TORONTO – Canadians are bracing themselves for another long winter – and for some that is good news! The thoughts of snow and ice warm the cockles of the avid snowboard and ski enthusiast – though $50 and higher lift tickets can leave many out in the cold.
tripatlas.com/new, a Diamond Group company, has some timely and useful tips to have your Whistler-Blackcomb Peak to Peak ski experience while not breaking the bank. tripatlas.com/new which boasts millions of pages of content including information on ski and snowboard destinations, ski operators, and ski resorts is your resource for everything ski.
Tips for a Budget Ski & Snowboard Trip this Winter
It’s all about watching out for good deals, figuring out how to best maximize your dollar, and staying as flexible as possible when it comes to your travel plans, vacation time and accommodations.
In the midst of a struggling economy, many tour and travel providers, airlines, hotels and ski slopes have been reducing their prices. So keep your eye out for great deals and read on to find out how else you can save on your budget ski and snowboard trip this winter!
Stay in a vacation rental. Where there are large ski areas, you’ll find a multitude of options for vacation rentals. From apartments, condos, cabins and large homes, vacation rentals are great because you get to control your costs. Rent a house for a flat fee and invite as many of your friends as you can comfortably (or not so comfortably) fit in the house. The more people you invite, the less it will cost per person. As long as you’re flexible and bring sleeping bags/mats, then you can really save on accommodation costs. Otherwise, consider staying in a hostel from only $20/night.
Make your own meals and pack lunches. When you book a vacation rental, you’ll be able to cook your own meals and won’t have to spend money eating out at the sometimes overpriced ski-resort restaurants. Better yet, you can save even more money when you pack your lunch for your day out on the slopes. While pizza, burgers and poutine are a nice treat, the hefty food (not to mention the calories) costs at ski resort cafeterias are not so delicious.
Discount lift tickets. Check ahead of time to see how many people are required to get a family or group rate, though the minimum is usually anywhere from 15 to 25. If you’re a student, be sure to bring your student card or International Student Card to get any student discounts. Many ski resorts offer discount passes when you buy online or purchase your passes at the beginning of ski season, so keep your eye out. In resort areas where there are a number of ski areas many offer a multi-mountain pass giving you access and discounts to all the ski resorts. If you’re staying at a local hotel or bed and breakfast, check with your host to see if they have any discount passes or coupons lying around. Tour operators also offer discount tickets with package deals.
Carpool or take a shuttle bus. Many ski resorts offer shuttle buses from the nearest city or town. If you’re staying local this ski season, there are a number of discount shuttle buses to/from ski destinations that will probably cost less than if you drive. If you have a full carload, then it’s usually worth carpooling as everyone can split the cost of gas.
Get the most “bang for your buck.” If you’re a hardcore skier or snowboarder, then you’ll want to get the most vertical drop, total ski area and skiable hours for your dollar. Ski Canada Magazine put together a list of the “Best of Skiing in Canada” which outlines where you can get the “Most vertical/$ ratio.” Whistler Blackcomb, Kicking Horse and Panorama made the top of the list. Find out who else made the list: www.skicanadamag.com.
Borrow or buy your own equipment. While lift ticket prices are mandatory when you go skiing or snowboarding, equipment is one item where you can minimize recurring or repeat costs. If you envision yourself skiing or snowboarding in the future, even 3-4 times (throughout the duration of the rest of your life!), it’s probably worth buying your own equipment. Look out for ski shows in your area where used, new and last season’s gear all come together in heaps with huge discounts for boots, equipment, skis, snowboards and winter gear for all sizes.
Avoid high ski/snowboarding season. Depending on the time of the season you ski, the price of your lift ticket and accommodations can change drastically. The high season for skiing and snowboarding in Canada begins during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and continues until mid- March. Before and after this period, lift tickets are generally slightly cheaper, but the conditions may not be at its peak. Also, watch out for reading week and March Break crowds, though there are often discounts for kids/students during these weeks. If you begin skiing midday or in the afternoon, you can also get half day or evening lift tickets that are discounted compared to a full day or regular day pass – so sleep in and save!
Look for package deal discounts and free nights. Lots of ski resorts, travel companies and online travel websites offer packaged ski and snowboard holiday deals. They’ll package your accommodations, flight, lift tickets and meals into one price which will often cost less than what you would pay for all of those items individually. When you book early from September to November, you can also get a great deal with resorts. Be sure to look out this season for “Book 3 Nights and Get 1 Night Free” or “Book 3 Nights and Save 10%” deals.
One last tip from tripatlas.com/new – watch out for the trees!!
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tripatlas.com/new, a Diamond Group company, is located at 477 Richmond Street West, Suite 903, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3E7; tel: (416) 546-8747; fax: (416) 972-0133; Toll-free: (877) 374-8747.
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