Colorado Ski Country member resorts offer bounty of holiday ski deals
There is a mountain for everyone in Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA), and a deal to be had at each, if skiers and riders know where to look. There is inherent value in a Colorado ski vacation; excellent snow, diverse terrain, family friendliness, and guest service make Colorado the country's favorite place to ski. With package and new offers at many Colorado ski areas, the enduring value a Colorado ski vacation can be within reach, no matter the budget.
All of CSCUSA's 22 member resorts entice locals and tourists alike by offering various programs, packages and passes throughout the season. Budget-friendly secrets that range from discounted lessons, lift tickets, and equipment rentals, to early-bird discounts on lodging and season passes, are plentiful in Colorado Ski Country.
Although many discounts and deals are unveiled as the season progresses, here are a few of the affordable options that CSCUSA's 22 member resorts offer, and some advice from locals on those lesser-known ways to maximize the value of a Colorado ski vacation:
A-Basin offers a Bonus Season Pass that entitles visitors to unlimited skiing and riding at A-Basin for the season, plus five bonus days that can be used at four other Colorado resorts (restrictions apply). The Bonus Pass also includes all of the other regular A-Basin season pass benefits.
A-Basin season pass holders receive season-long benefits including: one discounted half-day lesson, 10 percent off on food and beverages (excluding the 6th Alley Bar), 10 percent off in Arapahoe Sports and Black Mountain Sports shops, five days of skiing at Bear Valley in California, one unguided day of skiing at Silverton Mountain, discounted A-Basin lift tickets for friends and family, and $10 off of performance tunes all season long.
For never-ever beginners looking for a deal, A-Basin has a Guaranteed to Succeed program that includes a 2010-11 A-Basin only season pass, three two-and-a-half hour group lessons and free rentals during lessons. The guarantee is that guests will be skiing or riding more than just the Molly Hogan learning area by the third lesson or the resort will provide more lessons until they are.
Carpooling to the mountain has its advantages too. A-Basin rewards carpoolers with discounts when four or more people ride together to the resort. Carpooling passengers receive discounted lift tickets, even if some people already have a season pass.
With discounted lodging and lift ticket offers for nearly every day of the season, Aspen/Snowmass has a deep menu of discounts in store for 2010-11. Continuing for a second straight season after high demand is the Kids Ski & Stay Free package, which is now valid during both March and April when booked in advance. That offer allows kids ages seven through 12 to ski and stay for free, with the purchase of lodging and lift tickets by an adult for four or more nights/days. Guests wanting to take advantage of this offer in March must book the offer by February 18, and those planning to come in April must book by March 18.
With the new $17 million Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center in Snowmass, plenty of sunny days and an extended season at Aspen Highlands until April 24, Aspen/Snowmass is an ideal destination for any spring skiing family getaway. The resort throws in one free rental and/or lesson for kids age seven to 12 when an adult purchases four or more days of the same.
Aspen's deals go even further. When booking four or more nights/days in Aspen/Snowmass during the value season, guests can get the next night/day free and receive the Perfect Storm card good for discounts on ski & snowboard school as well as additional in-resort discounts. This Buy 4, Get 5 savings deal is valid January 1 – February 10, 2011 as long as it is booked by December 17, 2010. The same Perfect Storm deal applies during the peak season, however the valid dates change to February 11 – April 3, 2011 (and everything must be booked by January 14, 2011).
In addition to amazing discounts, skiing and riding in Aspen/Snowmass has many hidden benefits. Free buses run from Aspen to each of the resort's four mountains, all day long. Once on the slopes, guests can find a mountain ambassador stand located on and at the base of each resort. Mountain ambassadors provide guests with needed supplies such as free sunscreen, free Nature Valley granola bars, and free coffee and hot cider. Also, guests are invited to arrange a free ambassador tour to find their way around the mountain. Ambassadors will guide skiers and riders to all the right places depending on their ability.
A hugely popular program with Front Range guests, during the 2010-11season, Copper will be offering Ski and Ride School Youth Seasonal Programs where, for one price, kids can come every weekend for a full skiing and riding course with the same instructor throughout. Each Ski and Ride School deal includes a Rocky Mountain Super Pass, good for skiing at Copper Mountain throughout the season (restrictions may apply). Compared to buying lessons and a season pass separately, guests save more than $500 by taking advantage of this offer.
Another of Copper's signature value offers, the resort provides free Cat Skiing on Tucker Mountain. Tucker Mountain and Copper Bowl offer expert skiers and riders unprecedented access to over 273 acres and 1,200 vertical feet of Copper's legendary high alpine back bowls. Terrain is accessible by hiking, a free snowcat ride or a combination of both. Snowcat access is on a first-come, first served basis.
Copper also provides free parking year-round.
Crested Butte offers multiple deals to guests who purchase lodging through Crested Butte Vacations (CBV). Visitors who plan an early-season getaway can take advantage of the Free Lifts and Lessons with Lodging package. The offer features free lift tickets and a lesson to guests who purchase lodging. CBV also allows kids 12 and younger to ski for free when lodging is purchased through their services.
During the holiday season, Crested Butte will offer the Grandest Christmas package – a family vacation available to a family of four, which provides four nights and three days at Crested Butte for under a grand.
Another tip: following the December holidays, Crested Butte is offering its 4th Night/4th Day Free deal. As part of this deal, a fourth night of lodging and a fourth day of skiing are free with the purchase of three nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets at Crested Butte.
This season, Crested Butte is also offering airline deals with Friends and Family Fly Free. Guests who purchase two airline tickets get a third ticket free when booking a trip to Crested Butte.
Guests who want the best deals with the most wiggle room can purchase one of CBMR's Mountain Cards. Mountain Cards include 10-Day and 15-Day passes. The resort also offers the X Card, which is good for any six days of skiing, the EZ Pass, which gives guests one day of skiing per week, and the CB Card, which provides a single day of free skiing and discounts on all additional adult day lift tickets.
The resort also encourages guests to check out its children's group lesson package deals, including lesson and lunch, as well as lift, lesson and lunch for one all-inclusive price.
Only 21 miles from Boulder, Eldora is currently offering its College Season Pass for only $199. Please visit Eldora.com/college for more information on pricing and details. The resort has an Eldora Mountain Sports store located in Boulder, in addition to its retail stores at the resort, all of which are currently offering huge savings of up to 50 percent off retail.
The resort's other signature deal is the 6-Pack Mountain Explorer. This pass is for children of all levels of ability, and offers six full-day Mountain Explorer lessons (ski lessons for ages four to 12, and snowboard lessons for ages seven to 12) for only $489. The card is fully transferable and can be used individually or for more than one child.
This resort keeps things simple: save gas, ski Loveland. Loveland's proximity to Denver makes it an affordable choice for many day-trippers and vacationers who are looking for a quality ski experience at an affordable price. Transportation costs are minimal as the drive is short and the close-in parking is free.
Those just learning to ski can take advantage of the 3 Class Pass Program. This program gives first-time skiers and riders who complete three lesson packages (starting with a first-timer lesson) a free season pass upon completion of the third lesson package. This opportunity is available for kids or adults.
Another great deal on lift tickets that Loveland offers is the Flex Ticket, which can be used for any four hours for the low prices of $45 (regular season, after a $14 refund) and $34 (late season, after a $10 refund). Tickets can be purchased at any Loveland ticket window or at select offsite locations. And for those who want to ski and stay, Loveland offers numerous packages with various price points at many lodging locations. Packages start at just $119 per night and include lodging and lift tickets for two adults.
And new for this season, Loveland is also offering more value in its season passes. Loveland season pass holders this year will get free ski days at Monarch, Purgatory and Silverton, plus discounts on goods throughout Loveland Ski Area.
This year, Monarch throws in even more ski days at other mountains with its season pass. The 2010-11 Monarch Pass lets guests ski free at 13 other resorts with significant discounts for military, children, and seniors.
The season pass not only gets riders ski days at a growing list of partner resorts, but it also can get a friend in to ski at Monarch at a reduced price. The mountain offers pass holders the chance to bring a friend along for the discounted rate of $41, one reduced-cost lift ticket per day. No blackout days apply to the buddy deal or the season pass.
New for the 2010-11 ski season, Powderhorn has introduced a new Stay & Play package. The deal is $209 for a one night stay at the Slopeside Inn at Wildewood, as well as lift tickets for two and dinner for two. This offer will be available every day, with no blackouts, and lift tickets may be exchanged for snow shoe or cross country rental package.
Back again by popular demand, for the coming season Purgatory offers a Buy 3/Get 4 deal on lift tickets, lodging, group lessons, and rentals. Guests who book three nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets will get a fourth night of lodging and a fourth lift ticket for free.
Silverton is the only ski town in Colorado where winter is the off season. This means that lodging and food is discounted or offered at unbeatable, off-season rates during the ski season.
Additionally, this season Silverton offers $49 unguided lift tickets (that unbeatable price has not gone up in the resort's history). For the unique experience of skiing at this expert-only, all-natural resort, the price can't be beat.
SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch
SolVista Basin specializes in ski and snowboard instruction, and ensures that lessons are affordable for any budget. For the 2010-11 season, SolVista offers the Guaranteed Start to Ski or Snowboard package that provides an all-day lift ticket, equipment rental, and a full day of instruction for Level 1 beginners for $99.
Also for Level 1 beginners, the Get on the Snow Learning Program is a special program that includes two days of lift tickets, equipment rentals, and two all-day lessons for $149. To sweeten the package even further, graduates receive a SolVista Basin season pass after they complete the two days of instruction, as well as a 20 percent discount coupon valid for a retail merchandise purchase at the SolVista Basin Retail Shop
The resort also lets children ages five and under ski and ride for free all year-long. Anyone can learn to ski or snowboard on green runs Zig and Zag via the Milestone beginner lift for only $20 per day.
For early and late season vacations, Steamboat offers the Ski Free Package, allowing guests to ski free in Steamboat when they purchase three nights of lodging through Steamboat Central Reservations for vacations before December 18, 2010 and after April 1, 2011.
Guests who book their trips early also reap rewards at Steamboat. The Early Rewards package offers 20 percent off lifts and lodging for four night and three day vacations anytime during the season, when booked by November 24. The package even offers a 10 percent discount during the holiday season.
Steamboat makes bringing the entire family to Colorado easy and affordable with the Kids Ski Free and Kids Rent Free packages. Children ages 12 and under receive free lift tickets when a parent/grandparent buys five or more days of lift tickets. Children also rent free when their parent or grandparent rents equipment for five or more days.
And with direct flights from seven cities in the US and connecting flights from anywhere in the world, Steamboat is one of the easiest ski towns to access. Find special airfares now through November 24 on Continental, American Airlines, Delta and Frontier from cities including Chicago, Dallas, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and more.
Sunlight offers the Ski Swim Stay package that includes a day of skiing at Sunlight, a swim in the largest hot springs pool in the world, and a night of lodging in Glenwood Springs. Additional vacation packages are also available that include deals on lift tickets, snowmobile tours, and tickets to the Glenwood Caverns.
Telluride Resort Lodging offers many lodging options and stay-and-play packages. This winter, stay four nights at Telluride and get a free night of lodging and a free day of skiing. Also, during the bargain season, guests can stay and ski for $99 per person/per night (based on availability, restrictions may apply, taxes not included).
In addition, Telluride rewards skiers and riders who are aching to get on the slopes even before the snow begins to fall. The resort offers reduced early-bird pricing on a variety of ski passes to get people excited about the coming season and to help the resort's guests save some money at the same time. The resort is also busy planning other lodging deals and ski packages that it will offer throughout the season.
The Winter Park Website is the place to go to find deals and discounts for a Winter Park vacation. A variety of vacation packages can be found throughout the season with discounts on lodging, lift tickets, and equipment rentals. Also, guests can sign up online for the Winter Park newsletter and receive discounts through newsletter offers. Discounted lift tickets can also be purchased online, with additional deals offered to season pass holders.
Winter Park insiders also take advantage of some lesser known money-saving tips, such as free parking available at Mary Jane and free lift tickets for volunteers at the Winter Park Competition Center.
Wolf Creek's lift tickets are as affordable as the snow is deep. Even greater savings are available on Local Appreciation Days (when everyone is a local) and for students on College Days.
To make lessons more affordable and fun for everyone, Wolf Creek schedules Ladies, Men's and Senior Clinics. Combination tickets are offered at great rates, and are good for a half-day group lesson plus a lift ticket. For guests looking to learn more about the free-heel style of skiing, Wolf Creek's tele-mark clinics offer guests a combination lift ticket and two-hour tele-mark lesson at a great price.
As always, Wolf Creek offers free parking and shuttle service around the parking lot and access to 10 miles of groomed cross-country terrain around beautiful Alberta Reservoir.
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