How to enjoy Park City on a budget
Gone are the days of cheap tickets, parkas and skis. You’re not priced out of skiing, you just need to know a few local ways to get some discounts. Of course, the number one way to ski and not break the bank is to live in a ski town and work at the resort. You’ll get ski privileges and network with your friends for good gear at a bargain. Make sure you book early if you’re coming during the Christmas week, or the President’s Day holiday. If that’s not an option, then here are a few other methods:
If you don’t mind changing planes, and live near a major city, then you can get some deals on a ride to the mountains. Southwest and JetBlue have some great deals, and if you start early on the East Coast you can often ski that afternoon in the Wasatch Mountains; it’s less than an hour to the resorts.
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, dealing with traffic or taking a roadside sobriety test. There are taxis and shuttles from the airport and in town, but you’ll probably want (and should know how to drive) a 4WD rig if you plan to move from resort to resort a lot. Many rental companies offer roof racks at an additional cost.
There are lots of discount ticket options. Check with your lodge, hotel or ski rental shop for deals. REI in Salt Lake City, for example, has tickets at up to a quarter off the retail price. There are a number of ticket discount sites online, such as 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.
Park City lodging covers the entire spectrum, from basic rooms to multi-star hotels complete with butlers. Renting a condominium can have some advantages. You can split the cost with a number of people, plus you can breakfast in and cook some nights of the week, if you’re too pooped at times to head to the restaurants. Certain lodges, hotels and homes have complimentary van service around town, to make it even easier. Discounts usually apply for multi-day tickets, or bundling with your lodging too.
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.
There are two major grocery stores near the resorts: The Market 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 prices on the mountain can vary, so if your budget is tight, make some sandwiches. 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.