Now, this post wouldn't be true to form unless I included the ways that we planned for and will do this adventure on the CHEAP! Perhaps you can use some of these ideas to plan a little snowy get-away of your own!
- Never plan a ski trip on a holiday weekend. Lodging rates are ridiculously high, and the slopes will be so crowded that you wish you had stayed home.
- It is usually cheaper to stay at a personally-owned condo/apartment that is rented through a property management company, rather than a hotel. Here's why...typically, there are multiple bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate more than one family so you can split the cost. There are also full-size kitchens so that you can cook at your condo, instead of going out for three meals a day. Finally, many property owners will bargain with you if they really need to rent. Remember, an empty property over a weekend means no money for them. Try out your negotiating skills!
- If you are going to ski more than a couple of times, buy your own equipment at a used equipment store during the off season. We bought our own skis/board, bindings, and boots five years ago. The nice thing is that they fit them to your height. Even if you gain a few mommy pounds, you can still use the same skis :-)
- If you are only going to ski once or twice, rent your equipment ahead of time, online. They will let you try it on and make changes when you get there, but you can usually get a 10% to 20% discount if you plan ahead. Just do your homework and ask around to find the best business to work with in your ski area.
- We all know how fast our babies grow so DON'T go out and buy the cutest snow suit with a matching hat and gloves for their current size...no matter how tempting it is. They will wear it for one season, and then it's useless. Borrow from a friend or keep your eye out for them at the year-round consignment sales.
- Skiing is pricey. You purchase what they call a "lift ticket" which gives you access to the ski lifts for a particular, or a few particular resorts. I know, pretty basic, but I didn't understand that when I first went skiing :-) Try to find package deals. For instance, my hubby bought a 4-day pass for $130. When most resorts charge $80+ per day, that's a deal! You need to check at the local ski shops OR even down in the grocery stores of Denver and Colorado Springs (if you're skiing in the Rockies). Sometimes you can find great deals on the resorts' web pages, but steer clear of purchasing single-day lift tickets at the actual mountain...total rip-off!
- Taking the kids? Swap babysitting! They do have child care and ski school for kiddos on the mountain, but the quality will vary greatly from place to place. Share kid duty with the other families on your trip to ensure that each couple gets a bit of alone time.
- Here is where I get really cheap. We're taking our own food. That's right! The grocery stores in resort areas totally hike up their prices, so if it's feasible for your family, pack some bags and coolers and take your great-deals-that-you-purchased-with-coupons groceries with you to the condo! We'll go out once or twice, but let's face it, dining out with a toddler after a full-day of skiing doesn't exactly sound enjoyable.