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Need to get the low-down on ski packages? You’re in the right place! We’ve covered the ins and outs below, so whether you’re planning to go to Colorado, Utah, Switzerland or even Japan on your next ski vacation, you will be well-informed to pick the perfect ski package.
What is a ski package?
Simply put, it is a combination of some or all of the different parts that go into making a ski and snowboard vacation. Think flight tickets, hotel rooms, ski lift passes, equipment hire, lessons and shuttles!
What does a ski package include?
It varies, some offering more components than others. For example, flights, resort transfers, accommodation, ski or snowboard hire, and lift passes could be all brought together and offered at a single price as a ski package. Other components of a snow vacation are things like car hire, ski lessons, winter sports insurance, mountain activities, and other extras specific to individual ski resorts.
Why should you book a ski package?
There are a whole bunch of reasons why booking a ski package makes good sense, with perhaps the most important being that it’s less stressful than trying to book all the individual parts yourself! There are a lot of moving pieces that go into a ski vacation, and just trying to line up flight times with transfers can be irritating enough.
Ski travel specialists spend their lives perfecting the art of a seamless ski vacation, and they liaise with all the companies involved in a ski package so you don’t have to. They know the industry back to front and are often avid skiers themselves. They can point you to the right direction and recommend the perfect resort for what you’re looking for.
The other great reason is by booking transport, accommodation, lift passes, and more, all at the same time, you can usually make some group savings. You’ll also know how much your entire snow vacation will cost from the start to help you avoid any surprise additional costs.
Travel agents make their money from applying a margin on their wholesale rates which they have access to as a business. Your savings come from the fact that travel agents would be happy to reduce their margins on the sale if you are willing to spend more by buying everything in a bundle.
Ski travel specialists are also the first to hear about special ski deals which they can pass onto you and offer travel recommendations - for example, resorts often run sales throughout the season which they can pass onto you.
It’s less stressful
There are a lot of moving pieces that go into a ski vacation, and just trying to line up flight times with transfers can be irritating enough. Ski travel experts know the industry back to front and are often avid skiers themselves so will know to watch out for as they help you plan your vacation.
When is the best time to get a ski deal?
To get the biggest possible saving, you’re looking to book either very early in the season or during the tail end of the season.
Ski resorts tend to run major promotions twice a year. The first is in August to signal the start of the winter season and spruce up their presale numbers. This is the time to hunt for cheaper lodgings and discounted lift tickets. The flip side of booking this early is that you’re taking a gamble on the conditions, especially if you plan on skiing very early or very late in the season.
The second is in February near the tail end of the season. This sale is to promote more of the resort’s spring activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the prices for some late season skiing.
What are the dates to avoid?
The Christmas and New Years holiday period is often the most expensive time of year to book, but the prices also spike around the school holidays. Different regions and resorts also have their own peak times. Across the United States, Martin Luther King Day in January and Presidents’ Day in February can both raise the price of a ski package. At Japanese ski resorts, the Chinese New Year can be one of the busiest and most expensive times to visit. Taking a ski vacation in Utah during January usually means paying peak season prices because of the Sundance Film Festival. It’s worth doing some research on your preferred ski destination to avoid overpaying for your ski package.
Photos by Greg Burke