For families who love to hit the slopes, October marks the unofficial countdown to ski season, as well as the official watch for early-season travel deals to resorts across North America.
I know, with virtually no snow anywhere in the contiguous U.S., it might seem crazy to contemplate booking ski vacations during the Major League Baseball playoffs. Trust me, though—there are some killer deals out there, and if you want to save big bucks, now is the time to strike.
Through the “Ski Free & Stay Free At Last Year’s Prices” promotion at Heavenly Mountain Resort, in South Lake Tahoe, California, families (and everyone else) who book anywhere from four to 10 nights before Oct. 15 get one night of lodging and one day of skiing free.
(Good deals are available at resorts in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, too.)
Before you go out and book a trip for your family, it’s important to scan the fine-print for some important stuff:
- Blackout dates. No matter how early you book, package deals at most resorts still aren’t available during holidays and other popular times to travel. Be aware of this before you book, as it can cause you significant disappointment at the point of purchase.
- Lodging limits. Some resorts restrict the number of people you can have in one room under a package deal; if you’ve got more than the requisite number, they make you pay a surcharge per person. At some places, this surcharge starts for family members ages 12 and up. At others, however, you’ll have to pony up for any children over the age of 6.
- Extras. Most package deals don’t include rentals. Alternatively, some early-bird packages might include meal vouchers for food at certain resort-owned eateries. It always pays to call ahead and ask.
Finally, if your kids are under the age of 10, it may be wise to book your trip at a resort known for being kid-friendly. This way, when the little ones tire of the slopes, there are ski schools, terrain parks, snow-tubing and other diversions to keep everyone happy. Happy skiing!