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Deep powder without deep pockets

Ski for less by planning ahead and scouting for deals

By Stephanie Rosenbloom
New York Times

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If you are willing to travel, with a little planning, you can do it for less than you might think.

Here are deals on some ski destinations.

Wherever you want to go, a quick Web search can make lift tickets more affordable.

Liftopia.com bills itself as the largest online and mobile platform for ski lift tickets (and some other related costs like ski rentals and lessons). The site offers deals at nearly 250 ski areas including Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado, Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia and Park City, Utah, as well as at mountains in international destinations like Chile, Austria, France, Switzerland, Russia and Canada.

Vermont

The town of Killington’s “ski & stay” package enables children 6 and younger to ski free each day when accompanied by an adult. Also, with the purchase of an adult five-day or longer lift ticket, one child (age 7-12) will receive a complimentary lift ticket for the same dates and number of days as the adult lift ticket (there are blackout dates). The “ski & stay” package requires a minimum of one-night’s lodging and a two-day lift ticket. Packages must be booked at least one day before arrival and are available through April 14. Details: 800-621-6867.

The “bring a friend, ski free” promotion will enable you to receive a free lift ticket if you bring a first-time skier 18 and older who buys a “learn to ski & ride” package. Reservations required: Details: 800-923-9444; www.killington.com.

New York

In Manhattan with no car? No problem. Gray Line New York and CitySights NY, the double-decker bus and motor coach companies, offer ski package transportation deals to Hunter and Windham mountains. The “full” ski or snowboard package includes round-trip transportation (about a 2 1/2-hour ride), lift passes and ski or snowboard rentals for $149. A “learn to ski or snowboard” package includes round-trip transportation, a limited-use lift pass, ski or snowboard rentals, and a group lesson for the same price. Buses depart from Times Square on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:30 a.m. and return at 7:15 p.m. Reservations are required and must be made before 3 p.m. the day before departure: Details: www.newyorksightseeing.com or www.citysightsny.com.

Colorado

For hotel reservations within 21 days, the Vail Valley Partnership, a collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Bureau, has a “last-minute” lodging deals page on its website. There is also a “deals” page where you can search for accommodations in Vail and Beaver Creek. A recent search turned up a “get the third night free” promotion at Four Seasons Resort Vail (through Dec. 31) and up to 33 percent off at Vail Resorts Legendary Lodging collection at the Ritz-Carlton Residences through Dec. 21. Details: www.visitvailvalley.com.

British Columbia

The Whistler Blackcomb website lists deals on hotels, lift tickets and lessons. Under the “plan your trip” tab you’ll find package deals, like that at the Summit Lodge and Spa in Whistler Village North, a 10-minute walk to the lifts. For midweek getaways January through March, suites are $159. Another recent deal on www.whistlerblackcomb.com: The Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, a five-minute walk from the lifts, offered discounts of 18 to 30 percent on select dates for nonrefundable rooms. The website also lists “discover Whistler days,” when you can get 30 percent off group ski lessons (simply select your lesson date as one of the “Whistler days” and the savings will automatically be calculated into your booking). But some deals, according to the site, are simply too hot for the Internet; call 888-403-4727 for details.

Washington

At Stevens Pass, “4-day powder packs” are on sale through Dec. 24. That’s $159 for any four days of skiing or snowboarding for one person, any day of the winter season. The pack includes direct-to-lift access (no need to stop at the ticket window). There is also a “pay as you go” program called PNW Advantage. For $10, those who sign up receive up to $10 off weekend ticket prices and $15 off weekday ticket prices (the discount is applied based on age category and session time).

And, if you visit three times, the fourth visit is free. The PNW Advantage program is free for Stevens Renewal pass holders, REI members, other area pass holders and members of the military. Passes available at www.stevenspass.com.

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