Help me ski cheaply!
December 21, 2006 2:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm watching the weather coverage on the news with envy. Can you help me make it out west after new years alone on a budget?

I'm a single male college student stuck in North Carolina with my family over break. I've been skiing in Colorado and Utah three times in the past with family, but for the past two years we've been unable to make it - I'm the only one who loves to ski, and they don't have the vacation time. Few of my close friends ski, and the ones who do are content to stay around here and don't want to spend the money on a flight. I have two main questions:

1. Can I make it to a resort from the airport without renting a car (too young) or spending a ridiculous amount of money? If I remember correctly, the closest resort from Denver is at least an hour away, and the ones out of Salt Lake are even further away. Are there shuttles that take travelers directly from the airport (or from somewhere in the city, if I caught a cab to there) to different resorts? I'm open to any location - Colorado, Utah, Jackson Hole, Montana, etc... Alternatively, if anyone can suggest all-inclusive packages for single travelers that are cheap that'd be great, but so far the packages I have found are geared either towards families/groups or people with plenty of money to spend.

2. Even if I can make it to a resort from the airport, can I find somewhere to stay cheaply? I have no idea what kind of lodging options are open to solo travelers, and again, I'm finding very little information on the web. Do hostels, group lodges open to individuals, or anything along those lines exist at any ski areas? Also, in the past, my family rented skis and bought lift tickets in Denver or Salt Lake, and the prices were significantly better than if we had got them from the resort. Will I be ripped off by having to pay resort prices if I don't have a car? How much should I plan on spending for three days of skiing, renting, housing, and food, assuming I go minimalist?

Thanks for any help - specific suggestions are welcome as well.
posted by btkuhn to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can take a shuttle from SLC airport to Big Cottonwood Canyon (Brighton & Solitude), Little Cottonwood Canyon (Snowbird & Alta), or Park City (Park City, Deer Valley & The Canyons) for about $30 one way. It's about a 30 min ride to all three; you definitely don't need a car. If you ski in BCC or LCC, though, your hotel options are pretty much limited to what exists at the resorts. If you stay in Park City you have a lot more options, and you can take a free bus to any of the 3 area resorts. My advice would be to look into staying in Park City.

My best guess for price would be the cost of airfare + ~$200 for lift tickets + $150-$200 night for a hotel.

At Park City, however, you can ski free the day you land, so it's worth booking an early morning flight into SLC and skiing free your first day. You can pretty easily be on the mountain by 10-11 with the time change. That saves you about $70 on the lift tickets.
posted by rachelv at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2006

alternatively, you could do a cheapo trip to Santa Fe and Taos ski valleys, both of which can be reached by shuttle bus from the Albuquerque airport. Both offer pretty cheap lodging.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:42 PM on December 21, 2006

You could fly to Reno and go to Tahoe via shuttle.
posted by fshgrl at 4:35 PM on December 21, 2006

You could go to the Canadian Rockies -- you can take a a bus to Banff or Lake Louise directly from the Calgary airport.
posted by loiseau at 4:54 PM on December 21, 2006

I live in Colorado and if you want to take advantage of all the fresh powder, stick to the eastern slopes. The western slopes got far less snow than those on the east. This should make travel to your resort easier as well.
posted by icebourg at 6:52 PM on December 21, 2006

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