You may think you’re priced out of a ski trip, but being savvy to special deals will get you on the mountain without draining the bank. That’s assuming that you haven’t fled your job, moved here and gotten a night job so you can hit those perfect powder days. You’ll get ski privileges, have ski buddies and network with your friends for good gear at a bargain. Here are a couple of tips to help you at least have a great, affordable week on the mountain.
AIRFARE: if you don’t mind changing planes, and if you live near a major city, you can get some deals getting here. Southwest and JetBlue have some great deals, and if you start early on the East Coast you can usually ski that afternoon; Park City is only 35 minutes from the airport.
TRANSPORTATION: You should be able to rent a compact car for a little over $200 a week. But wait, maybe you don’t need one after all. In Park City the free bus system is awesome, plus you don’t have to worry about parking, driving in the snow, traffic, or taking a roadside sobriety test. There are taxis and shuttles from the airport, to other resorts and in town. If you have to have your own wheels, then rent a 4WD rig (and know how to drive it in snow). Many rental companies offer roof racks at an additional cost.
LIFT TICKETS: There are lots of discount ticket options, and packages. Check with your lodge, hotel or ski rental shop for deals. REI in Salt Lake City, for example, and other ski shops, have tickets at up to a quarter off of the retail price. There are a number of ticket discount sites online, like Liftopia. com, Ski.com, and GetSki- Tickets.com. You’ll need to plan out your trip get these deals. Check with your airline too; they might have discount options.
Both local resorts give discounts for early purchases and multi-day ticket packages. Deer Valley Resort has discounted lift tickets for both military and seniors, with Park City offering seniors a better price. But the best deal in town has to be the Epic and Ikon ski passes, offered by Vail Resort’s Park City Mountain and Alterra’s Deer Valley Resort.
The Epic Pass give you unlimited ski privileges at nearly two dozen resorts, worldwide, for under $1000. The Ikon Pass gives you 38 mountains for around the same price. The bad news is that they have to be purchased pre-season, so remind yourself next fall.
LODGING: Make sure you book early if you’re coming during the Christmas week or the President’s Day holiday; the town is packed. Lodging here covers the entire spectrum, from basic rooms to multi-star hotels complete with an on-call butler. Renting a condominium or home has some advantages. You can split the cost with a number of people, eat breakfast in and save some dining dollars by cooking your own dinner. (Remember, you might be too tired to go out). Many lodges, hotels and homes have complimentary van service around town to make it even easier.
EQUIPMENT: Many airlines let you check your equipment without an extra charge, but check first. It’s usually less expensive to rent in town than at the resorts. Deer Valley Resort, by the way, has complimentary nightly ski storage.
DINING: There are two major grocery stores in town: The Market at Park City and Fresh Market. A brand new Whole Foods is north of town at Kimball Junction. As for eating out, again, there’s pretty much anything you could imagine from fast-food burgers to seafood buffets to ultra-fine dining. Lunch on the mountain can vary, so if your budget is tight, make some sandwiches and buy a hot cocoa. Since you’ve saved so much money on these discounts, make sure you head out to at least one of the top restaurants for one night.