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Aspen on a budget?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I would like to go to Aspen Snowmass mid to late January for some training. Any advice for a girl on a budget for transportation and places to stay?
post #2 of 22
Hope your budget is huge.
post #3 of 22
This is going to be my first year going, and i can probably assure everyone right now, i will not be back. Way to expensive for me, and although i havent gone yet, i cant imagine it being better than Steamboat or Breckenridge.
post #4 of 22
Advice for a girl in Aspen on a budget: find a sugar daddy
post #5 of 22
Just keep checking for cheap airfares right into ASE. Once your here you won't need or want a car. For your time frame $300-350 should be about right depending on your departure airport.

For lodging try one of these.

http://www.gemsofaspen.com/

St. Moritz or Little Red Ski House may have dorms.

What kind of training?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good advice SHREDHEAD. I am taking the eastern level 3 exam this year. I have some acquaintances at the school there I can ski with.

I will be there around Jan. 23-20.

Jess
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiE
This is going to be my first year going, and i can probably assure everyone right now, i will not be back. Way to expensive for me, and although i havent gone yet, i cant imagine it being better than Steamboat or Breckenridge.

Weren't you freaking out a few weks ago about the "potential" for warmer weather in Aspen when Colorado was getting record early season dumps? You were already lamenting the bad weather on your trip you had not taken yet. Now you are lamenting the high prices and saying you will not go back. Why go in the first place? Why would you choose a destination that you do not, or will not let yourself enjoy? There are several resorts in Colorado with just as good or better snow and terrain as Aspen: Copper, Winter Park/Mary Jane, Steamboat, and Crested Butte. There are also ski areas like Loveland, A-Basin, Eldora, and Monarch that are just as good with no base developments. You can find lodging extremely cheap at these places.

I ski Colorado, but will not waste my money at Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Highlands... I can get twice as much skiing in at Copper, WP, A-basin, or Monarch and have more fun. I can tell you one thing, I would never go to a place that I had so many reservations or bad feelings about.

Take my advice. Get a room at teh Best Western in Golden for $55 a night and drive to Loveland the first day, Copper the second day, Mary Jane the third, and A-basin when you get warmed up. You will have a much better time.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt7180
I ski Colorado, but will not waste my money at Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Highlands...
Huh?

Have you actually been to those places? Granted, if I had to pay to ski none of them might be my top pick, but some would definitely make the top 5. Snowmass is a phenomenal mountain and probably one of the most underrated. Ajax has such a wonderful feel to it and a rich history that ya just gotta ski there a few times. Highlands, well, what can beat Highlands Bowl? Again, it's one of the most underrated hills around. Finally, despite the popular trend of bashing Vail, there's some wonderful terrain hiding in plain sight.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jess
Thanks for the good advice SHREDHEAD. I am taking the eastern level 3 exam this year. I have some acquaintances at the school there I can ski with.

I will be there around Jan. 23-20.

Jess
My trips to Aspen for PSIA clinics were my cheapest Western trips ever. I've always gotten hotel discounts for all the days I'm there (call the PSIA-RM office to find out where), and discounted lift tickets for the days before and after the clinics. You don't even want a car when you are there.
Ajax and Aspen Highlands are way better for advanced skiers than Steamboat or Breck, and bigger and better than Copper or A.Basin as well. Backcountry opportunities are almost endless.
The town is at a more comfortable altitude for me than Breck, and it's easy to find inexpensive or moderately priced places to eat, although I'm sure I could spend my annual ski budget on a single meal there if I weren't paying attention. If you really short on cash, there's even a McDonalds in town, which isn't true at Breck, Copper or even Steamboat, if I recall correctly. It's also the only Western ski town where I ever found a bar with a pool table.
It sounds to me like all the negative comments are coming from people who haven't been there.

BK
post #10 of 22
I hate it when people bash Aspen, Vail, etc because of the percieved notion that absolutely everything is expensive, etc. The fact of the matter is that there is SO much lodging at these major resorts that if you're not going during one of the top 3 or 4 weeks of the year (holidays, spring breaks, etc) you can get phenomenal deals. Sure you could ski even cheaper at Eldora, Monarch, etc, but as someone else said, there's no base developement, and lets be honest, nowhere near the sheer amount of terrain and high speed lifts as Vail, Aspen, etc. If that's your thing, then great. I love smaller mountains. Ski them all the time. But to make the generalization that the larger resorts are too expensive to even go to to someone that's never been there is absurd.

One thing people also seem to forget is that at the so called "mega resorts" you can also many times fly into the resort (or to an airport with an easy shuttle) and forgo a rental car. This can be a big money saver in itself. Going to Aspen on a budget? Don't stay at the St. Regis and don't eat at Mezzaluna every night. I skied there a week last season and it was under a grand for slopeside lodging at Snowmass, lift and flight into ASE. Thats a pretty good deal no matter how you slice it for three great mountains and no crowds (I went end of Jan). I'm sure lots of people take a look at the window ticket price, the "regular" rates at the hotels, etc and make the conculsion that since its a big popular place it MUST be too expensive to go to. Thats simply not true.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer
My trips to Aspen .... were my cheapest Western trips ever.
BK
I couldn't agree more. I went to Aspen on a college budget and it was great. We stayed at Snowmass. The shuttle system was great. Found a restaurant w/ the best reubens and mashed potatos I've had for about $10 - $ 15 a head and even found a bar that served $ . 75 drafts all night. I have still yet to find that in any other town in the past 7 years.
post #12 of 22

Aspen

I stayed in Carbondale (I think) and hopped a bus to Aspen. I think it was 90 bucks a night with no reservation, just walked in. Aspen mtn is totally awesome. Me and my brother skied there and had a blast. Great food and beer was relatively cheap. The skiing is easily the best part.
post #13 of 22

I was not bashing...

When I made the statement that I would not waste my money at Aspen... it was not meant in a derogatory manner. It was meant to exemplify the point that i could get more skiing for less money at other places. I have skied Ajax, Vail and Beaver Creek. However, in my opinion, they do not warrant to extra money.

I ski for enjoyment and not the Apres or status of the resort. I want to get the best bang for the buck. I just checked and could not find a decent room at any of the "exclusive resorts" for less than $250 a night. Oh wait, you can sleep in a bunkbed in a dorm with 30 other persons and share a bathroom in Aspen for $70 a night! What a bargain. Combine that with the high lift ticket prices and the pricey cost of food and other items, and you have a very expensive trip. I have two high school children so it gets even worse.

On the other hand, i can buy four packs to Copper or Winter park for $120. I can stay at the Holiday Inn in Frisco for $80 a night. I can ski and stay at Monarch for $160 for the whole family! I can stay at the Best Western in Golden in a suite that sleeps four for $100 a night and drive the 45 min - hour to the resorts. Also, We just booked four nights in a two bedroom condo with four days of lift tickets included for the whole famil in Breckenridge for $950! That would not even get me within $300 of the condo in Aspen, Vail, or Beaver Creek.

Let me use this comparison. I golf about fifty days a year. I have a membership at the local Muni course. It is a great course. My friends and I travel to other Muni courses once in a while. We do not travel to Pinehurst, Augusta, Pebble Beach, or any TPC course. It would be nice to play at one or two of these courses as a special vacation. However, I am not going to save all of my money to golf four days a year at these places when I can golf 50 days a year at courses that are, while not as prestigeous, just as entertaining for less money.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt7180
When I made the statement that I would not waste my money at Aspen... it was not meant in a derogatory manner. It was meant to exemplify the point that i could get more skiing for less money at other places. I have skied Ajax, Vail and Beaver Creek. However, in my opinion, they do not warrant to extra money.

I ski for enjoyment and not the Apres or status of the resort. I want to get the best bang for the buck. I just checked and could not find a decent room at any of the "exclusive resorts" for less than $250 a night. Oh wait, you can sleep in a bunkbed in a dorm with 30 other persons and share a bathroom in Aspen for $70 a night! What a bargain. Combine that with the high lift ticket prices and the pricey cost of food and other items, and you have a very expensive trip. I have two high school children so it gets even worse.

On the other hand, i can buy four packs to Copper or Winter park for $120. I can stay at the Holiday Inn in Frisco for $80 a night. I can ski and stay at Monarch for $160 for the whole family! I can stay at the Best Western in Golden in a suite that sleeps four for $100 a night and drive the 45 min - hour to the resorts. Also, We just booked four nights in a two bedroom condo with four days of lift tickets included for the whole famil in Breckenridge for $950! That would not even get me within $300 of the condo in Aspen, Vail, or Beaver Creek.

Let me use this comparison. I golf about fifty days a year. I have a membership at the local Muni course. It is a great course. My friends and I travel to other Muni courses once in a while. We do not travel to Pinehurst, Augusta, Pebble Beach, or any TPC course. It would be nice to play at one or two of these courses as a special vacation. However, I am not going to save all of my money to golf four days a year at these places when I can golf 50 days a year at courses that are, while not as prestigeous, just as entertaining for less money.
Point well taken, but most ski travelers (or people for that matter) don't ski 50 days a year. Unless you live in close enough proximity to a decent mountain to warrant a pass, (or muni course to keep up the analogy), its nearly impossible financially and time-wise. So, most of these people will travel to get their turns at a good mountain. When you're flying 2000 miles from the east coast, a couple hundred extra for exponentially more terrain and dining options, etc is of great value to people. I've flown from the east to ski Wolf Creek, etc but I bet I'm in the minority. Also, you can find packages to almost any ski area that are affordable for most budgets. Sure the same package at WP is gonna be less than Vail, but there's still packages at Vail that are affordable regardless, if thats the place people really want to spend their one week (I'm making an assumption about the general skiing public, not the people on this forum) a year out west. Additionally, I can't believe anyone skiing for more than a day walks up to the window at these places and purchases their tickets. With all the packages available it almost seems idiotic. I take a few trips out west each year, so I'll usually do one "vacation" to a major area and then some shorter "ski only/no frills" trips to places that are cheap but have good snow and good terrain.

I just think the prevailing perception (not necessarily yours) is that it is physically impossible to go to Vail, Aspen, etc if you don't have a huge bankroll and six figure income. Its simply not true.
post #15 of 22

try outside towns

Just to clarify my post Jess, try towns close to Aspen if the discounted rooms are still too pricey. There is a bus service to the ski areas, and you might get a better deal. Good luck on your trip, I am sure you will have a blast. Please forgive me for momentarily highjacking your thread, as I feel "honorbound" to try and help MiamiE avert what may be a disaster.


Needless to say, MiamiE, you seem to have ferreted out many truths about Co. Yeah we got alot of snow, but also alot of sun as you wisely noted. I usually don't do this sort of thing, but I would be willing to take your Aspen accomodations off your hands and trade you for days at Keystone or Winterpark. I have a Winter Park four pass, and conditions there are likely far better, Keystone is even better yet (snowmaking!!!). Simply ignore any of these "contrarians" and their illogical rants if they try to dissuade you. Just PM me and we can work out the details. Again ignore these "others", they probably would say almost anything to get you to go along with what we both know is an ill-advised and risky trip into uncertainty (whos to say Aspen will have any snow at all after the sun gets done with it) when you could simply take a trip into security via modern snowmaking....Hello, sounds like the sure bet to me...PM me asap.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBowers

I just think the prevailing perception (not necessarily yours) is that it is physically impossible to go to Vail, Aspen, etc if you don't have a huge bankroll and six figure income. Its simply not true.

Right or wrong, I am sure that I lend to that perception. Also, I am sure if you are persistent and hunt hard enough you will find some relative "bargains" at the higher-end resorts. The problem that I have is with the attitude some have that these resorts warrant the higher prices when I do not believe it is the case.

If you have ever skied Mirkwood at Monarch, Chicago Ridge at Cooper, Mary Jane, the bowls at Copper or Pallavicini or the East Wall at A-basin, you have experienced some of the best Colorado has to offer. The only difference is that you a) do not have to hunt very hard for a bargain, and b) you do nto pay through the nose for walking up to the window and getting a lift ticket e.g. $78 at Ajax.

What you end up with in the long run is some one like MiamiE saving all year for a vacation in Aspen and becoming so paranoid about it that she cannot even enjoy the build-up to the vacation. If she were to be more frugal she could a) spend a longer time in-state and hit several resorts or b) take two trips. Either way it may ease the concern. I hope you have a good trip MiamiE
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt7180
Right or wrong, I am sure that I lend to that perception. Also, I am sure if you are persistent and hunt hard enough you will find some relative "bargains" at the higher-end resorts. The problem that I have is with the attitude some have that these resorts warrant the higher prices when I do not believe it is the case.

If you have ever skied Mirkwood at Monarch, Chicago Ridge at Cooper, Mary Jane, the bowls at Copper or Pallavicini or the East Wall at A-basin, you have experienced some of the best Colorado has to offer. The only difference is that you a) do not have to hunt very hard for a bargain, and b) you do nto pay through the nose for walking up to the window and getting a lift ticket e.g. $78 at Ajax.

What you end up with in the long run is some one like MiamiE saving all year for a vacation in Aspen and becoming so paranoid about it that she cannot even enjoy the build-up to the vacation. If she were to be more frugal she could a) spend a longer time in-state and hit several resorts or b) take two trips. Either way it may ease the concern. I hope you have a good trip MiamiE
I skied a week at Snowmass last year with lodging, lift and air for $900. For most people, I don't think this would require an entire year of saving. Maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I don't think MiamiE's paranoia is a product of her Choosing to spend a bit more money in Aspen, but rather an overreaction to things in general. I'm sure he/she would be voicing the same concern if it were 48 degrees one day at Monarch. As for the cost thing.... well, that confuses the hell out of me.... if you didn't like the price of the trip, why book it? Deals vary from year to year... maybe this year was a bad one for Aspen, I didn't look. I've skied at all the places you mention with the exception of Cooper. All awesome skiing. That might not be everyone's cup of tea though. To many people a one week vacation at an area with a big town, lots of restaurants and tons of high speed lifts might be far more enjoyable than the week and a half or two weeks they could get (if work allowed) skiing at an A-Basin, Monarch, Wolf Creek, etc for the same money.

Now I will go with ya on Copper though.... that place is an unbelievable deal.... awesome skiing, up and coming base villiage, good snow, pretty good lifts. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

I wouldn't necessarily include Monarch, Cooper, etc in the debate though because you can't really compare apples to apples when you're talking about a few hundred acres and 1200-1800 ft of vert to thousands of acres and 3000+ feet of vert. Those aren't really the places many people fly across the country to ski. WP and Copper though are both excellent deals, though the few times I've been to WP (weekends) its been crowded.
post #18 of 22
Try the St. Moritz in Aspen. My secret is out. They even got a write up in the New York Times this year - grrrrrrrhh. No more than three people to a dorm room or expect Michael to ask you to find other lodging. Enforced quiet hours too. It includes continental breakfast, steam room, and hot tub. Five blocks from the gondola and you can get there from the airport via free bus system. Two block walk to ski bus stop servicing all mountains. The rates for all the various lodging options is on their website. I usually pay $ 30-48.00/night depending on season.

Free bus system to all the other mountains and in town. For food, check out the local's joints the tourists tend to stay away from i.e the Red Onion and Cooper Street. You'll like the prices. Boogie's Diner is good too. There's this other place whose name eludes me right next to the Pokolodi Lodge in Snowmass. It's just below the mall and right next to the slope. It's got great food and drinks too - expect to sit next to Skico employees.

Bring your PSIA credentials you'll get some kind of discount. Personally I haven't had to pay for a lift ticket there in years. "REAL DEAL". If you are in a clinic usually the clinic fee covers lift tickets.

I love LOVELAND too. Guess that's why I teach there. Try us out if you have time.
post #19 of 22
You guys mentioned great deals at copper. 5 souls will be skiing there for at least one day in Jan and maybe two if we decide to go back there after also skiing Keystone and Breck. Any info you can provide on discounts is certainly appreciated.
post #20 of 22
The Mountain Chalet is the best deal in town if you ask me, as far as accomodations. The rooms are small but the breakfast is free and very good. Its got a very 'chalet' old school feel to it but I love the place.

There are also plenty of restaurants that aren't very expensive.

Aspen is totally doable on a budget. Transportation to and from is usually the hardest.
post #21 of 22
Aspen is expensive. But I think that you get a lot of value for your ticket.
No lift lines at all last week, the busiest of the year. First Tracks program is FREE, Sno-Cat Groomer rides FREE, hot cider, cookies and sunscreen, FREE.

There was absolutely no financial reason for the ski company to put in the new Deep Temerity lift. But Jim Crown thought that it would make the ski experience better. The new Temerity terrain will be a work in progress for a few years because it’s steep and rocky. But the access that it gives to the bowl right now is unbelievable.

Copper is a nice mountain, but I don't know how you can deal with the crowds.
I drove by yesterday, Jan. 2 at 10.30am and I-70 was backed up 5 miles from all the people trying to find a place to park after the lots got full. Personally I would gladly pay double not to have to deal with that mess.
post #22 of 22
The less costly places (that's a relative term in Aspen) are probably all booked for the time of your trip. Bode Klammer's advice about seeking a PSIA lodging discount is one of the best suggestions as is James' recommendation that you consider staying in Carbondale and commute in.
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