

I've got S4 buddy passes on Delta and it's not nearly as easy as it used to be, to get on flights, especially if you have to connect.

I used to fly into SLC and ANC a lot, but you need to be vary flexible.

 

SFO or SJC and United.  So directs to Reno, Mammoth, Aspen, Denver, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Bozeman, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

Since you have air taken care of your next expenses are:

Lodging-couch surfing is a possibility, but guessing a lot of pressure in ski areas.  Hostels can be cheap.  Motel6 that have the renovated interior are a real good buy.  Small kitchens can save on food.

Food-the more you eat out, the more it is going to cost.  Only drink water with meals.  Try to make as much as you can in your room

Tickets-Mountain Collective Pass could be right up your alley.  Otherwise search with just this year as parameters.

Transportation-not renting a car can save a good amount, but public transport takes more effort.  If you can no car.

Night life-if there is a town go visit all the art shops and other shops.  Just walk around, make conversation, buy nothing.

 

Wise advice.  I'm not too worried about food/booze costs, I'm more interested in avoiding the $400-500/night for lodging for last minute trips.  I own my own company, so most of my afternoons/evenings will be working.  I dig the Mountain Collective, especially since I try to get in at least one Chamonix trip a year (It's worth the trip if you've never been).

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason-Ada View Post
 
 

SFO or SJC and United.  So directs to Reno, Mammoth, Aspen, Denver, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Bozeman, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

Since you have air taken care of your next expenses are:

Lodging-couch surfing is a possibility, but guessing a lot of pressure in ski areas.  Hostels can be cheap.  Motel6 that have the renovated interior are a real good buy.  Small kitchens can save on food.

Food-the more you eat out, the more it is going to cost.  Only drink water with meals.  Try to make as much as you can in your room

Tickets-Mountain Collective Pass could be right up your alley.  Otherwise search with just this year as parameters.

Transportation-not renting a car can save a good amount, but public transport takes more effort.  If you can no car.

Night life-if there is a town go visit all the art shops and other shops.  Just walk around, make conversation, buy nothing.

 

Wise advice.  I'm not too worried about food/booze costs, I'm more interested in avoiding the $400-500/night for lodging for last minute trips.  I own my own company, so most of my afternoons/evenings will be working.  I dig the Mountain Collective, especially since I try to get in at least one Chamonix trip a year (It's worth the trip if you've never been).

Don't wait too long if you are thinking seriously about the Mountain Collective.  Price will go up again in a few weeks based on what happened in 2014.

 

For SLC, several decent low cost options in terms of motels at the base of LCC/BCC.  If you don't want to mess with public transportation, can rent a 2WD car and take the ski bus if needed because of snow on the canyon roads.  Same applies to Jackson Hole if you stay in the town of Jackson, with even less need for a car.

 

Bunch of folks will be in Aspen in early Feb for the big annual EpicSki Gathering.  Come join us!  Easiest way to make new friends to ski with in the future.

post #10 of 28
Get an MCP!

Aspen will be you best bet. Fly out on a weekend in March, you can catch the 8:30 out of SFO, land at 11:45.
Take the free bus into town and dump your stuff at the St. Moritz. On the hill by 1, last bucket is 4:05. Eat at the bar of a high end restruant for 50% off. Ski Highlands the next day or two, then catch the 8pm back to SFO.

Most of the other ski town won't really work, without blowing a day or two of traveling.

SLC, YVR and DEN all work because of late flights, but you pretty much have to rent a car.
post #11 of 28

A great bet for cheap last-minute lodging is bigger cities with a local ski area nearby. If you watch where the snow's going and follow the powder, you can probably have a great time at a lot of less famous hills near cities with nonstop SFO service:

Portland--Mount Hood

Seattle--Crystal or Stevens Pass

Las Vegas--Lee Canyon, Brian Head, Eagle Point

Boise--Bogus Basin

Fresno--China Peak

Renting a car and getting a motel room any of those spots should be less than slopeside lodging at most resorts. They can also be an effective backup plan in case the flight you want fills up.

 

Also note that United serves Calgary (Sunshine Village/Lake Louise, on the Mountain Collective Pass) and Montrose (about halfway between Telluride and Crested Butte, with relatively inexpensive motels) along with the other spots you listed.

post #12 of 28

Show me a better bargain in the US for near-slopeside accommodations at a major ski resort than
the $40 bunks in the dorm of the Chateau Après Lodge, Park City including breakfast and two blocks from the lifts. 

image

 

Another possibility; Turntable Motel in Minturn, CO (between Vail and Beaver Creek, five miles to each), small but private room, runs about $45 per night.

image 

post #13 of 28

You mentioned Taos in your OP. The Snowmansion has a good reputation as being a cheap, clean and friendly hostle. http://www.snowmansion.com/Taos-Lodging.html

post #14 of 28
Trouble with ABQ, your blowing a day each way. Might as well go to Japan.

Remember, your literally the last guy walking onto the plane. Learn to pack everything you need, into as small of carry on as possible. It might be going under the seat in front of you.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Don't wait too long if you are thinking seriously about the Mountain Collective.  Price will go up again in a few weeks based on what happened in 2014.

 

For SLC, several decent low cost options in terms of motels at the base of LCC/BCC.  If you don't want to mess with public transportation, can rent a 2WD car and take the ski bus if needed because of snow on the canyon roads.  Same applies to Jackson Hole if you stay in the town of Jackson, with even less need for a car.

 

Bunch of folks will be in Aspen in early Feb for the big annual EpicSki Gathering.  Come join us!  Easiest way to make new friends to ski with in the future.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Get an MCP!

Aspen will be you best bet. Fly out on a weekend in March, you can catch the 8:30 out of SFO, land at 11:45.
Take the free bus into town and dump your stuff at the St. Moritz. On the hill by 1, last bucket is 4:05. Eat at the bar of a high end restruant for 50% off. Ski Highlands the next day or two, then catch the 8pm back to SFO.

Most of the other ski town won't really work, without blowing a day or two of traveling.

SLC, YVR and DEN all work because of late flights, but you pretty much have to rent a car.

 

I've never skied Aspen - I'm looking forward to it!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

A great bet for cheap last-minute lodging is bigger cities with a local ski area nearby. If you watch where the snow's going and follow the powder, you can probably have a great time at a lot of less famous hills near cities with nonstop SFO service:

Portland--Mount Hood

Seattle--Crystal or Stevens Pass

Las Vegas--Lee Canyon, Brian Head, Eagle Point

Boise--Bogus Basin

Fresno--China Peak

Renting a car and getting a motel room any of those spots should be less than slopeside lodging at most resorts. They can also be an effective backup plan in case the flight you want fills up.

 

Also note that United serves Calgary (Sunshine Village/Lake Louise, on the Mountain Collective Pass) and Montrose (about halfway between Telluride and Crested Butte, with relatively inexpensive motels) along with the other spots you listed.

 

I did a summer hiking trip to Banff this year - was amazing - I'm hoping to get up there to ski this year as well.  I've done Red, Whitewater, and Revelstoke, but never Lake Louise or Kicking Horse.  Unfortunately United canceled it's SFO - Kelowna this season, so I'll have to go up via Calgary.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Show me a better bargain in the US for near-slopeside accommodations at a major ski resort than
the $40 bunks in the dorm of the Chateau Après Lodge, Park City including breakfast and two blocks from the lifts. 

 

 

Another possibility; Turntable Motel in Minturn, CO (between Vail and Beaver Creek, five miles to each), small but private room, runs about $45 per night.

 

 

Looks great, thanks for the recommendations.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post
 

You mentioned Taos in your OP. The Snowmansion has a good reputation as being a cheap, clean and friendly hostle. http://www.snowmansion.com/Taos-Lodging.html

 

Looks great, it's on my list now.   Let it snow!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Trouble with ABQ, your blowing a day each way. Might as well go to Japan.

Remember, your literally the last guy walking onto the plane. Learn to pack everything you need, into as small of carry on as possible. It might be going under the seat in front of you.

 

Yep, yep.  Between my laptop bag and carry on (with collapsible poles) plus the ski boots over the shoulder, I can carry on everything but my skis and can rent if the skis don't make the flight.

post #16 of 28
Okay, since you mentioned Sun Valley, don't be fooled by its reputation as a supposedly expensive destination. It's not. There are motels in town that are fine and should be generally less than $150. There are inexpensive places to eat both on mountain and off. You don't need a car to get around, the buses are free, though you'll have to pay to get from the airport to town. It's on the Mountain Collective.
post #17 of 28

I also bought a MCP and will be visiting Lake Louise and Sunshine next Feb. for 2 days.  Do check out their website (ski big 3?) about lodging.  It offers various price range.  Keep in mind exchange rate is very favorable (~$ 1.36CDN to $1 USD).  Also, MCP does offer 25% off in some hotels.  I booked a hotel in downtown Banff for 2 nights, it is about $130 CDN total.  As you know, ski pass covers shuttle transport to Sunshine/LL/Norquay, so you don't need to worry about renting a car.  As for transportation back to Calgary airport, you can take Greyhound?  That's what I am planning to do. (there are some private companies offer shuttle bus from Banff back to Calgary but they are more expensive than Greyhound).  

I also did a hiking trip to Banff and LL this mid Sept., the scenery there is simply stunning.  I am excited to go back there in winter.  I took the lift chair in LL (one of those touristy thing you do i guess) and hiked in Sunshine.  Both places had snow already in Sept.  I understand there is also skating rink open in winter time near Fairmont Chateau in LL?  Saw the pic. and it is pretty.  I guess one of those things you can consider to do at night time also....  

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Show me a better bargain in the US for near-slopeside accommodations at a major ski resort than
the $40 bunks in the dorm of the Chateau Après Lodge, Park City including breakfast and two blocks from the lifts. 

image

 

Another possibility; Turntable Motel in Minturn, CO (between Vail and Beaver Creek, five miles to each), small but private room, runs about $45 per night.

image 


Picture one looks like a scaled down version of a scene from "Full Metal Jacket"...

 

Picture two, with the brown bag is ... what it is .

post #19 of 28

The Hostel at Jackson Hole is a 100 yard walk to the lift and you can ski to the doorstep at the end of the day. A bed in a 4 bunk dorm room is about $25 per night. I stayed there for a few days last year and I highly recommend it. If you're staying in any hostel or dorm be sure to bring earplugs and an eye mask. 

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by goranmilos View Post

 

 

Picture two, with the brown bag is ... what it is .

I survived two weeks in that 8' x 10' room with one stinking coat hanger.:rotflmao:The bed was actually pretty comfortable, sort of a large twin.  Shower was good and hot.  It had an old tv that didn't receive any channels and had a vcr player with no tapes.  Forced me to do without tv the whole time which I did not miss and was a blessing in disguise.  But location, location.  Five miles in either direction to Vail and Beaver Creek with county bus connection to Vail and numerous walkable restaurants including good breakfast diner on site and adjacent to Minturn Saloon.

 

This could turn into a thread about hostels.  Good tip on Hostel X.  I forgot to check it out on a visit to Jackson last winter.  There are a lot of motels in Jackson for under $75 per night and buses to ski area.  I've stayed in quite a few hostels on ski trips including Abominable Snowmansion near Taos back in March 1992. It was real crowded at that time and I didn't have plugs and eyemask.:rolleyes 

Have stayed in some decent ones in New England such as Tmax-N-Topo's in Lake Placid NY,  White Mtns Hostel in Conway NH, Maine Roadhouse (now closed?) near Saddleback ME (also possibly closed), and Hostel Tevere near Sugarbush VT (very sturdy and comfy bunks below):

 

The dorms at Alta/Snowbird might be good for the OP in springtime when they can get pretty affordable.  Do some of the cheap casino hotels in Reno still do bus service to Tahoe ski resorts? 

post #21 of 28
The trouble with flying on a non rev pass, you just never know if you'll make it to your destination. So you can't make any reservations that involve a cancelation fee.
Weather disruptions can leave you stuck for days, because the planes are full of revenue paying, rebooked passengers.

Time was more critical than money for me, thus my aversion to burning a day on travel.
Plus that's just another night the Op will need to pay for lodging.

SLC is a good first destination. You can scan weather forecasts to predict powder days and yet the airport doesn't close that often.
Rent a car without a cancelation fee. Fly in early and ski a half day at Alta. The Peruvian will often give you a single Nordic for only a slight premium over the dorm. The family style dinning is a nice way to meet people for a solo traveler.
post #22 of 28
To each his own ...

I had good experiences staying at SLT and Reno casino hotels and nearby motels. SLC has plenty of cheap motels, $60/night midweek is fairly easy to find.

Trick is to avoid peak times, stay away from Friday-Sunday and try to ski and stay at less "popular" resort destinations and be willing to commute to the nearest uphill transportation/lift (no ski in/ski out).
post #23 of 28

Key to me is having a rental car then you've got the ultimate in flexibility - SLC pretty much anywhere is within a relatively easy drive of the slopes, Reno fine for North Shore Tahoe, Carson Valley or SLC not bad for Kirkwood & Heave, Frisco/Dillon not bad for Summit,  Glenwood or Carbondale for doing Aspen with cheap lodging.  Places like Whitefish, Baker -pretty cheap motels available.  Most Canadian resorts have either a nearby town on Hwy 1 or 3 with motels etc.

post #24 of 28
I've been ignoring this thread because of the list of places in the title, then fatbob practically summoned me by referring to Whitefish.

Now that I see you don't need a major air hub and there's no price issue on air, it certainly makes a lot of sense to use that to go where others don't because of the air issue. Lift tickets here are relatively cheap compared to other "destination resorts". There is on mountain lodging, including a hostel-level place called Hibernation House that has packages** including lift tickets.
Whitefish-HibernationHouse-06.jpg
Then, downtown, there is the Whitefish Hostel, walk to the Snow Bus (free).

33599h.jpg
Benefits of being downtown are more restaurants and shops. Downside is worrying about bus schedules.

**Current Hibernation House promo (they change)
Ski and Stay for $86
At the Hibernation House.
Offer Valid Sunday – Thursday nights for lodging and Monday – Friday for lift ticket portion. Valid on lift tickets and lodging. $86 per person per day/night, breakfast included – that’s less than a lift ticket alone at most of our competitors. Just sayin’.*
*Two night minimum stay required. Excludes the nights of 12/18/15 – 1/2/16 and 2/12/16 – 2/18/15. Price is per person, per day/night and based on double occupancy at the Hibernation House only. Taxes and fees not included. Based on availability and not valid with other promotions, offers or specials. Other restrictions may apply. Promo Code: HH86
Edited by sibhusky - 11/24/15 at 9:27am
post #25 of 28

I regularly do slc on the cheap because you don't need a car to get to the slopes. Their light rail system combined with the ski bus allows me to do this on $9/day last year. Also the hostel i stay at 'camelot inn & hostel' is $24/night. For lift tickets just have a smartphone handy and use liftopia so i have a choice of four different resorts to choose from. If you come later in the year you can catch a bus from slc to park city. 

post #26 of 28

If you can get to mammoth airport. i've stayed at davison street guest house you could probably bum a ride to the slopes since its just about only skiers who stay there during the winter. there is a new place called 'moderne hostel' that recently opened thats right across from the bus stop to mammoth ski resort. 

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post

A great bet for cheap last-minute lodging is bigger cities with a local ski area nearby. If you watch where the snow's going and follow the powder, you can probably have a great time at a lot of less famous hills near cities with nonstop SFO service:
Portland--Mount Hood
Seattle--Crystal or Stevens Pass
Las Vegas--Lee Canyon, Brian Head, Eagle Point
Boise--Bogus Basin
Fresno--China Peak
Renting a car and getting a motel room any of those spots should be less than slopeside lodging at most resorts. They can also be an effective backup plan in case the flight you want fills up.

Also note that United serves Calgary (Sunshine Village/Lake Louise, on the Mountain Collective Pass) and Montrose (about halfway between Telluride and Crested Butte, with relatively inexpensive motels) along with the other spots you listed.

If you choose Brian head and eagle point just found this Airbnb place n Parawan, Utah run by host Jill
post #28 of 28

If the Abominable Snowmansion is still in business  stay there while skiing Taos. It is in Arroyo Seco about nine miles away. Of course it may no longer exist; it's been many years since I was there. At TSV itself even low rent will be pretty high.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Free flying - advice for cheap last minute lodging for a solo traveler? [Taos, SLC, etc.]