Archive for the Category »ski trip «

Jan
17th
  Hotel of the Week: Snow Deals up to 30% off !

Have you ever booked a ski cabin or condo and found it to be NOT like the photos? Yet, booking a hotel can be more expensive. How do you find a nice ski condo or house that suits your needs, is affordable, and delivers what is promised?

Word of mouth is always good. But another easy way is to book lodging through a reputable rental company. I know Air BnB is all the rage, and there is a market for that because one can save so much money… but going through a big company gives you more amenities, consistent standards, and someone in a corporate office to call if something goes wrong.

Lion Square Lodge courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Lion Square Lodge courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

I was just at Lion Square Lodge in Vail, CO, a property managed by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. It just went through a multi-million dollar renovation and, at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I found it to have all the qualities a family could want.

Vail, Lion Square Lodge, outdoor pool view - Photo Credit - Wyndham Vacation Rentals

It is SO convenient – a ski in ski out property.. some rooms overlook the gondola and a pool that overlooks the slopes. (Seriously parents, if you’ve never done ski in ski out, it is worth it. )

Lion Square Lodge, Vail courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Lion Square Lodge, Vail courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

The properties in Lion Square have new clean, fully stocked  kitchens…

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…and nice spacious rooms with fireplaces.

Wyndham is having a sale on all it’s ski properties in some of the top destinations – including Sun Valley, Park City, Aspen, etc. RIGHT NOW!

The Lions Square Lodge is one of the nicer properties…It has a mix of hotel rooms and condos. Depending on the date, you could get a place that sleeps 4 for $540 a night.  That includes maid service, free parking, ski valet and WiFi  – all within walking distance to the village.

I recommend it…. and check out the other deals at www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com. It’s not too late to book a ski vacation. :) There are President’s Day deals too!

Happy Friday!

 

 
Jan
07th
  Ski Smarts For Saving Money – Part 2

 

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain

I’m skiing Mammoth Mountain, CA this week. It is so not crowded, and we got a great deal on a condo that is not always available during busy times.  I realize not everyone can take off skiing right after the holidays, but my kids have a third week off for break.  My point is, if you can ski during mid-week, right before or after the holidays, or end of season into spring, you can save a lot of money on lodging and enjoy empty slopes!

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The downside – sometimes the snow is not at it’s peak (excuse the pun.) Right now, there are many rocks showing. But, use that as another way to save money – Since the roads will be easier to navigate with little snow, you don’t always need to rent an SUV if you are flying to your ski destination. They are more expensive. Save money by renting a regular sedan – check road conditions, and get chains if necessary.

Also – in the event you book a trip long before you go, it is smart to buy travel insurance in case – oops- there is no snow, or something happens. You won’t lose all your security deposit for a condo, house, or hotel room.

Have a great day and pray for more snow!

 

 

 
Jan
06th
  As You Get Back to Routine, Note These Ski Deals for An Upcoming Trip!

Welcome back to reality for those who had an extended holiday break!

While  many of us are settling into the new year, perhaps returning from trips, getting back to routine, it may be hard to think about planning another trip… But there are still months ahead of snow skiing.

This week I will give ski tips, in case you are planning a ski trip later this season. (Look at photo of Mammoth Mountain – low on snow! Follow my tips, but I can never seem to time my ski trips with the snow :( )

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Today I we’re talkin’ how to save money on lift tickets….

1) Check out  websites that offer discount lift tickets – Onthesnow.com and  Liftopia.com. both post deals on tickets. The one downside is the discount often comes if you buy multiple tickets, instead of day by day. Still, there are savings to be had. The websites also gives you updates like how much snowpack there is at the moment, which runs are open, the weather, etc. for resorts nationwide, and in Canada.

2) Seek out deals..: June Mountain, next to Mammoth Mountain where I am right now, lets kids under 12 ski free!! That is a huge savings for a family, although it is not the size mountain that it’s neighbor Mammoth is.

Mad River Glen, in Vermont, holds its Roll Back the Clock Day on January 28, when all lift tickets will cost what they originally sold for at the mountain’s 1948 opening—$3.50. Then, on Valentine’s Day, bring your loved one to the ticket booth, kiss him or her, and you’ll each receive $14 lift tickets. Finally, on St. Paddy’s Day, March 17, lift tickets will only cost you $17, assuming you are wearing some green.

At Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in California, save up to $30 when you purchase two consecutive day lift tickets on peak season & weekends OR save $10 when you purchase two consecutive day tickets for midweek. This excludes holidays and the week of February 18-21, 2014

You can also  ski or ride FREE there on your birthday! You must present a valid photo I.D. on your actual birthday to the Guest Services Office.

If you are a college student, or have a college student in your family, research which resorts offer ski passes for your academic skiier, New England has 4.0 The College Student Pass. Colorado students can look into the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus College Pass.

3) Hotel packages: Lastly – Look for hotel packages that offer lift tickets as well. We are staying in a hotel that offers such a deal.

Happy New Year!

 

 
Dec
13th
  Hotel of the Week: Nothing Fancy About It – Especially Not The Price
Basecamp Hotel

Basecamp Hotel

The thing I love about the 50-room Basecamp Hotel is that it fills a void: No, not a boutique hotel that’s fashionable- “Fashionable”  and “Boutique Hotel” are synonymous. The void it fills it that it is a hotel high on style, yet  low on attitude and prices.

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Basecamp is in South Lake Tahoe, CA. The concept is simple: a rugged place to stay that is en vogue, close to biking, hiking, and ski trails- sort of like, well, a basecamp for fun.  The owner wanted to build a hotel reflecting the ideals of a  place where people can come together to share stories and exchange tips before heading out on their adventure.

loftThe other void it fills, is that there are rooms with bunk beds so families with more than 3 kids can all stay in the same room. Finally! Here is a room with 2 Queen beds and bunks…

8 bunks

and  there is one room that sleeps 8 with bunks. It resembles a summer camp, but nicer.

basecamp0

Actually, my favorite room IS pretty much an indoor camp site  called the Great Indoors. Young kids would love it, it has an indoor tent!

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But it is only a king bed room, so no place for the kiddos.. My suggestion would be to bring the right companion who brings out your inner child :)

Beyond the rooms, the public amenities are thoughtful – 2 fire pits to make s’mores… an intimate bar serving hot chocolate and local brews… a roof-top hot tub with mountain views..breakfast top start your day (handy if you like to get to the slopes first thing)… and it is pet-friendly.

With ski season here, it is a good hotel about which to know – closest mountain is Heavenly Resort. A four minute walk, the hotel claims….And we all know how gorgeous Lake Tahoe is – summer and winter.

Rooms have motel-like rates:  Starting at $125 a night.  www.basecamphotels.com    Happy Friday!

 

 
Dec
03rd
  Travel Tip Tuesday: Hit The Slopes For Less… Now!

I live in Southern California, where many sun lovers aren’t excited about rain – Their consolation is “Oh well…we need it…”

Here’s another  positive thought:  That means snow in the mountains! You skiiers and boarders can appreciate that!

IMG_0811But skiing ain’t cheap – especially if you are skiing as a family.

IMG_0860One way to save money on lodging is to… go now!  No, I really mean, like, right now. If there is snow, the best deals are to be found today- after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. I know it doesn’t seem realistic in our crazy lives,and some of you may have just returned from a Thanksgiving trip.  But someone’s gotta go!  if you can make room in your calendar,  scroll to the bottom for some specials.

On the other end – try renting a ski home right after the new year, say January 5 – 10 for example. First of all – there are more available, especially mid-week.  I spent time on one of my favorite ski rental websites - tahoeluxuryproperties.com – and found beautiful homes that are totally booked between Christmas and New Year’s… but the week after is wide open, and less money.

Once again, I totally understand may not be realistic for families with kids in school, but those with young children, or those attending school with longer breaks, this is a good time to test the powder :)

Pray for a good snow season!

Here are some red hot specials going on NOW – (found in Outside Magazine  www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/north-america/united-states/Where-to-Get-the-Best-Deals-of-the-2014-Ski-Season.html)

Snowbird has ski-in/ski-out lodging and lift tickets for $99/person before December 19.

Buy one night at any Winter Park Resort property between November 13 and December 20 and get a second night for half-price. Or, book at least two nights of lodging at regular price and get a free kid’s (ages 6-12) lift ticket with the purchase of an adult lift ticket, valid until December 19.

Steamboat’s Boat Launch pass sets you up for three days skiing between Thanksgiving and December 21 for just $129.

Sun Valley’s Pre-Holiday Package runs from November 28 through December 20 and features lodging and a lift ticket for $85 per person.

 
Sep
10th
  Travel Tip Tuesday: Keeping the Family Healthy – Don’t Let A High Trip Get You Down!

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I was caught by surprise on a recent trip to Santa Fe New Mexico. Despite the relaxation, great hikes, and fresh air, I wasn’t sleeping well, and felt a little nauseous at bedtime, along with a slight headache. I was “off.”

Too bad I realized too late that Santa Fe is 7,000 feet above sea level! Who knew?

Altitude sickness had set in. About 20% of use get some symptoms of altitude sickness between 6300 and 9,700 feet above sea level. My doctor told me that people with low blood pressure are even more susceptible… (I’m no MD, but after thinking about it, it makes sense – need to get oxygen flowing stronger!)

Aspen, CO

Aspen, CO

Since it will soon be time to book ski trips over the holidays, I want to remind everyone how altitude sickness can creep up on you, and cast a little haze on your trip if you are not careful… especially if you ski in the higher elevations.

Symptoms of altitude sickness are similar to a severe hangover: insomnia, nausea or vomiting, or light headedness. To prevent it head on, make sure you stay hydrated – more water vapor from the lungs is lost at higher altitudes. Try and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Give yourself time to acclimate before exerting yourself on a hike or something….

If you start exhibiting more serious signs of altitude sickness like excessive vomiting, fever, loss of consciousness,  make sure to seek medical attention. This is especially true if you are climbing higher than 10,000 feet – they say you shouldn’t climb higher  than 300 feet a day at that level.

If you have a pre-existing heart condition you should see your doctor prior to the trip.

There IS medication to prevent altitude sickness. I know that I am susceptible because 3 out of 5 trips to Aspen I have gotten altitude sickness (listen up skiers).

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

So when I was invited to go to Peru for work, a place on my bucket list, I didn’t want my trip to be compromised because I didn’t feel 100%. My doctor prescribed Diamox. I took it a few days before my trip so my body could get used to it, and I felt great even at 11,000 feet.

salt mones Peru

I went with a tour group, Adventures by Disney, and I must say that many people on my trip who did not take Diamox, got sick – including my own family. I was very happy to be on it and wasn’t affected by altitude at all. Some countries, like Peru, offer coca leaves to help… I can’t say that it helped anyone on my trip.

My recommendation would be to check with your doctor – especially when it comes to medicating your children with anything. I found that the kids adjusted better than adults – maybe a stomach ache for a few hours, and then they were fine.

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Don’t let a high trip get you down – be prepared :)

 
Dec
07th
  Hotel of the Week: This Year’s Best Ski Hotel

From Vail.com

Conde Nast Traveler has it’s list of the top 50 ski hotels out – and the hotel ranked number one is… drum roll…the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain in Avon, Colorado.

From Weddingmapper.com

The results are from a magazine poll of its readers, and each hotel was rated on criteria such as Terrain and Conditions, Apres Ski Activities, Overall Design, Location, Rooms, etc.

From ski.com

What I find particularly great is that the hotel offers direct access to Beaver Creek skiing – you can take a gondola to the slopes right out the hotel’s back door – or take a  shuttle that comes to the hotel. When you return, there is a ski valet to store your equipment and warm up your boots for the next day on the slopes!

Vail, CO from concierge.com

After shooshing it up on the mountain, you might want to visit the 27,000 square foot spa…. and then go into charming nearby Vail village (about 14 miles away) which has plenty of shopping and dining to wow you, in a stylish European way that is still not over the top. Beaver Creek is even closer and full of activities too – including an outdoor ice rink.

Westin Riverfront Suite, from Beavercreek.com

For families, there are all sorts of accommodations – from traditional rooms to one, two,a nd three bedroom suites.  Skiing is a lot of work when you bring kids, so if you can afford to be more comfortable in your room, that is a luxury.

The hotel is offering some specials right now – stay two nights get the third one free….www.westinriverfrontbeavercreek.com

But first, let’s pray for a good snow season. I remember when I lived in San Francisco, I would never get sad when it rained, because it meant snow in nearby Tahoe for a weekend trip. Let’s hope there is more snow than last year in all of our resorts!

 
Jan
10th
  Travel Tip Tuesday: Don’t Get Snowed on a Ski Trip, Here’s How to Save $$

Let’s face it – as heavenly as those mountain vacations are, skiing/snowboarding are expensive sports…the gear, lift tickets, travel expenses. Wouldn’t it be nice to reduce the cost?

Here are some tips to help you have a nice trip, and not break the bank.

1) Consider your parking situation at the mountain. Check with the ski resort – some charge less for parking on week days… and charge less for high occupancy vehicles. Translation: carpool. It can save you $10 a day in some places.

2) If you have children, buy their equipment on Ebay. I have bought every new set of kids’ skis on the auction website, and hand each pair down to the next child. If you only have one child, it may not be worth it to buy skis and boots since kids he or she grow out of them. Also, skis = extra baggage charges on planes,  so see if there are special package deals for rentals if you put your child in a lesson.

3) Consider flying Jet Blue or Southwest to your ski destination if possible – they still allow a second free checked bag. Otherwise, make your boots your carry on so you can put all the skis together in one bag.

4) If you own a credit card linked to an airline, check to see if that gets you any benefits when it comes to checking skis or extra baggage.

5) Instead of renting a car online, call the local rental car agencies directly- especially if you are renting last minute.  I have found they sometimes have cars that the online websites don’t list – for a better price!

Now all we need is more SNOW! Have a great season!

 
Jan
04th
  Little Snow in Aspen – But Plenty To Do

Happy Happy New Year! I genuinely hope 2012 brings all good things.
…and that includes some snow in some of America’s greatest ski resorts!

Buttermilk at Aspen, CO

I know of a few bare mountains – I experienced Aspen, CO first hand this winter break. Locals were saying there hasn’t been this little snow since something like 1950 ( fact checker?) And there is no snow in the forecast until next week.


But don’t let that stop you from visiting! We had enough snow as a family to ski – and to be honest, the low snow fall kept the crowds away. It wasn’t powder, but it wasn’t all slush and ice either. The sun was shining, it was a great way to start the new year, and there were some young guys who definitely took advantage of the atypical temps…

There are a few resorts to ski in Aspen – each with their own personality. Snow Mass is most family-oriented, and word is there is enough the most snow there, but it is the farthest from town.

I skied Highlands and Buttermilk this trip – now that Buttermilk’s Tiehack Express lift is open, there is enhanced (and faster) access to more intermediate and advanced runs, but still many runs for the kids.

If you don’t get any snow while you are there, the great thing about Aspen is that there is still plenty to do.

Aspen Rec Center with multiple families!

For instance, the public rec center is a gem. With a daily admission fee of: kids: $15, and adults $17, but free if just supervise, you have access to:

Rock climbing

Ice Skating

and an amazing floating river pool, with water slides. The kids love it. There is a snack bar inside too, so you can spend many hours here.

The shopping and dining are upscale – Architecture is that of old snow/minming town, but don’t let the exterior fool you: Aspen’s stores are tres chic and expensive. The restaurants are a little more varied – Annies is casual and good.

For other snow activities, the legendary Little Nell Resort and Residences can organize everything from snow-cat led tours, dog sledding, and snow shoeing to name a few. Oh – and while you are there, stop by the bar for a drink. It is the most happening “apres-ski” scene I’ve experienced. It was packed on New Year’s Eve day.

Another happening place to hang out and wait for snow is Cloud Nine at top of the Highlands ski resort.

It is known for its fun environment – close seating with loud music, and dancing on the table tops. Yes, in ski boots. The fondue, as well as a reservation, is a must.

Or… just grab the kids and have an old fashioned snow ball fight, or build a snowman. You don’t need 5 feet of snow to do that, and it is great being in the fresh outdoors. It may be the only thing in pricey Aspen that is free!

While I was there, I saw one of my favorite musicians on the mountain – Seal. Funny… because it was almost the new year, one of his songs came to mind…. ” A Change is Gonna Come.” New Years always represents change for me… hopefully for Aspen that means snow!

Look, listen, be inspired.

 
Jan
19th
  Tuesday Travel Tip: Making Skiing With Kids Easier

Taking kids skiing means dealing with all the equipment…. renting gets expensive trip after trip, especially if you go more than once a year. And owning – well, they grow out of the boots and skis so darn fast.

Here’s a novel idea that can save you the time, trouble, and expense of replacing boots… Roces Junior Idea Ski Boots are adjustable to grow with your children.

The boot features a “6-in-1” technology that allows you to adjust the length and the height of the ski boot as your child’s foot, leg, and ankle grow. This boot accommodates US shoe sizes 4.5  7.5 (men’s sizes). You can find them listed for $135.00 on Amazon.

So before you give the sport the “boot” because of the hassle factor, you may want to explore this equipment – it may grow on you. (ugh – I know bad bad bad.)