Skiing Affordably

You may not be able to cut the lift line, but you should be able to cut the costs of getting up the mountain with these seven handy tips

Scout out the local scene

Oftentimes, newspapers in proximity to ski resorts post coupons and special offers. These are aimed at getting locals out to the resorts, but anyone (including tourists from out of state) can take advantage of them. So, newspapers in Denver are where to look for specials in Breckenridge, Vail, or Winter Park; newspapers in Salt Lake are where to find savings in Park City or Snowbird, and newspapers in Burlington, Vermont, are where ads for Stowe, Sugarbush, or Smuggler's Notch are likely to pop up.

The best chances for finding these coupons and offers are in a paper's Travel sections (usually on Sunday, but some have Wednesday editions too). Can't find these papers in your town? Newsstands in big cities and huge bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders usually have a wide selection of newspapers from around the country. Libraries are often stocked with newspapers from all over as well.

Gas stations, ski shops, and supermarkets are also sources of discounted lift tickets. Once you're in the vicinity of a ski mountain, ask around to see if tickets can be bought outside the resort to save money.

Look into a ski package

Almost every resort offers a number of lift-and-lodging packages. At the beginning and end of ski seasons, these packages are the best bargains on snow. It is not unusual to find a early winter or late spring ski package with accommodations and lift passes at a per-night price that in mid-February would have barely paid for a single-day's lift ticket. So check each resort's Web site (do a google search if you don't have Web addresses) for the latest promotional packages-especially in fall and spring.

Several discount travel operators sell ski packages that combine a lift ticket with lodging, car rental, airfare, or all of the above. Packages are oftentimes (but not always) an easy way to save money. Shopping around is necessary to figure out which way is most budget-friendly.

Reputable ski packages

A few packagers that tend to have decent prices:

  • Leisure Link International (888/801-8808,
  • Lynx Vacations (877/284-7544,
  • Moguls Mountain Travel (800/6-MOGULS,
  • Resort Quest (877/588-5800,
  • Rocky Mountain Tours (800/525-SKIS,
  • Southwest Airlines Vacations (800/243-8372,
  • Ski Europe (800/333-5533,
  • Adventures on Skis (800/628-9655,
  • Value Holidays (800/558-6850,
  • Holidaze Ski Tours (800/526-2827,
  • Central Holidays (800/935-5000,
  • Go-Today Travel (800/227-3235,
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    Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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