Skiing can be expensive, but a few simple tactics can save you hundreds, if not thousand of dollars on your Colorado ski vacation.
1. Book Your Skis Online Ahead of Time
The price of skis can be very expensive in the villages. With great service and convenience comes premium cost - sometimes over 2 or 3 times budget rentals. Do some research and you can find good prices, if you book in advance online. Rentskis.com and Breeze's Skirentals.com have base village locations in most major resorts, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge. Advanced online booking typically comes with promotions, such as 25% off, discounts on weekly rentals, and kids skis for free with each adult rental package.
2. Purchase Your Lifts Tickets in Advance
Not only will you save money, but you will be able to skip the ticket window lines - the Epic Day passes, when booked ahead online will provide substantial savings over the walk-up window rate - snow.com is a good portal for purchasing passes online. The mountain sites, also have a link to ticket sales. For ultimate savings buy a Season Pass (www.epicpass.com). Believe it or not, these can pay off in 5 days of skiing. But hurry, the season pass sales end very soon; usually by the end of November.
3. Evaluate Your Need for a Rental Car
Rental cars, during the winter, from Denver airport are costly. If you do not need a vehicle in the mountains, consider a mountain shuttle. An alternate trick, is to rent a car from Downtown Denver. You will need to take a cab or car service, but the downtown rates are often less than half the airport rates. If you don't need the flexibility of a vehicle, when at the mountain, then you'll save substantially. Though (see point 4), sometimes a car can save you money in other ways.
4. Dine like a local
See my prior post about favorite locals restaurants. Getting away from the resorts will not only give you a chance to explore the local scene, it will get you great values on dining.
5. Go Grocery Shopping
If your accommodations have a kitchen, kitchenette, or even just a fridge, having some basics for breakfast or perhaps a dinner or two, will certainly cut down on costs. If you don't have a car, don't fret. Almost all resort towns have free in-town buses to nearby grocery stores, and if you prefer, there are services that, for a fee, will do some shopping for you ahead of time and bring the goods to your accommodations after you arrive.
Bonus Tip: Take a Break from Skiing
Because I always like to offer an extra pointer, here's my bonus tip... Take a day off from skiing! It sounds counter-intuitive and there may be some objections from the family or friends, but I guarantee everyone will thank you for taking a break, particularly if you are staying for a week. As long as you don't spend the day shopping, you will likely find some other great activities, such as sledding, snowmobiling, or taking a driving tour, that will be fun and have a different cost basis that a day on the mountain. What for an upcoming post on some of my favorite off-mountain activities.
Enjoy these tips and if you want some other first-hand advice, don't hesitate to drop me a line at email@example.com. I'm alway happy to share my enthusiasm for making the most of a trip in the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado.