Vail or Stowe. Mount Tremblant or Squaw Valley. Or a small, unassuming resort somewhere in between. There is plenty to consider when planning your ski vacation and much is determined by your budget.
Determine your budget. How much you can afford will determine if you travel two hours by car or four hours or more by plane. If you are planning a vacation on a tight budget, opt to drive to a closer resort and stay in more affordable accommodations. Consider inviting friends, who can split expenses, such as the cost of a hotel room or condominium. Don’t forget to budget for equipment rentals if needed, travel, meals, other entertainment and possible sightseeing.
Decide when and where you plan to ski. Book your vacation early, and if you are looking to save money, consider traveling earlier or later in the season. Avoid holidays and school vacation weeks, if possible. If you live in New York and can’t afford to fly to Aspen or Breckenridge, in Colorado, consider the Catskills, Vermont, or the Poconos.
Find a resort. Narrow your choices to a few resorts that include everything you might want. Call each resort and ask additional questions you cannot find on their websites. Request brochures and read online reviews. If you are traveling with a non-skier, select a resort that will have plenty for that person to do while the rest of your party hits the slopes.
Search for weekday skiing deals, package specials and other discounts. Most resorts offer special deals and packages if you are willing to be flexible when booking. Consider purchasing an Entertainment Book for the area you plan to visit. The Entertainment Book often has coupons for skiing, as well as for accommodations and dining.
Do research for accommodations and for other things to do in the area. If you will not be staying in a condominium near the slopes, look for affordable accommodations nearby. The resort’s website should have a listing of local hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts. Visit the travel and tourism or Chamber of Commerce site for the area to find other things of interest if you would like to spend some time outside the resort. Request a travel guide, which most likely will feature a calendar of events of happenings in and around the resort.