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Spring skiing doesn’t have to break the bank. If you plan ahead, your next spring family vacation at a ski resort can be affordable. And, spring season may be the best time of year to go when sunny days and spring powder abound. From Colorado to California, read on for our tips for finding the best spring skiing in North America.
Tips for Finding Affordable Spring Skiing
Some like it hot; others prefer bundling up for their spring break. For the latter, a spring break skiing vacation often tops the list as a favorite. But family ski resorts can be a downhill plunge when it comes to your pocketbook.
If you’ve got moguls and bumps on your mind, you can still hit the slopes without taking a hit in your wallet with these tips for finding an affordable spring skiing vacation. And to help you get there, here are our tips for packing for a ski trip. Hint, you won’t want to forget the sunscreen.
1. Choose Affordable Ski Resorts
Save some money without sacrificing your spring skiing experience by skipping the mega-resort ski towns. Home of the Winter X Games, Aspen (Colorado) has a world-class skiing reputation, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Multiply by a family of 4, then mix in accommodations, meals and the daily price tag of spring skiing just collected a few extra zeroes.
If Aspen, Vail, Lake Tahoe, Whistler Blackcomb or any of the best ski resorts are on your skiing bucket list, then you can also save money by purchasing multi-day lift tickets and/ or purchasing in advance, usually at least 7 days.
If you’re looking for spring skiing on the cheap – and shorter lift lines – consider resorts off-the-beaten-path, or consider booking late spring or toward the end of closing dates. We’ve had some of our best skiing experiences after snowstorms bring in white powder for pristine spring conditions. You won’t sacrifice the experience and you won’t break your budget.
When planning your ski trip, keep in mind that ski season varies depending on the different areas of the country, and late season spring skiing conditions depend on snowfall, snowpack and snow conditions.
Spring Skiing in Colorado
The Colorado Rockies can still be your spring skiing destination, as ski resorts off-the-beaten-path offer all levels of skiing without the stiff price. Just 30 miles from Aspen, get your spring ski on at Sunlight Mountain Resort at more than half the price (daily ticket price is just $59). Bonus: you’ll get hundreds of acres of varied terrain, including one of the steepest runs in the state and the longest beginner slope in Colorado ski country.
Walk-up single-day adult tickets at the following North American resorts are all under $90: Colorado’s Granby Ranch, nearby Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin and Ski Cooper. Many of these also offer free parking in old school parking lots, which is an added savings.
Some of these smaller, more affordable ski resorts also top our favorite ski resorts for affordable ski lessons.
New Mexico Spring Ski Vacation
Located in New Mexico’s southern Rockies at more than 8,600 feet elevation and a couple of hours from the Albuquerque airport, Angel Fire Resort boasts lift tickets of $90. Taos Ski Valley also offers single day lift tickets at $90.
And always for the best deal, pre-purchase lift tickets at least 7 days ahead of time online.
Spring Skiing in Utah
For affordable ski tickets in Utah check out Powder Mountain, Brighton, Woodward Park City or Brian Head Resort.
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Liftopia is also an overall good online source for discounts, giving as much as 50 percent off. Also, check out the ski resort’s website. Often times, there are ongoing deals for multi-day and mid-week tickets.
2. Splurge on a Season Ski Pass
If your family is full of avid skiers and you have easy access to affordable ski areas, then purchasing season ski passes are the way to go. These do require advance purchase and are typically at their best prices prior to Labor Day. The Epic Pass and Ikon Pass will offer the best deals for anyone skiing more than 10 days per season.
The best part about having a pass is not feeling like you need to get your money’s worth out of a day. When you have a season ski pass it can make sense to go ski just a couple of runs.
3. Choose a Resort Where Kids Ski Free
Ski resorts across America offer “Kids Ski Free” programs. We’ve got the full state-by-state list here. Choose one of of those ski resorts and save the cost of lift tickets for the family.
4. Bundle Your Savings
Ski vacation packages are another savings waiting for the spring breaker. Most resorts call these Ski & Stay Packages, and include your accommodations and lift tickets. Bundling your vacation experience can result in up to 50% savings.
When you know you’re planning multi-day spring skiing at a particular resort, consider purchasing in advance season passes, as these also offer great opportunities to take advantage of spring snow and powder days for skiers.
Begin your one-stop spring break vacation shopping at Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA), an association representing 22 Colorado ski & snowboard resorts.
You can also discover these Ski & Stay springtime deals on all the best ski resorts’ websites. Colorado’s Sunlight Mountain Resort partners with nearby Glenwood Springs to create “Ski Swim Stay” packages taking advantage of the world’s largest hot springs pool.
5. Choose Budget-Friendly Accommodations
Skip the pricey ski-in, ski-out accommodations and discover a definite decrease in your cost, especially when staying more than one night. Vacation home rentals offer affordable spring skiing vacation options for families or groups. Condo rentals are another way to save money on your spring skiing family vacation. By renting a place with a full kitchen, you can save additional money by cooking your own meals. Plus, there often are deals for accommodations near the village of the resorts and facing slopes near the ski area.
Vacation Rental Companies (VRBO, AirBnB, HomeAway and more) offer a long list of vacation rentals in ski resort towns. A Google search for ski deals in Lake Tahoe resulted in this: 50 Heavenly Ski Resort Vacation Rentals from $54/night. Recently, we also saved with our super-sized multigenerational family of 22 by renting the Overlook, a sprawling home in Grand Lake, Colorado.
If you’re traveling with a large family or several families, the cost savings will be immediate.
6. Drive, Don’t Fly
Affordable spring skiing goes down the tube when you fly the skies with your family of four. If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to a ski destination, drive, don’t fly. You’ll save not just on the airline tickets, but also rental car or shuttle and by not checking gear. The bonus is road trips are another fun family bonding opportunity.
Read More: Get All the Road Trip Tips You Need Right Here!
7. Let a Travel Agent Do the Work
Already exhausted by the endless searching for deals? Contact a travel agent, who will have the inside track to many deals – and it won’t cost you any more than if you booked it yourself. You’ll save all the time as you won’t be spending hours searching the Internet. A travel agent also has access to thousands of accommodations at all different price points available at the click of her keyboard.
Money might be tight, but with these money-saving tips to find your affordable spring break skiing vacation, you can still afford to take the family to the slopes.
8. Enjoy Apres Ski
There may not be much that is free on a ski vacation. But when spring weather hits, the mountain decks come alive with apres ski and become havens for live music. The best way to end a day of spring skiing is on a sunny deck. Many of these require no cover, and often no purchase necessary, though you are likely to want to enjoy either some food or beverage to end the day.