Many ski resort operators encourage resort visitors to book lift tickets in advance. This is a smart move, but it can also be difficult to determine whether or not you should buy before or after hitting the slopes. Having trained ski and snowboard instructors to show you the ropes is an advantage, but there are other options — consider first ever “timeline passes,” which are at most resorts 30 days before your first arrival day. Here are some tips for planning your trip.
WHO TO CALL BEFORE ARRIVING AT THE RESORT
Look into calling lodging operators to check for any last-minute availability. Many hotels book rooms in advance — at various prices, of course — for people arriving at the resort a few days before their arrival. It’s also a good idea to check if there is a good hotel nearby for the price, and can usually take a few hours to scout out hotels. Some hotels will also offer discounted tours.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE ARRIVING AT THE RESORT
Tour whichever ski area you’ll be hitting. Whether you are unfamiliar with the slopes or not, going to a remote area or park may be the best way to ease your way in. Pick a top-notch ski school for instruction and guided group tours.
MAKE SURE YOUR VALUE SKI DAY DOESN’T INVOLVE ANY PROBLEMS
Check all resort websites before purchasing lift tickets, which often feature lost, damaged or oversold tickets — since you’ll have to pay them back if you show up and are unable to use them. These days, this isn’t a big deal, but you may want to consider your insurance policy as well.
WHEN TO RETURN TO THE RESORT
Many good resort deals are only valid from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on your first day of skiing. After that, it’s up to you to catch up on skiing or ride the lift.
BAGGING YOUR TICKETS AND PACKAGES
Try to save on lift tickets, lift package or lodging by traveling to the resort close to your destination, where there may be multiple lift lines to check in.
VISITING FROM A DIFFERENT CITY? BE READY TO TRIPLE TAKE
Do you have a trip planned on “Vacation Monday”? You’re probably better off staying home (snow days are better off spent in the warm sun).
LIFETIME TRIPS ARE A GOOD OPTION
If you’re really intent on visiting several different resorts on the same day — and they won’t overcharge you by parking or lift tickets — then do it now, as hotels often discount their rooms for these short-term stays. But if you’re only planning to be there for two days, you’re better off staying at a lodging chain — like a Marriott or a Hilton, for example — since they have more properties in close proximity to the resorts you’ll be visiting.
BUYING MORE THAN ONE SKI PASS
A day pass allows you to do what most ski resorts charge for a full ski season pass. However, some of the resorts I’ve visited don’t have lift tickets for nonresidents: you’ll likely have to buy them on the day of your trip for an extra $60 to $100, which is double what they cost for locals.
DON’T SHELTER INSIDE YOUR VEHICLE
Everyone is more at ease on the slopes when they can see the terrain you’re skiing. If you can see or hear other skiers, let them know: even if it’s just skiers inside their cars. So, don’t hide out.
DON’T HAND YOUR RIDE WITH A BAD CARD.
You’re probably going to have someone waiting for you at the bottom of the hill with a broken-down ski patrol vehicle. You might want to lend them your cable until they fix it or, at least, don’t hand it to them.
WEST BANK: IF YOU FIND YOUR SUMMER TOUR TICKET IS RULED OUT, REGISTER TO BE ON THE VACATION PAGE (ROCKY MOUNTAIN MOUNTAIN RESORT)
WAIT THREE TO FOUR HOURS AFTER CRUISE OR CITY TO GET TO THE AREA YOU WANT TO SKI.
IF YOU’RE RUNNING 10:30-12 P.M., STAY DOWNTOWN DURING THIS TIME.