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Any good deals in mid April for Colorado & Utah?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I missed the good season, but plan to go to Loveland, CO, in mid April. I haven't booked my airline ticket yet, from Orlando to Denver. Any other suggestions for good deals, plus groomers with still good snow left? I don't like the idea that I have to rent a car... but it seems Loveland, CO is the only place left in Colorado, where there is no shuttle on regular basis from the town near Loveland where the lodges are, up to the ski resort... so rental car is my only option.

I already visted Winter Park... so I don't want to go there, since I want to try a new place I haven't been before. By the way... I haven't been to Utah yet... and I'll be willing to go to Salt Lake City... if I can find a better deal than to Colorado. It's not likely however, since the airline tickets to Denver are already $100 cheaper than the tickets to Salt Lake City.
post #2 of 39
If you drive to Tampa (what's that, about 100 miles?) and go the long way around, you can get to SLC for $240 round trip:

Details$240NorthwestTPA to SLC
Wed, Apr 16
Fri, Apr 25
7h 7m
6h 50m

On the other hand, from Orlando it looks like Colorado is cheaper.

Another thing to keep in mind -- airfare to Colorado Springs is often cheaper than Denver, and rental cars are usually cheaper there too. Not so good for Loveland, but if you are going deeper into the mountains it may be a good option.
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Flying to Colorado Springs would be cheaper!? I thought flying to a major airport, like Denver, would be cheaper. I just checked on priceline and I am definitely getting cheaper deals to Denver than to Colorado Springs. But, if it's near a good ski resort... then it might be worth. What ski resorts are near by Colorado Springs?
post #4 of 39
I shouldn't have been so categorical. It is sometimes cheaper. I've had those perverse situations where changing planes in Denver is cheaper than stopping there. The cheaper rental cars seem to be the usual situation, though.

Here's an example, pulled out of the air: MCO->COS->MCO, April 17 & 24. $290 on AA. Only USair and Airtran have cheaper flights than that to DEN on those days, all others are more.

It's always worth checking minor airports -- with the mysterious load balancing algorithms the airlines use, some counterintiutive things happen. For example, there were some cheap fares to Gunnison at the beginning of March, though it is usually pretty expensive to get there.

It is not that anything is closer to CoSpgs, but rather that the difference from Denver is minor -- especially if I-70 is going to be a zoo.

[A non-skiing illustration of perverse fare rules. Earlier this year, I flew to Dayton Ohio connecting in Cincinnati. About a dozen of the people on the Cincinnati to Dayton leg were driving back to Cincinnati as soon as we landed, because flying to Dayton was so much cheaper.]
post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
I am looking online but can't find... what are the nearest resorts to Colorado Springs?
post #6 of 39
Well, according to the AAA on-line planner, it is 2 hrs from Denver airport to Breck and 2:38 from CoSpgs.

But at DEN the bags are slow to arrive and then you ride a shuttle to the car rental places. At CoSpgs the bags arrived promptly (at least when I was there) and the rental cars are right outside -- that can make up the 38 minute difference right there.

The closest place to CoSpgs is Monarch -- a cool little mountain which I still have not managed to get to, but apparently is low traffic to hold good snow for a long time.

If you go to Wolf Creek, CoSpgs is closer than Denver (though Durange/Gunnison or even ABQ on the other side might be even better if you start with a clean sheet of paper.)

In Feb we made a long drive from DEN to Crested Butte cause I got freq flyer tickets -- it would have been shorter from CoSpgs. (Of course even closer from GUC, but that wasn't in the cards either.) The long drive was not the original plan.

Last year when I was planning our Feb school vacation ski trip, I spent a couple days doing internet searching and made a list of every airport within easy driving distance of major skiing, then tried to get frequent flyer tickets. Denver was the only one I was able to get (on Delta or American, which is where my miles are). It may be time to plan for next year already....
post #7 of 39
Resources to find ski resorts you might not have thought of:

1) the Travel tab at the top of this page!

2) the on-line "triptik" map software on www.aaa.com -- ski areas are one of the categories in the drop-down list. Much easier than trying to cajole Google Maps into giving you the info.

3) www.firsttracksonline.com -- pick "Ski Map North America" from the menu. Available as one big map, as individual state maps, or as a KML file to load into Google Earth.

Anybody know any other good choices?
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
There were issues and I couldn't go as planned when the good snow was, December till February. So, right now I am a bit in a rush to do it. I would do it right next week, but my employer asked me to go in mid April instead. One thing for certain is I want to make sure that I am not skiing on slushy snow. I once did that at Ski Beech, North/South Carolina... and it was awful! I assume whether it's Colorado, or Utah... in mid April, it will still be better than the Ski Beech resort, right?

By the way, what is the general opinion as far snow coverage in mid April: More snow in Colorado, or Utah (Alta, Deer Valley, etc.)?
post #9 of 39
For spring, altitude and choosing the right exposure (i.e. direction faced relative to the sun) and shade or not is key. Unfortunately altitude is the only one you can scope out ahead of time. The others take practice or -- even better -- local knowledge.

Steeper is better for potentially slushy, too -- it drains the excess water, and you aren't as apt to get bogged down.

Unfortunately, a lot of places close down in early April even if the weather and snow are perfect.

High altitude Northern-ish spots -- LCC (Snowbird/Alta) in SLC, Summit County and A-Basin/Loveland in Colorado, Mammoth in California. A lot of western Canada, though I've never been there.

Search archives or Tony Crocker's site for specifics or see if you can get some locals to give some details. I'll shut up now -- maybe that'll bring the locals out.
post #10 of 39
Aspen has the best base we've had in years. Ajax will close the 13th, but Highlands is opening both of the following weekends with $39 tickets and tons of deals in town. $12 tickets for employee's of any other ski area.
post #11 of 39
post #12 of 39
I found Family Ski Vactations - When To Go via a post on this board. It ranks ski resorts for Spring skiing - picking one that is rated highly and still open when you are planning on going might work out.

One thing to consider is lodging costs. If you go to SLC, you can stay cheap in SLC itself, yet have easy access to the slopes. This can save a bundle and may make up for the more expensive airfare. And with Snowbird, Alta, Solitude and Brighton ranking so high, you would have a lot of great skiing available as well. And just look at the base - Alta still has 148"!
post #13 of 39
SLC is basically the same price year round. In high season you can save some major coin by staying in the valley. But in low season lot's of resorts slash prices and become much more competetive.

IMHO, I would rather stay in a nice lodge at the mountain than a motel 6 in the valley.
post #14 of 39
For SLC, if you're staying for a week, there is a dump in midvale called intown suites that's only $270 / week. they only charge by the week though, and only 2 adults per room are allowed. it's not what you would call nice, but i stayed there a month with no problem. it has a refrigerator, stove and microwave too. you don't really need to rent a car there either, you can take the bus and trax there from the airport in under an hour. it is a 2 min walk from the trax station, which is also where the ski bus stops. it's also the first stop on the ski bus route, which means you will get a seat.
post #15 of 39
Snowbird spring pass is 279 for the rest of the year, you could plan multiple trips.
post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 
Ok, I think I am leaning toward UTAH now, since there's more snow (skiutah.com). Looks like Alta and Snowbird have tons of snow and will be fine for mid April. I've never been there though, so I have to research more. I certainly want to go there with everything pre-fugured out!

epl, is the intown suites near by Alta and Snowbird? If at this time of the season (low season) the lodging gets significantly cheaper in the mountains -- then that's where I am heading. But if it's still expensive, then I guess I'll have to stay in the city and ride/drive an hour to the mountains daily. But, renting a car is NOT something I am looking forward to... so, I prefer getting a shuttle/bus service.

I am looking for cheap lodging, single bed, no luxuries: Just for comparison, at Winter Park I was paying about $40/night, and at Reno about $30/night.

I hope the Utah ski trip is worth... because I already will be paying $50-100 more for airline ticket from Orlando to Salt Lake City, than from Orlando to Denver... and (as one of the first posters had suggested me) driving to Tampa to fly from Tampa to Salt Lake City is pretty much not an option.

Thanks all.
post #17 of 39
A quick look at the snowbird web site shows "April Escape Package" $99/night including lift ticket. But, the rub is that is pp, double occupancy.

I've found a wide range of single occ. policies -- someplaces its a few dollars more, some you basically pay double. Call them up and ask -- you need a real person for this, not the website. Maybe if they are empty they will cut you a deal.

If you search the archives here, there are several places that get mentioned repeatedly -- Extended Stay America in Midvale or Sandy(? look it up?), lots of other motels there too.

In general (nationwide) La Quinta is my favorite cheap chain for price vs value, Hampton Inn second. They all tend to cluster within a few $ of each other, though. Independents tend to be cheaper, though don't know if there are any nearby. (Sounds like you already know how to find a cheap room from your WP, Reno numbers.)
post #18 of 39
I think SLC is a great choice for early-mid April, in fact I am probably going to ski Alta April 8,9,10. They have a ton of snow and the weather looks good for the next two weeks at least. Be aware that Alta's last day is April 13 and most of the onsite lodges stop booking past the night of April 12. Of course, the Bird will be open for many weeks to come.

BTW, I like staying onsite at Alta for the convenience, and they offer single occupancy rates at several of the lodges. Considering the included meals and not having to deal with a rental car or canyon closures, I think it's a good deal, but it won't be $40 a night. However, you should check out the dorm rates at the Peruvian and GMD -- that will get you down to about $100 a night including meals.
post #19 of 39
Thread Starter 
Another question: I just saw the map and see that Alta and Snowbird are next to each other. So, I would probably prefer to do two days in Alta and two days at Snowbird; that's better than skiing 4 days in the same resort! So, if I stay at the resort area on one of them, I want to make sure that there will be transportation to the other one. Or if I stay at SLC, then I hope the transportation to each one of them (round-trip) will be somewhat cheap (for the cheap person that I am).

By the way, just looked at the airline tickets to SLC through most major online airline ticket sources... and the prices are monstrous in comparison to flying to Denver.
post #20 of 39
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks skier219. I just saw that. Snowbird is open till May 11, but looking at Alta's calendar http://www.alta.com/pages/calendar.php they'll be closed April 14-17, but will open 18, 19 and 20th (last day). My ski trip will be April 14-17 or 18 (Monday to Thursday or Friday). At this point I don't know if I can make it to Alta because of the scheduling, but just for the purpose of trying Alta for one day, I might ski Snowbird 15, 16, and 17, and try Alta on Friday 18th, then fly on the same night Friday 18th, so that I go back to work on Saturday the 19th.
post #21 of 39
post #22 of 39
Did you remember to check the ones that aren't in the major system (Southwest, JetBlue, etc)?
Best I saw (picking random April dates) was $288 on SW (or $350 with good connections one way and non-stop the other).

Best on majors for same dates was $418 on USair (or non-stop on Delta for $1 more).

Or you could take the bus to Tampa for $45 each way and get that $240 fare.... nah....
post #23 of 39
Thread Starter 
mdf, thanks, I did find $278, Orlando to Salt Lake City, through cheapair, but before I make that booking I want to make sure I call Snowbird and Alta on Monday to make sure I know what I am doing... I still don't know if I am stying at SLC or in the mountains.... And by that time, I might lose that flight deal. See, I want to try skiing on the first day if possible, so I am looking for a early morning flight from Orlando. If I have to drive/ride overnight to Tampa, with my backpack, ski and boots (we're looking leaving Orlando 3 hours in advance before the early morning just to make sure)... and I wouldn't do it, just to get that better fare. Who knows what can happen on the way to Tampa. So regarding departure, OMC is my final answer.
post #24 of 39
Thread Starter 
marge, thanks for the links. I never knew there was a website for hostels! I see super deals, and they are good if a person has a car. I am pretty sure I don't want to be renting a car; if I am staying at Salt Lake City I want to be sure that the location where I stay is near by the bus & shuttle stop for the slopes. On the listing they mention how far their locations are by certain points... but I am not familiar with the area, so it doesn't make much sense to me. What I need to know is how far from the bus/shuttle stop for Snowbird and Alta the hostels are. It's quite important because I am carrying a backpack, ski, poles and boots!
post #25 of 39
Don't sweat it. We have a little asymmetry cause I'm just playing, while to you this is your trip! I wasn't really serious about Tampa, though I suppose if you lived on the correct side of the city it might not be too unreasonable.

I bet you can call the res desks on Sunday, even if they are in Utah (or are you tied up at work?) If it were me, I'd call both reservation desks, explain your situation, and ask "what's the best you can do for me?"

I don't know what it will be like out there, but in New England I've gotten deals where a low-demand-period room+lift was about the same price as the lift by itself. You don't have that leverage if you stay in town. (Conversely, staying in town is definitely cheaper during high season.)
post #26 of 39
Originally Posted by marge View Post

i went by a couple of those hostels while i was there, and they look really dodgy, and i'm not too picky about accommodations. the neighborhood is really run down and i got the idea they cater mostly to locals who are between addresses. if you want to chance it though, the camelot one is right on the trax line, which would get you to the ski bus stop in midvale in about 15 minutes. another thing you might try is the name your own price deal on priceline, i think it gives you options for the mid valley area, which would be mostly midvale and cottonwood heights, most of the hotels in those 2 areas are on or near 7200s/fort union blvd, which is one of the main ski bus routes.
post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 
Anyone from Salt Lake City... or just familiar with the bus system? I like this http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldet...LakeCity-12701 hostel, which is only 0.1mile from TRAX (light rail) and is $16/day! Is there a way that I can take the TRAX and ride up to the bus station for Snowbird/Alta? Here's the schedule for the Snowbird/Alta bus: http://www.rideuta.com/ridingUTA/sch...routeGroupID=8

Or even better, is this address for the hostel (800 South Guest House) near by the Utah Bus for Snowbird/Alta?
post #28 of 39
Thread Starter 
Oh, looks like one of the hostels I was reading about has check-out time at 10am. Well, I was actually thinking to ski the last day of stay and fly in the evening if possible. Yet, I don't really know if I'll find a hostel or hotel that will let me check-out at around 6pm!?
post #29 of 39
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
A quick look at the snowbird web site shows "April Escape Package" $99/night including lift ticket. But, the rub is that is pp, double occupancy...
Didn't work. I called: It has to be 2 people! So, at this point, unless I find something just as cheap in the mountains, I'll probably just end up sleeping in one of the hostels and will have to get the bus daily up to there.

Any other suggestions for cheap lodging in the mountains, rather than the Salt Lake City?
post #30 of 39
Originally Posted by JamesX521 View Post
I'll probably just end up sleeping in one of the hostels and will have to get the bus daily up to there.
Be aware that there will only be limited bus service that time of year. One bus up in the AM and 1 bus down in the PM.
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