If you are willing to travel, you can ski all year long, be it at Vail Mountain in Colorado or Treble Cone in New Zealand. And with a little planning, you can do it for less than you might think. Here are deals on some ski destinations.
Wherever you want to go, a quick Web search can make lift tickets more affordable. Liftopia.combills itself as the largest online and mobile platform for ski lift tickets (and some other related costs like ski rentals and lessons). The site offers deals at nearly 250 ski areas including Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia, Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado, and Park City, Utah, as well as at mountains in international destinations such as Chile, Austria, France, Switzerland and Russia.
The Whistler Blackcomb website (whistlerblackcomb.com) lists deals on hotels, lift tickets and lessons. Under the “plan your trip” tab you’ll find package deals, like that at the Summit Lodge and Spa in Whistler Village North, a 10-minute walk to the lifts. For midweek getaways January through March, suites are $159. Another recent deal on the website: The Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, a five-minute walk from the lifts, offered discounts of 18 to 30 percent on select dates for nonrefundable rooms. The website also lists “discover Whistler days,” when you can get 30 percent off group ski lessons (simply select your lesson date as one of the “Whistler days” and the savings will automatically be calculated into your booking). But some deals, according to the site, are simply too hot for the Web; call 888-403-4727 for details.
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The Portillo resort, on the Lake of the Incas and in the shadow of the Andes, is offering a “ski-in-summer” deal on its all-inclusive ski weeks, which include accommodations, lift tickets for up to eight days, transfers from Santiago International Airport, four meals a day in the Hotel Portillo dining room and access to resort amenities such as daily yoga classes and hot tubs overlooking the lake. (During special theme weeks, such as Wine Week from Aug. 3 to 10, programs like wine tastings are no extra charge.)
There are three hotels on the property. Prices for Saturday-to-Saturday ski weeks start at $1,790 a person at Hotel Portillo; $1,190 at Octagon Lodge; and $800 at the “hostel-style” Inca Lodge. Book by Feb. 28 for travel from June 22 to Oct. 5: 800-829-5325 or SkiPortillo.com.
For hotel reservations within 21 days, the Vail Valley Partnership, a collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Bureau, has a “last-minute” lodging deals page on its website, Visitvailvalley.com. There is also a “deals” page where you can search for accommodations in Vail and Beaver Creek. A recent search turned up a “get the third night free” promotion at Four Seasons Resort Vail (through Dec. 31) and up to 33 percent off at Vail Resorts Legendary Lodging collection at the Ritz-Carlton Residences through Dec. 21.
For those who want to broaden their trip, Liftopia’s $379 Mountain Collective pass — a collaboration among Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Alta in Utah and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in California — allows skiers and snowboarders two days at each ski area, unlimited 50-percent-off lift tickets and lodging deals at participating hotels. Available until Dec. 17.
If you want to ski the Treble Cone ski field near Wanaka for an extended period next year, now is the time to buy the “super early bird season pass,” on sale through Dec. 14. A 10-day pass for an adult is $669 (including the bonus pack; see below). An unlimited season pass for adults is $1,089, and an unlimited family pass is $1,819 (both include a bonus pack). The bonus pack, new this season, includes money to spend on the mountain, access to a preseason bonus day of skiing and a Treble Cone 2013 T-shirt. See Treblecone.com.
At Stevens Pass, “4-day powder packs” are on sale through Dec. 24. That’s $159 for any four days of skiing or snowboarding for one person, any day of the winter season. The pack includes direct-to-lift access (no need to stop at the ticket window). There is also a “pay as you go” program called PNW Advantage. For $10, those who sign up receive up to $10 off weekend ticket prices and $15 off weekday ticket prices (the discount is applied based on age category and session time).
And, if you visit three times, the fourth visit is free. The PNW Advantage program is free for Stevens Renewal pass holders, REI members, other area pass holders and members of the military. Passes available at Stevenspass.com.