Winter Adventure Guide: Affordable skiing
If you plan ahead, you can have a great ski vacation without going broke. Of course, the best way to hit those powder days is to chuck your job, move here and call in sick when it dumps snow. If that’s not doable, then 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 live near a major city, then you can get some deals getting here. Southwest and Jet Blue have some great offers, and If you start early on the East Coast you can usually ski that same afternoon. Park City is only 35 minutes from the airport.
Transportation: A compact rental car will set you back a few hundred dollars a week — but wait, you probably don’t even need one. Of course, there are a lot of taxis and shuttles from the airport, but they can be pricey. From the airport you can save a bundle by catching the PC-SLC Connect bus by riding the Trax light rail to a stop. It’s only $5.50 one-way, and the buses even have Wi-Fi. Once you’re in Park City, the bus is free to ride. You won’t have to worry about parking, snowstorms or traffic.
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 GetSkiTickets.com. You’ll need to plan out your trip to 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 members and seniors, with Park City offering seniors a better price. The Epic and Ikon passes are a great deal, letting you ski dozens of other resorts, but have to be purchased by the fall.
Lodging: Make sure you book early if you’re coming during the Christmas week, or the Presidents Day holiday; 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.) Besides some chain hotels, there are a number of B&Bs too. 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: You can dine on anything here from fast-food burgers to seafood buffets to ultra-fine dining. Lunch on the mountain can vary, so if you’re 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. There are two major grocery stores within city limits: The Market at Park City and Fresh Market, plus a Whole Foods, Smith’s and Walmart at nearby Kimball Junction.
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