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Is Lodging too Expen$ive in your Ski Town?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Read posts on the thread about why is skiing in the US expensive. A significant component of the cost of skiing is lodging. Skiing is one of those sports that usually requires overnight lodging except if one is one of the few local mountain folk. One thing that occurred to me immediately as a long time skier is that lodging in many areas since the 1980s has tended to become quite exensive due to speculation, upgrading, and of course greed of what the market will bear.

Generally all attractive resort locations in mountains and coastal areas whether they be places people ski at or pursue other sports have tended to become prizes for those with money looking for ways to move to those areas and make a living. It is difficult to find a long term niche in mountain areas for outsiders, but owning lodging has always been one way to do so for those with enough cash to get there foot in the door. Decades ago many ski towns had some lower priced accomodations available for those trying to get by cheaply. Especially your typical young ski bums spending a few youthful 20s years enjoying themselves. In many places, any lower priced lodging has been run out of towns with a vengeance since owners of pricy lodging have long noted there are always significant numbers of skiers who will tend to lodge in cheaper places if given a choice. More serious skiers of course often care little about fancy lodging and are just interested in a clean warm place to spend a few hours for the night.

Another thing that has been done is there have been local laws passed which make it quite difficult for those living out of vans like our old classic ski bums, to park anywhere. Before the 1980s such ski bumming was common. A few ski areas allow overnighting in some of their parking lots but I suspect such is a minority. Generally providing such areas requires some cooperation with areas because there are issues of snow removal and sanitation. Towns in winter of course close up summer campgrounds since few people would choose to camp outdoors in the cold and snow.

Would be interested in hearing some comments from those in other areas. Never skied in the East but would imagine it is far worse than where I ski on the West Coast.
post #2 of 10
What is expensive ?

I think motels in South Lake Tahoe and Salt Lake City are cheap at $35 to $50 compared to Europe.

However slopeside accommodation is dear in the US, though I cannot see the attraction of it. Usually you can access the slopes without being next to the lift and the apres ski at these places is nothing to write home about.
post #3 of 10
Lodging can be costly. It isn't all about greed in the market place either. Most People want more then a nice clean bed. They want a really nice show place. Here in Park City the less expensive nightly rentals were being passed up becuse they didn't have all the amenities of new furniture nice, TV's with VCR and Cable TV or dish, indoor whirlpool baths, gromet kitchens and the like. All that cost plus the cost to maintain and or replace. A lot of the property managment companies would drop older condos who's owners had not put much back into thier investment. The compains got to many complaints about the poor quality of the rental. People want it all. renting to the younger 20 something has it's own risk. Property damage is not uncommon. Late rent and or skipping out on rent is another problem landlords face. Right now in the Park City area there is a glut of nightly rentals. Time share projects new hotels and high end condos have added a great number of beds to this and many other ski resorts. As for people sleeping in cars and vans. I do see some of that. there is a KAO camp ground just outside of town. I see a lot more $250,000.00 motorhomes then small campers out there. As for sleeping in your car truck or van on the street. The Police have pulled a few bodies from Vans and truck campers ,when on cold nights they would keep the engine running for heat and die in the night of carbon monoxide poisoning. For the safty of those attempting this , they may get hauled off to jail for the night. Better a night in jail then the next day in the morgue. If you stay a few miles out of town there are plenty of cheap motels in Heber City Utah.
There are so many factors that go into lodging cost. For long term sesonal. Full time residents, nightly rentals. There are still some of the funky rooms and dorm type houseing out there.
post #4 of 10
It seems like rent is high in towns where the mountain is the big economic engine, but less so in places where there are other industries. If you don't need to live next to a destination resort there are still places where housing is at least somewhat affordable and the skiing is good or better than good.
post #5 of 10
Another thing that has been done is there have been local laws passed which make it quite difficult for those living out of vans like our old classic ski bums, to park anywhere.
I know quite a few people who do this. It's usually very short term - not too many folks camp out all winter. Instead, usually it's something you'll see until about December when pay checks begin arriving. Then people figure out a way to stay indoors until around mid-March when the exodus begins.

In Colorado, the favorite camping locations are National Forest trailheads. Usually people will sleep in the back of their trucks (or vans) at a trailhead. The ambitious ones build structures in the national forest and hike in and out every day. I've had quite a few squatters just up the road from where I live on land owned by a mining company. They haven't operated the mine in years and people just park near the old mine entrance. I've heard lots of funny stories over the years, including a guy who lived in a teepee by Montezuma (Keystone) that had a generator and a Playstation.

As far as traveling around to resorts and sleeping in cars, it's not that hard. My friends just went down to Wolf Creek last weekend and camped out in their van in a parking lot in South Fork.

Anyone ever crashed in hotel lobbies? I've never done it, but I bet it's pretty easy to find a ski lodge with a couch you could sleep on. Snowmass and Breckenridge immediately come to mind.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
You are right Latchigo about SLT and SLC being cheap cheap. SLT is cheap because of the considerable numbers of old 1950/60s era weekend gambler motels. Most have been bought by Asian Indians with many between $20 to $40 a night midweek when there is a major glut. All do reasonable business Friday and Saturday nights when both gamblers and skiers join the weekend tide. SLC is a notch higher but still fairly inexpensive because it is a major urban area with a broad economic base.

As Utah49 related, resorts which draw a large out of state destination skier customer base tend to have a need for more upscale customers willing to pay more. However I would guess that those locals in Utah which live out beyond SLC tend to lodge in the less expensive places in SLC when they come around to ski a few days.

Good to hear your report Vinn. The Sierra is more of a problem probably because of the deeper winter snow removal issues. During summer free dispersed camping is allowed in many NF and BLM areas. During winter, I will occasionally sleep in my car or full out winter snow camp with tent at legal backcountry ski trailheads.
post #7 of 10
Dave sss As a side note A few years back american Ski Company did a servey of people liveing near (within a two to three hour drive) of major ski resorts. out of all the larger distination ski areas in the country Utah has the least amount of local resident that ski at least 5 times a year. It was about 7% of the population. Denver was around 20% Boston was also about 20%
post #8 of 10
Join a club with a lodge. Works in the east.
post #9 of 10
I can usually find a decent place/price. Granted all I really care about is a place to lay my head down that's clean so I don't try for anything elaborate. Mainly I go to the same small place in the same small town outside the resort. They now know me and will occasionally give me even greater deals than what the offer.

I'm hoping that someday the barter system will be more openly accepted. ex: I'd be glad to save someone a damn good bit of money for rental management if I could stay in the place when it wasn't full. I am shocked at what homeowners pay those agencies to do all that!
post #10 of 10

Costs out here in the Canadian Rockies

Hostel International Fernie $63 per night including lift ticket and breakfast
HI Jasper $57 per night including lift ticket--Marmot
HI Nelson $49 per night including lift ticket--Whitewater
HI Banff/Lake Louise $1995 for 30 days accommodation/20 days skiing at Sunshine, Louise, and Norquay

Motel Rooms $45 and up in Canmore, Banff, and Jasper with Sunshine discount card/season ticket. I usually stay at the Sheraton Four Points in Canmore at the $79 rate so I can keep my Starwood status up.

There is winter camping in the park, but it comes pretty close in price to a dorm bed in a hostel.

On the other hand: Banff Springs Hotel $279 to $379 for the range of basic hotel rooms for one night.
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