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Give me some cheap fly+stay+ski packages from Orlando, FL to CO & UT

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I live in Orlando, FL. I was going to go to Loveland, CO in December, but gave up. Now I'm starving, and plan to go for real this time, in early January (for 5 week days) to Colorado or Utah... on a limited budget.

Two months ago when I researched Loveland, they used to offer some ski lift tickets buy 3 & ski 2 free days(?), I believe... but they're no longer offered on their site. For Loveland, the cheap lodging I was advised is at Alpen Hutte, Idaho Springs, and Silver Plume. Though, I have to pay for car-rental from Denver airport, which I didn't want to deal with since it will be staying on the parking lot every-day. I believe there is shuttle transportation from Denver to Georgetown, but unfortunately I researched there is no shuttle from Georgetown to the ski resort.

I never see any fly+stay+ski packages from Orlando to Colorado or Utah: How do you find these?

Is Loveland still my cheapest option? Just the airline tickets for sure are cheaper to Denver than to Salt Lake City.

Any other suggestions? Thanks.
post #2 of 13
Either go to an airline web site and check out their vacation packages or go to a resort and check their packages.
post #3 of 13
I have always done better myself than package deals
you just have to do lots of research
I have saved hundreds of dollars by renting in Stapleton and returning to the airport but it will cost a cab ride or better yet nothing if you stay that night in stapleton and use the courtsey van
several hotels have on site rentals
post #4 of 13

I live in Orlando so I feel your pain. In terms of airfare there aren't really great deals. If you sign up to Southwest Ding fares, you can find $89 each way to SLC (which they are still running for January). There are also pretty decent fares to Denver on Delta if you check out there site as well. I use Sidestep for my rental SUV's. I know for the Park City area, the time between New Years and Sundance is the cheapest time to go and you can find some affordable condos on VRBO. I think probably everywhere though after New Years until MLK weekend is probably the cheapest.

I agree with looking at the different mountains websites for lodging/lift deals. I know Copper is running some and they seem prettty good. My friend in Colorado actually told me Travelocity and Expedia run good packages as well. I think those are probably good though if you don't have a family and are good to stay in a hotel for 5 days.

As I have stated before...I think in the end it all evens out, no matter where you go. I have done countless number crunching and I feel that between the airfare, rentals or shuttles, lift tickets and such..in the end the numbers would always work about the same..within a couple hundred dollars.

With that said I now choose what gives me less travel time and more time on vacation because saving a $100 on airfare is not worth my losing a whole vacation day in traveling from the east to west coast. Just me personal experience from an Otown gal!

Good luck!
post #5 of 13
Originally Posted by easy rider View Post
I have always done better myself than package deals
you just have to do lots of research
I have saved hundreds of dollars by renting in Stapleton and returning to the airport but it will cost a cab ride or better yet nothing if you stay that night in stapleton and use the courtsey van
several hotels have on site rentals
If you're really talking "Stapleton" you do know that Stapleton hasn't been the Denver airport for over 10 years now, right? It's now a mall and residential development. Good point though, if you want to avoid the airport rental surcharges. If you are in fact suggesting staying in Stapleton on arrival, I'm a big fan of the Doubletree Denver which is right across the street from where the airport used to be, and runs a free shuttle every 1/2 hour on the 1/4 hour from 4:45 am to 12:45 am from the airport, 4:30 am to midnight to the airport. I stay there a lot if I have an early flight out or a late flight back. They have an Avis rental desk inside the hotel.

More to the OP's point though, are you stuck on specifically going to Loveland? Right on the other side of the Continental Divide, you're in Summit County, which means Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain. You can get to any address in Summit County from the Denver airport by Colorado Mountain Express shuttle van (ridecme.com). You can get all over Summit County, including to all 4 of the ski areas above, for free by the Summit Stage free bus service. Also to and through the towns of Dillon (the town 6 miles down the road from Keystone, 9 miles from A-Basin, and where I happen to live) and Frisco (centrally located, 6 miles from Copper, about 8 miles from Keystone, about 10 miles from Breck.) You thus can do a ski vacation to all of those areas without ever needing a car.

Loveland is almost considered one of the County's resorts, it's a local's favorite as well as very convenient to Denver skiers. But it's not in Summit so it's not on the free bus system.

There are cheap rentals by owner and sometimes on expedia/orbitz/etc. for condos in Dillon Valley East or West - which is where I live. It's becoming residential, but has a lot of 2nd-home and rental-property units too. There are some lower-cost hotel/motel chain properties in the County: There's a Super8 motel in Silverthorne right on the Dillon boarder and 2 minutes walk to the Summit Stage. There's a Best Western in Dillon, and another one in Frisco right at the Frisco Transfer Center (hub of the Summit Stage). There's a Ramada express across the street. Alpine Inn (an independent low-cost motel) and Summit Inn within walking distance of the Transfer Center. There's a relatively low cost independent motel, Snowshoe, right on Frisco's charming main street. Another lower-cost chain, Choice Hotels, has one of their medium-priced brands Comfort Suites in Dillon. There's a La Quinta right there too. These are both walkable to the Dillon Ridge Shopping Center bus stop on the Summit Stage.

Also there's a Hertz rental at the Transfer Center in Frisco, where you could rent a car for one day if you want to pop over to Loveland.

Combine one of these inexpensive (relatively - remember it is ski season) with using CME to come up from Denver, and you've got a car-free package you put together yourself. I have seen some of these in the Expedia/Orbitz/Travelocity prepaid booking packages where you select a flight and then add a hotel. Look for Dillon, Colorado and Frisco, Colorado.

You're still just as close to Loveland as if you stayed in Idaho Springs, and almost as close as if you were in Georgetown. But you're central to more mountains, and more off-mountain variety from being around several towns (although both Idaho Springs and Georgetown do have nice old historic charming downtowns).

Lift tickets at discount for Copper, Breck, Keystone can be bought at the local supermarkets (City Market, Safeway), at ski shops in Silverthorne (Virgin Islands) and Frisco (Pioneer Sports) and several others. Breck and Keystone are both owned by Vail Resorts, and A-Basin has a marketing agreement with them, so a Breck or Keystone ticket is good at all three of those areas. No need to pay window prices. Not sure about Loveland but if I recall, they have a membership/discount card program.

Here's the airfare "flexible dates" search I just did on united.com for United from Orlando to Denver dates around 1/8 for about a week:

If you can leave on Tues 1/8 and return on a Mon or Tues, it's $207. If you can leave on Wed 1/9, it drops to $198. Sun-Sat is more expensive, $362. Mon-Sat gets a little better at $298. Other airlines might be similar - With United having a massive hub here, Frontier also hubbed hear, and Southwest now doing a lot to DEN also, there's enough competition that many of the airlines often have reasonable fares to Denver. Remember the cheapest fares often have to be booked 21 or 14 days out, so we're already past the 21-day timeframe if you want early-to-mid January.

Doing a quick search on Orbitz (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity etc. will add $5-7 to what the airline charges), for that 1/8-14 sample, I'm seeing $212 with tax/fee on Frontier, US Airways, United; $214 on Delta, $215 on Northwest, $217 on American, $224 on Airtran. So pick your favorite airline or the airline who's frequent flyer program you're in (never step onto a plane without crediting miles to their or a partner's FF program even if you have the silly idea "I'll never earn enough miles for a free trip - see my article).

Orbitz has the Holiday Inn Frisco for $89/night for those nights, maybe a few bucks saved if you combine it with a flight booked with them. Across the street from the Summit Stage. Expedia has the Best Western Lake Dillon (which is actually the one in Frisco, steps away from the free bus) for $91/night average those nights, 85/night for just weeknights.

A lot of places do show sold-out, so if you're thinking of going, I'd jump on getting a low-cost flight and a lower-cost motel/hotel sooner, rather than later. "Roll your own package"!

BTW - if you stay at the Best Western Lake Dillon lodge, which is right at the Frisco Transfer Center, you can save about $25 or so each way on Colorado Mountain Express, by booking at ridecme.com and choosing their "Point-to-Point" service which only goes from Denver airport to the Frisco Transfer station. Then you walk 100 feet across the parking lot and you're at the BW. I once saw some poor fool have a pickup scheduled at the BW when I was taking the cheaper Point-to-Point. I got in the van, the van drove 100 feet, and he got in the van having paid $25 more than me for the exact same trip.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you MarkXS. Which airline and which alliance do you suggest for flying once or twice a year to Colorado and Utah area, where the big resorts are?

Actually back in October when I was looking for flights on Priceline, one came for $130 roundtrip to Denver... but silly I, didn't grab it. What I should've done is grab it and work my trip around that, instead of around other issues.

Last season, I did go to Winter Park, CO. Again, I had found a roundtrip flight to Denver for around $130 (of course the flight times had to be terrible: 6am flight!).
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Alliegator View Post

With that said I now choose what gives me less travel time and more time on vacation because saving a $100 on airfare is not worth my losing a whole vacation day in traveling from the east to west coast. Just me personal experience from an Otown gal!

Good luck!
Thank you. By now I should be leaning toward that idea as well: Not to spend too much time on thinking if one less day saves me $20, etc.... It's vacation time: It should be for vacationing and enjoyment.
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by JamesX521 View Post
Thank you MarkXS. Which airline and which alliance do you suggest for flying once or twice a year to Colorado and Utah area, where the big resorts are?
Hard to say without knowing you other non-ski travel patterns. If you also travel internationally, or want to earn rewards/upgrades for international travel, that means concentrating on one of the "legacy" (traditional, network, alliance-member) airlines. If that doesn't matter, then the newer "low cost carriers" might be better.

The fares often aren't very different. One of the huge myths in travel is: jetBlue is always cheaper. (Or Southwest, or Frontier, or fill in the name of any other "low-cost" airline) Sometimes they are, sometimes they're not.

On ski trips, I like to minimize connections, because I'm carrying at least my boots as carry-on along with a day or two's clothes. Easier not to run between gates schlepping all that. Also usually checked a bag, due to the bulk of winter clothes and most of the carry-on allowance taken up by the boots. So I'm also concerned about my bags making the connection. Airlines are happy to sell you 45-minute connections. On a winter day at a backed-up airline, my bags (and skis if I check them) have a crummy chance of making the connection.

So choosing a carrier that has at least some possibility of non-stops or has frequent connections to your destinations, is pretty important to me on ski trips.

If you're just flying out to CO and UT a couple times a year, and don't care about using the same Frequent Flyer program for earning/using miles to Europe, South America, Asia, etc., then probably Frontier might be a good choice. They're nonstop to Denver, 1-stop to Salt Lake City. You only need 15,000 miles earned to get a free domestic ticket.

If you think you might want the option of one of the larger carriers for their FF program, then it's probably a toss-up between United and Delta. You can get United nonstops from Orlando to Denver, 1-stops to SLC. Delta is the reverse, non-stops to their SLC hub, 1-stops to Denver. Both of these and their partners can get you almost anywhere in the world while earning miles in United's (or Delta's) program, can let you use miles earned on them for upgrades, can let you use miles for overseas travel. I've done "free" trips to South America (think skiing in Chile during our summer, for example) from miles earned on United, and on Delta free trips from miles earned with their partner Northwest.

As a skier, I like to have options to either earn miles, or burn miles for free trips, to all the possible ski destinations. Using United, for example, means your trips to Denver and SLC could be banking miles towards a ticket to the Alps or South America or New Zealand for another ski trip. Or if you found an affordable ticket to the Alps, for example, you can earn a boatload of miles on that cheap paid ticket towards future free tickets. Don't laugh, I flew to Munich to get to Kitzbuehel, on United's partner Lufthansa for $332 round/trip early this year, and to Switzerland to ski Davos and St. Moritz the year before, on Northwest and Delta's partner KLM for $215! These fares are rather rare, but those large amounts of miles earned went towards future ski and other vacation travel I've since taken. Likewise a few years earlier I used miles earned on another domestic "legacy" airline to get a free ticket to Italy to ski Bormio, adding a cheap hotel/lift package.

Using Frontier or jetBlue or Southwest, that wouldn't be an option because their frequent flyer programs only are for domestic (and maybe Mexico/Carribbean) destinations, and they don't have international partners. But again, they can be good if all your current, planned-for, and wish-list paid and award travel is mostly US-oriented. In that case, Frontier is maybe your best choice due to their Denver hub and non-stops from your home town.

A huge fare savings can trump all this, of course. If you find a dirt-cheap fare to where you want to go and when you want to go, go for it!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
My pattern will be flying only to the west coast resorts in US: Denver, SLC, maybe Reno too and other in that area -- only for skiing. I'll be flying not more than 2-3 times a season. No plans to fly anywhere else, or out of the country yet.
post #10 of 13

I agree wit Mark about the connections...thus why I fly Delta to SLC. No connections and a flight where I can be on the slopes by lunch.

I know people have their likes/dislikes with every airline, but we really haven't been burned by Delta and have used many of FF miles to get free tickets out of them. I don't like American because they always route you to Miami first from MCO. Like Mark said about United having a Hub in Denver is nice...but a huge reason I like Delta is that their major Southeast HUB in in Atlanta. I know if for some reason I get stuck there, i can rent a car and get home..versus say DC or Chicago. Those were the things I thought about when choosing a major traveliing carrier..plus Delta is partners with NW and Continental.

So if you ski CO more frequently then United might be your choice or if Utah is your poison, then Delta might be your choice. Really you can sign up for both FF mile programs and accrue on both. I know where you are coming from though. It's the pain of living in the land of Mickey and wanting to play in the snow!

Good luck!
post #11 of 13
Like Alliegator said - Delta or United if that's your pattern. Probably the deciding factor is whether you expect to go to Colorado or Utah more.

By the way, both have pretty good Frequent Flyer programs - but both of them recently reduced their miles expiration policies to 18 months of non-activity. However, both of them have tons of ways to earn miles when you're not flying. Hotels, rental cars, credit cards (Amex for Delta, Visa from Chase for UA), online shopping mall click-throughs to merchants you may shop from already. As long as you earn even 1 mile within 18 months, you still keep all your old miles.

As opposed to my long-departed jetBlue credits, because the credits expire in 1 year even if you've earned more credits since then.

This is important to you because it looks like you'll be flying about 8-10K miles per year. That means you'll need 2-3 years to earn the 25,000 miles needed for the lowest-price restricted-availability US/Canada award tickets. You'll need to do something to earn some miles from other than flying, to keep those miles alive as you build towards an award. Of course, there are usually 15,000-20,000 mile bonuses for opening an affiliated credit card, 100 or 250 or 500 miles/stay for hotel stays with partners, 50 miles/day for car rentals with partners, and those online miles malls I mentioned, so you might (and should!) be able to earn enough for an award sooner than that.

Also keep in mind that as a "non-status" flyer, you're going to be dealing with miserably-trained, script-reading, heavily-accented overseas call centers with both Delta and United. (Non-status doesn't mean anything about you! it just means you don't fly at least 25,000 miles/year with them and partners. In fact you now have to fly 50,000 mi/year with United to avoid their India Call Center.) So avoid calling as much as possible, you'll save yourself much agita

Both airlines have reasonably functional websites where you can book flights, do seat assignment changes even if you booked the flight elsewhere, do online check-in, etc.

One other thought: Delta recently restricted their frequent flyer award availability even more than it was before. I won't go into the details, just link you to this thread about it on the flyertalk.com website for frequent flyer program addicts. It's mostly talking about their "spend double-miles to get a seat when no seats are available" feature being scaled back. Bottom line though is it means there are too many Delta miles chasing a now-smaller number of Delta award seats. In general, I've found that United usually has better award availability than does Delta. Though that's anecdotal, based on my travel patterns (which don't including going in/out of Orlando), so might vary from your experience.

edit - few more Summit County-specifics: on my earlier post where I mentioned saving money on CME by taking the Point-to-Point from DIA to Frisco Transfer Center: In addition to the Best Western Lake Dillon Lodge being right at the center, the Alpine Inn cheapo motel is also right there adjacent to the parking lot. So if you used either one, the cheaper point-to-point service is the way to go. You're also right on the back-side of a strip mall with a good cheap and "interesting" cafe, Food Hedz, a Mexican restuarant, a Chinese restaurant, and a big remodeled Safeway with a good deli and soup bar. If you do come up here, you may well want to hop on the Stage to get to downtown Frisco, Breckenridge, etc. for the variety of restaurants and bars. But for good cheap eats to take back to or walk to from the motel, that immediate area is well-stocked. There's also some fast food across the street within 1/4 mile.
post #12 of 13
Utah is the cheapest and the best place to go. Why shlep through Denver and mtn passes etc. when the best skiing is usually to be found just 45 min from SLC airport. Ski 1/2 day on the day you arrive, 3/4 on the day you leave. (check delta direct from Orlando!!!). $65/nt at Midvale La Quinta, for 2 with breakfast, forget that extra fillup you'll need in Colo. 8 super great resorts. $52/day lift tickets!!!! at your hotel desk. And if you like powder and good snow conditions, (more impt for advanced skiers), then the Cottonwood canyons are the best place to find that. Note: SLC airport is super cool and easy, in over 25 yrs of travling there, have never had a single tiny weather snag at the airport.
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
Ski 1/2 day on the day you arrive,
That's ski 1/2 day FREE on day of arrival at any of the PC resorts using th QuickStart program/
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