When you visit Colorado to ski or snowboard, you have to determine where you are going to stay and what ski resort you’re going to enjoy. Sometimes this goes hand in hand as many ski resorts have hotels and towns where you can stay right next to the mountain.
Prices have been rising at the ski resorts and it’s becoming rather expensive to go skiing. There’s the marked up hotel, lift tickets, lessons, and food. So you have to make some decisions. Is it important to you to stay at a popular resort at their resort hotels? Do you want to ski in and out of your hotel room? Of course, if you want to pay more to do that, please do. Here at Young Broke, we try to get a cheaper deal. Just as always, our recommendations aren’t the only cheap options, but they’re things that worked for us.
Last year, Matt skied at Winter Park Resort and got their student season pass. It was a great deal at the time. But with new ownership, their prices have risen. Now Winter Park’s season pass for young adults is $369 and $449 for adults over 23. A lift ticket is $160 a day if you buy a week in advance online, and $180 if you buy the day of. As I understand, Breckenridge, Aspen/Snowmass, Vail, and Keystone have similar pricing.
There are some smaller resorts such as Monarch Mountain and Loveland Ski Area. This year we tried out Loveland Ski Area. Their lift ticket is $79 a day! And if you buy in advance online, you can get it even cheaper! Loveland receives an average of over 35 feet of snow every season and is one of the earliest resorts to open and close every year. They have a free snowcat to take you even farther up the mountain. They offer a small ski area called “Loveland Valley” which is for beginners and lessons. It allows them to be separate from the large side of the mountain. There’s a large range of beginner to expert. It’s more of a local ski resort so there aren’t crowds or lines on the 1,800 acres right off of I-70. Also it’s one of the closest resorts from Denver. All that being said, Loveland has a lot going for it!
While we were there, I got a group lesson, with rentals, and an all day lift ticket for $139. My group lesson was scheduled mid-day. There turned out to be no one else there so I had a 2 hour private lesson! It was amazing! Matt went ahead and bought a season pass for $329, which also comes with food and rental discounts. Their food court is pretty great. I got a veggie burger, pizza, and pasta the days we were there. On the mountain there are cottages with wood burning stoves. They have grills so on nice days you can cook-out. We experienced clear days and snowy days full of fresh powder. Both were wonderful.
Loveland Ski Area is not right by a town and does not have any hotels. This means you must drive there every day. That cuts down on the crowds. To some this might not be what you’re looking for but the drive was worth it for us to pay so much less every day for skiing.
While we were there, we got an amazing deal through Hotwire.com for the Winter Park Mountain Lodge, which is right across the street from the Winter Park Resort. It’s about a 45-minute breathtaking drive to Loveland from there. That might seem long but we enjoyed the drive and managed it fine in the snow.
With Hotwire.com, you may chose to get a big discount by paying for a room and they will give you a hotel from one of the four they have listed in the area. For instance, for us our options were the Winter Park Mountain Lodge, The Vintage Hotel, Iron Horse Resort, and the A11 Snowblaze Athletic Club. They are all 3-star hotels in the Winter Park area. If you want to spend more money, they will select from 4-star hotels. In our case, Hotwire.com selected the Winter Park Mountain Lodge both times. In this manner, our first trip out, we got the place for $75/night and our select trip we got $60/night. If you want to ski at Winter Park, which is across the street, I would definitely recommend this mention. There is no guarantee you’ll get that exact hotel but it seems to be a more common one chosen.
Our lodge was nice. It has a pool, sauna, hot tubs, a ski shop, and restaurant. For Valentine’s Day, we actually had a fine meal there! It wasn’t too crowded and the staff was nice. Overall I think it was a wonderful deal.