The Biggest Savings Are Right in Front of You

By Matt Myers

Published 3.5.2014

Everyone has their shortcuts, but we have compiled our own Top 4 Biggest Money savers for your ski trip to Colorado.

1. Book Lift Tickets at Least 7 Days in Advance

It's really that simple. Just 7 days early and you save. You don't need a special code or "know a guy", this is it. I am continually amazed by how many people show up to the resort, buy from the ticket window, and just throw money away. Here are some example savings off the total cost of the window rates for a 3-day lift ticket at some of the most popular resorts, just from buying early:

  • Vail/Beaver Creek: $75 off per 3-day lift ticket ($300 savings for family of 4)
  • Breck: $69 off per 3-day lift ticket ($276 savings for family of 4)
  • Aspen/Snowmass: $30 off per 3-day lift ticket ($120 savings for family of 4)
  • Crested Butte: $14 off per 3-day lift ticket ($56 savings for family of 4)
  • Winter Park: $70 off per 3-day lift ticket ($280 savings for family of 4)
  • Copper: $112 off per 3-day lift ticket ($448 savings for family of 4)

A family of 4 can save $448 dollars on three days of skiing in Copper Mountain if they just plan ahead by one week. ONE WEEK. Where else can you save that much with so little effort?

And that's just buying straight from the resorts. We have a few deals set up where you can get even bigger savings if you book 7 or more days out.

Save on Vail – Beaver Creek – Breckenridge – Keystone – Arapahoe Basin

Save on Copper – Winter Park – Aspen/Snowmass – Wolf Creek – Steamboat – Crested Butte – Telluride

2. Lodging: Is This the Best You Can Offer Me?

Here is an example. There are 2,079 homes listed on VRBO just in Breckenridge. Not Dillon or Silverthorne or Frisco or Keystone. Just Breckenridge. There are another 78 hotels and condo blocks on top of that. That's a lot of beds for a town of 4,500 people. You have some leverage. Use it.

These places are hoping that you will book online, pay their rack rate, and cost them no time to get the maximum money from you. Don't do it.

What to do: Search online and zero-in on a few places that you like. Call all of your top choices and get some prices. Ask each place if this is the best deal they can offer. Squeeze them.

How to save even more? This is for the gambler, but wait until the last minute. By this, we'd say Monday/Tuesday if you are planning on arriving Thursday/Friday. They have empty rooms they are dying to fill. 

3. Food is the Silent Killer

And we don't mean sugar or gluten or whatever is the popular dietary sniper of the week. Eating can be expensive because:

  • A) these are resort towns where they make most of their money in one season, so they gouge you a little/a whole bunch;
  • B) you kinda need to eat several times a day; and
  • C) it's a long, gas-eating drive up the mountains to these places from major cities, so everything is just naturally more expensive.

Worse still, if you try to eat at a mid-mountain restaurant, you are really going to pay.

Don't eat mid-mountain. The food isn't great here. It might taste great at the time, but only because you are low on fuel. Tip: Pack PB&Js, other sandwiches, or granola bars. If you really like to ski, eat these on the lifts and never stop skiing. Did you come here for the food or for the activity?

They have grocery stores. Yes, they are also more expensive than your own, but if you can get by on bagels, cereal, and/or yogurt for breakfast, you can grab all of this from the store, sock it in your fridge or mini-fridge, and not pay $11 for a breakfast sandwich X 4 people. Tip: Buy your groceries and booze in Denver. It's much cheaper.

Book a Condo or Home. Or anything with a kitchen. It'll be tough for a family of 4 to spend less than $180/day dining out every meal, especially if you eat mid-mountain. If you have a kitchen, you can save half this and still eat like kings. Or make a pot of chili and continue to save.

4. Book Snowboard/Ski Rentals Online and in Advance

No matter how weird your feet are or how particular your taste in parabolic skis, renting online is an easy 20% saver for you. We have several deals set up, no matter which option you prefer. You only need to rent online 24 hours in advance to get the savings. Then you can show up and dial in your exact comfort.

Christy Sports 20% Off

Want to have equipment delivered right to your room? Black Tie Ski Rentals does exactly this. A little more expensive, but a lot more convenient. Plus, you can still save 20% off their price by using this link: 20% Off Black Tie Ski Rentals

Here are some other rental options where our deal isn't quite as good, but still better than walking in the door without having booked online in advance.

Breeze Ski Rentals

RentSkis

Think it might be time to buy instead of rent? Here is a piece we published about when that time might be:

Rent – Fly – Buy Ski Equipment: What is the Right Call?

Have Your Own Money-Saving Ski Trip Tips? We want to know what sneaky awesome ideas you have come up with on your trips, so leave a comment below and tell us about it. We might just reissue this article with your wisdom. Tips Up!

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