June 28, 2017

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Tips for Setting Your Intention for a Ski Vacation

My sister is a U.S. Track and Field certified coach. She coaches her athletes to ‘set their intention’ before going out for each training session. She wants them to have a clear idea of what they need to do to make the training session productive. The same philosophy can be used for planning your own ski vacation.

 Setting your Intention for Your Ski Vacation.

You are applying some of the same principals as above. First, you need to evaluate what the intention of your ski vacation is. A romantic getaway? Is it a girls or boys trip? (we can’t come to grips with the term “mancation”.) Will it be an adventure skiing or powder skiing trip? Is it a family trip focused on having a good time for all or having the kids get better winter sports skills?

 Now that you have this intention set you can start to think about destinations that will work for your overall intention. Now is a good time to call us at American Mountain Holidays because with our detailed process we can help you plan and budget for your vacation.

 Outside of this advice you will want to talk to friends, look at resorts that are maybe ranked for “best family ski vacations” or “best nightlife” or other factors according to your intention. Look through ski publications and narrow down 3 ski destinations that are known for providing the product to fulfill your intention.

 Next, is your budget. In today’s’ economic environment this is the real work in planning your ski vacation. We have found it’s best to follow this path:

 Airfare budget

Ground transportation budget

Lodging budget

Lift tickets

Ski or Board Rentals if needed

Food and Drink

Gifts

Walking Around Money

 Airfare:

This can determine where you go first depending on what the fares are. Destinations close to major airports offer the most competitive price especially if served by ‘discount airlines’.

Tip: Remember extra charges like those lovely baggage fees. If traveling with skis or a board you need to research the website or call the airline directly as this will be an oversized item. Shipping via UPS or FedEx is becoming more common. Need a box? Visit your local ski shop, they should have some in the back unless it’s later in the season.

 Ground Transportation:

Will you need a rental car or can you take a shuttle? Will you need a car when you get to the resort? Many destinations have great free shuttle service within the resort.

Tip: the hotel or condominium may have complimentary service within the town limits. This can have some bearing on your choice of accommodation and you can save some money here. They may even have free airport pickup in the destination resorts.

 Lodging:

Probably the largest component of your trip cost wise. Location is key to consider especially if you have kids and they are too small to schlep their own gear. That means ski in-ski out. The general rule is the further you are from the lifts, the cheaper the lodging. There are some great deals in nice accommodations if you are willing to shuttle or drive 15-20 minutes.

Amenities: make sure if a hot tub is important to you after a day on the hill that the property has this. Heated underground parking might be high on your list or wireless internet access.

Tip: buying early and longer stays can get you free nights. If you can arrive on a Sunday and check out on a Friday this can mean better prices.

 Lift Tickets:

This is a tough area to find “deals”. The ski area sets its prices and usually will not discount lift tickets. Exceptions: if the ski area owns the lodging and packages the lift tickets in with the lodging to hide the discount. Ski areas will make these same discounts available to their tour operators partners like AMH.

Tip: be realistic in the number of days you will ski. Will you be taking a day to rest and relax, another day for snowcat skiing or snowmobiling or Nordic skiing? A 3 of 5 day or 4 of 6 day ticket will offer some savings.

 Food and Drink:

You can find plenty of savings here depending on the effort you put into it. When I was younger we had a couple of six packs of Coors and some Fig Newtons for après ski at the condo while we listened to the CD player and told stories and soaked in the hot tub. Then fixed a spaghetti dinner with salad and bread and cookies for dessert and crashed so we could get up early and ski the next day. Simple and cheap and some of the best camaraderie I can remember.

 Now, its après ski beers at $4.00 a pop while we people watch and listen to live entertainment. Dinner in the restaurant will be another $30.00 to $50.00 per person depending on alcohol and if you’re up for nightlife look out. Cover charges and drinks will leave you with a headache the next day.

 Tip: Lunch on the mountain can be expensive. Eat lighter, really. A big meal will slow you down for the afternoon and cost a bundle. Hot soup with bread or crackers, a hot drink, some fries, you’re good. Avoid the bottled drinks from the cooler, drink water from the fountain in a cup, they just kill you on those bottled drinks.

 Gifts:

Inevitably you’ll want something for the folks back home.

Tip: Think small for transport and cost purposes and unique. It doesn’t have to have a logo on it !!! Your wife or child or boyfriend will remember that gift you bought them that came from Jackson Hole or Banff or Aspen.

 

Walking Around Money.

If you are on a budget; PLAN! Have the food and drink budget and live with it, especially during après ski! Same for the gift budget.

Tip: Plan on having $20.00 a day in reserve for unexpected items. In a ski resort this can go in no time.

 Final Tip:

Work with a good ski tour operator. It won’t cost more because they make their money from the supplier! They can help you find the right resort, transportation, lodging, restaurants to eat in, the closest grocery store, the best ski shop, where to ski on the mountain in the morning or afternoon. These folks make their living knowing the ski resorts and they are good at it. Use their knowledge and I’ll bet you have you best ski vacation ever!

 

 

 

 

 

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