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We’ve all been there – you make plans to hit the slopes during winter, you blink, and suddenly spring is at your doorstep. Warmer weather and longer days are no doubt ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean that blustery ski hills are being imminently shut down. You may have to look a little harder or drive a bit farther, but there are still excellent deals to be had when visiting high-elevation ski resorts that keep the powder flowing right on through April. Here are some of our favorites. Read more
When you were a kid, how great was that game “King of the Mountain?” If you missed out (or had parents who cared for your safety), the objective was simple: climb to the top of a large landmass – usually a hill or a pile of dirt – and remain at the peak as its “king,” all while combating shoving usurpers gunning for your title. Unless you wound up as the bruised and battered kid at the foot of the hill, it was a fun game. But standing atop a mound and christening it your kingdom is a childish lark. It’s not like you can claim an entire mountain for yourself nowadays, right? Well, with enough cash, becoming master of your very tall domain is actually a lot easier than you think.
A handful of ski resorts throughout the country are offering Own the Mountain packages – deals that, for a fee, allow you full, private access to the powder. Typically, exclusive mountain access can be acquired on a non-holiday, and can run a price tag of a few thousand dollars. That may seem like a hefty sum, but when divided equally among participants, the cost per skier on some mountains equates to a little more than the price of a daily lift ticket.
We’ve already offered you gift guides for all types of travelers. But with just a few days left before Christmas (and Chanukah already in the rear view mirror), I’m sharing a few more of my favorite pieces of gear, just in case you’ve been putting off all of your shopping until the last minute. Or, perhaps you’re anticipating a bevy of gift cards, checks, and cash stuffed in your stockings and need suggestions for how to spend them all in the new year. Whether you’re shopping for a friend, loved one, or yourself, this random assortment of great gear is sure to round out any traveler’s collection.
Tretorn Skerry Vinter Boots ($75): Tretorn is known for its rubber rain boots, which are great. However, come winter, when rain turns to sleet and snow, you need more than rubber to keep yourself warm. The Skerry Vinter boots put a winter spin on the classic, by adding a faux fur lining to these brightly colored women’s boots. They’re 100 percent waterproof, warm, and comfortable for a day wandering the city shopping for a pair of gloves to match. They’re also stylish, durable, and affordable, at $75. Read more
For some, paradise isn’t a pristine tropical island: it’s a mountain dusted with fresh, untouched snow. Skiing is a popular winter getaway for outdoor junkies who would rather work up a sweat tearing up the trails instead of lying in the sun. While the Northeast is home to a number of ski havens, snow bunnies may find themselves itching to hit the powder along the mountaintops out West. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a skier’s paradise, home to a number of beautiful, budget friendly resorts. But making the trek from the East Coast can be an ordeal. The journey required two, sometimes three transfers, an exhaustive trip which can leave any athlete breathless (and minus some vacation days). Good news for those looking to maximize their time on the mountains: United Airlines is doing its part to help skiers can get from their home to the slopes much, much quicker.
The airline announced it will offer nonstop, daily flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Jackson Hole from December 19 to January 2. Flights will also take off every Saturday from February 9 to March 30. The change is part of a wider expansion of services to Jackson Hole across several carriers. United recently began flying non-stop out of San Francisco, and Delta will offer flights from Minneapolis this winter.
Updated on November 13, 2012: Snowflakes have already started to fall in parts of the country, and many ski resorts, including Colorado’s Copper Mountain (Nov. 2) and Mammoth Mountain in California (Nov. 8), have already celebrated opening day. The hum of anticipation from the skiing and snowboarding community is almost palpable.
And there’s good reason for that excitement: According to the 2013 Old Farmer’s Almanac, this season should bring with it higher-than-average snowfall to several resort areas, including the Utah mountains, the Great Smokies in the southeastern United States, and British Columbia. Along with that much-hoped-for gift from nature, there are some pretty cool man-made happenings at several major resorts, too. Here, a few noteworthy tidbits to get you geared up for the 2012/2013 ski season. Read more
I came to Vail Mountain because I love Colorado, but also because some of the best spa deals at the popular ski resort occur between April and June. That means if you can get to Vail in the beginning of April just before ski season ends, you can score a sweet spa-n-ski getaway deal. If you can’t, there are enough spas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and saunas to keep you busy (busy relaxing, that is) for a long weekend, sans snow. But don’t worry, the babbling stream that runs through Vail village, combined with stunning mountain views and charming Swiss/German architecture is enough.
Here are a few of the best spring, shoulder season spa deals we could find:
Looking for a late-season ski fix? While most nationwide ski resorts spent this season pleading for the powdery white stuff (largely to no avail), Alaska’s Alyeska Resort, just 40 miles south of the Anchorage airport, has been inundated with more than 800 inches of fresh snowfall in the past six months. With enough cover to keep its trails open through Memorial Day, visitors in April and May can schuss the trails of the Chugach Mountain Range under the sun this spring, while overlooking scenic sea (at Turnagain Arm) and hanging-glacier panoramas. Plus, tack on extra snow play with resort activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; or, sign up for off-site adventures like ice climbing, dog-sled riding, or snowmobiling. The ski-in, ski-out property offers 304 sleek guestrooms, a saltwater pool and whirlpool touting mountain views, an on-site spa, and the mountaintop Seven Glaciers restaurant.
Alyeska is upping the value on its standard one-night “Ski & Stay” package just for ShermansTravel readers. Stay in April or May and get a complimentary room upgrade, plus a $50 resort credit for each night booked. Package rates start at $199/night and include a daily lift ticket bundled in with the rate (up to a $60 value).
Weekends stays in April require a two-night minimum; note that April 20–22 is blacked out (during the resort’s Spring Carnival event). Plus, keep in mind that while the snowfall has been exceptional this season, some of the best of it will be gone as May marches on.
Visit www.alyeskaresort.com for more info. To book, call 800-880-3880 and mention code “ShermansSki.”
The spring is arguably the best time for a recreational skier to visit a few of the seven ski resorts within an hour of the Salt Lake City airport. There’s still snow on the ground, but lodging prices are much lower than in peak season. For example, a room at the exclusive, ski-in/ski-out St. Regis at Deer Valley starts at $199 a night instead of $599 during the height of winter. The rate for a king room drops from $750 to $550 at the Washington School House, a newly renamed and revamped luxurious boutique property that is a stone’s throw from the action on Main Street (and ski-in/ski-out from Park City Mountain Resort). That includes a fine, home-style breakfast and all the après-ski snacks, microbrews, and wine you’d like – a rarity in this resort town.
I’ve been to Aspen once before and I am pleased to say the charming Western town in Colorado continues to lead as America’s premier glitz and glamour ski destination. I’m not sure which is more impressive – the natural beauty of Aspen’s mountain ranges or the not-so-natural plastic surgeries of its many patrons! Of course, one comes to Aspen to ski the four mountains, and my favorite continues to be Snowmass, followed by Ajax and Highlands. (I have not tried Buttermilk.) Snowmass is 25 minutes from Aspen and there are regular shuttle buses from the center of town.
I found a wonderful lunch spot, Lynn Britt Cabin, at mid-mountain of Snowmass. It’s a charming restaurant, with linen covered table tops, that features some hearty goulash, bison stew, and an extensive wine list. Like Cloud 9 restaurant on Highlands Mountain, Lynn Britt is one of the more special places to stop for a bite after a good morning of ski runs.
I was lucky this trip in that snow had fallen the week before and so the mountains had excellent powder. The light snow of Colorado is unique; Europe, California, and the U.S. Northeast can’t compare. The busiest and best month to come is March; days are longer than in January or February, the temperature begins to get a bit warmer, and there is usually a good snow base.
For diehard skiers and boarders, this year’s February 29 means an extra day on the slopes. Resorts across the country will offer lift tickets for just $29 tomorrow to take full advantage of Leap Day – with some full-day prices slashed by over 60 percent.
- Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadow: Book online by midnight tonight to score savings of 65 percent at these California sister resorts north of Lake Tahoe.
- Sunday River: Lift tickets at this resort near Bethel, Me., are discounted 64 percent.
- Diamond Peak: Save 46 percent at these slopes north of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side.
- Sno Mountain: Skiing at Scranton, Pa.’s local mountain will save you 43 percent.
If you can’t make it to the slopes tomorrow but want to plan a ski getaway for March, Big Bear Lake in southern California will be offering a flash sale on lodging and lift tickets from 6am February 29 to 6am March 1. Book any weeknight in March to receive 29 percent off lodging, up to two $29 lift tickets per day, and 29 percent off ski and snowboard rentals.
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