by Kristen Lummis, www.braveskimom.com
January is a perfect time to start you and your family on skis or snowboards, with many Colorado resorts offering discounts on lessons, rentals and more.Its also a good month to talk about saving money, with many shops and websites discounting gear and many resorts backing off from holiday season pricing.If youre ready to ski more, while spending less, here are some tips based on an article I prepared for the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month website.
Yes, lessons cost money upfront, but they pay off big time! With lessons, you and your kids will progress faster and have a lot more fun.Visit resort websites to find the best deals. If youve got questions, call and ask. Resorts want you to love skiing or snowboarding. Theyll help you find the best Learn-To program for you and your kids.
Also, look for learn-to-ski/snowboard programs through your childrens schools and consider taking lessons at some of Colorados smaller Gem resorts. Most ski and snowboard schools in the US are certified by PSIA/AASI. This means youll find high quality, top-level instruction at most every mountain.
Research ticket prices before you get to the mountain. If you have a season pass and you want to visit another resort, pick one that gives you free, or discounted, skiing.Look online for advance purchase pricing directly from the resorts or from discounters like Liftopia.com and GetSkiTickets.com.
If youre up for skiing Crested Butte, Copper Mountain, Loveland, Monarch or Powderhorn, fill up with at least 10 gallons of gas from a Shell Station and get a BOGO voucher for 2 adult lift tickets. With gas prices so low, this is a super good deal.
I recently read an article about how Christmas screws up the North American ski season. How? Because everyone focuses on making their gear and equipment purchases in December, forcing retailers to begin sales in January.
Take advantage of this timing and start shopping now if you or your kids need clothing or gear. While prices will fall later in the season (bottoming out in late Summer), if youre in the market, now is a pretty good time.
Also, take a look on Craigs List for solid, local deals. Kids outgrow their gear at inconvenient times, so theres almost always something good for sale! Another option? Join forces with friends and pass along hand-me-downs.If your friends are anything like ours, they probably have a super clean but outgrown Spyder jacket and youth ski boots hanging around. Swap, trade and share.
Skiing and snowboarding take a lot of energy, so you and your kids will have more fun if youve got portable power in your pockets. Load up on cheese sticks, granola bars, dried fruit and (our fave) M&Ms. Bringing your own snacks saves both money and time, and helps keep everyone happy.
Avoid long holiday weekends and the crowds that come with them. Look for last minute lodging deals on resort websites or through central reservations. While many of these deals are online, weve had great success with calling just a day or two before arrival.
Check out local hotels and motels. Independent lodges often have cheaper prices and more atmosphere than national chains. You may not get a ski-in/ski-out location, but you should get a clean room and a comfy bed.
If youre just going for a day, consider a midweek adventure. Take the kids out of school and have the slopes to yourself. Or try night-skiing at mountains like Steamboat, Howelsen Hill, and Ski Granby Ranch.