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Frequently Asked Questions

Expert tips and advice on planning your ski vacation

Here are frequently asked questions answered by our experienced travel agents who specialize in planning winter mountain vacations.

You can contact them directly if you have any questions or concerns. Their priority is providing you with information and tips on how to plan your trip and have unforgettable memories from a well planed holiday.

We are prepared to help even experienced traveler with some specific questions.

Can I get a last minute reservation during the holidays?

 Amanda

Amanda
Absolutely! The key to last minute availability is flexibility, as you may not be able to get all the items on your wish list, but you will be able to get out on the slopes.

 Sonya

Sonya
Yes, you get a last minute reservation during the holidays, but you have to be flexible on location of property, ski destination or dates.

 John

John
There are always reservations that fall out around the holidays, so it never hurts to try to secure one of these.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Yes, although you are much better off booking any holiday or high traffic weeks well in advance it is always possible to find a last minute cancellation or release of space. Flexibility within a date range is the key here.

 Travis

Travis
Last minute reservations may be an easy way to get a reduced rate if a property is trying to fill some last minute bookings. It’s always a good idea to call an agent and ask about available last minute options.

Do ski resorts guarantee good snow conditions?

 Holly

Holly
Snow conditions are up to Mother Nature. The resorts can supply man-made snow if the weather conditions permit. Again it’s our friend Mother Nature that controls this.

 Travis

Travis
Yes, some resorts do offer snow guarantees, and it’s becoming more popular. Some leave it up to the customer to be subjective and decide whether or not the conditions meet their standards and others are more objective with the resort or property itself deciding whether the conditions are up to par. It’s important to understand and read the fine print regarding the resort’s guarantee.

 Sonya

Sonya
“Good snow conditions” is a relative term. Typically if a ski area has less than a certain number of lifts open or less than 50% terrain open they will refund.

 Amanda

Amanda
Ski resorts would love to guarantee good snow conditions but Mother Nature doesn’t allow for that type of commitment. Snow is most unpredictable in the beginning and towards the end of the season, but many resorts have snow making machines to assist with the snow quality.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Many resorts have state of the art snowmaking capability in this era of ski to increase the probability of skiable conditions. And many resorts will refund for no snow or a percentage of lifts not open.

How can I get free lodging?

 Amanda

Amanda
Ask about BOGO (Buy One Get One) and Ski Free/Stay Free deals! Various resorts offer great specials for skiers/boarders that are able to book early. A select few resorts offer the opportunity to ski free on their arrival day (restrictions apply, of course.)

 John

John
Some of the resorts offer free night stays when purchasing a set number of nights, every resort is different.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
The Early Bird catches the worm here. The very best booking deals are available as early as May for the upcoming season. Waiting to book “last minute” deals not always the best tactic. That being said, there is almost always some sort of deal out there if you can be flexible with resort and dates of travel.

 Travis

Travis
Free lodging may be offered with the purchase of a minimum night’s stay at many properties. Resorts offer this as an incentive for potential clients to book.

How can I ski free?

 John

John
There are some packages with resorts that offer lift tickets when you purchase X number of lodging nights. Sometimes only one night.

 Travis

Travis
Ski free options vary from resort to resort. Some offer free skiing upon your arrival date if you furnish a boarding pass from the same date. Others offer free skiing incentives to beginners or to those who book a minimum nights lodging. Many resorts require that you book your stay with one of the properties they manage or with a preferred partners.

 Holly

Holly
Some resorts in France offer free lift passes to seniors over the age of 75.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Varies from resort to resort. Could be an early bird booking incentive, low season incentive or as simple as bringing your boarding pass to the lift window on your day of arrival.

 Ina

Ina
Sometimes, early bird specials for low season dates include 1 free day of skiing

How do kids-ski-free deals work?

 John

John
Kids ski free packages are tied together with lodging packets with their parents or family members.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Usually connected to the adult buying at least a 5 day ticket as offered in Steamboat Springs but could be associated with a particular promotion provided by a resort , a hotel property or even an airline.

 Travis

Travis
Many resorts offer free skiing to children under a certain age generally 5 or 6 years old (some requires age verification) others can go as high as 12. Ski Utah offers a 5th and 6th graders free skiing via their passport to encourage youngsters to ski.

 Sonya

Sonya
Certain ski areas offer kids 12 & under ski free with a paying adult.

How early can I book a ski vacation?

 Amanda

Amanda
In some places up to a year in advance.

 John

John
Booking a trip can be done at any time, but lodging rates and lift rates are normally not set till late summer. All resorts differ.

 Travis

Travis
It’s never too early to book a ski vacation. Many resorts and properties offer incentives to book early with discounts on lift tickets, lodging or amenities.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Hotels are much easier to book early but I have been able to arrange a package a year prior to travel for clients.

 Holly

Holly
Some resorts will honor present year’s rates for the following year if paid in full when booking.

 Ina

Ina
Usually 11 months in advance.

How many people do I need on my trip to rent a house?

 Amanda

Amanda
One! While there are limits to how many people a house can sleep, and be in accordance with fire safety regulations, there is typically not a minimum number of people necessary for a property rental. (European reservations being different.) If you are looking to save money, sharing a house with another person/couple/family is a great option.

 John

John
House rental guest numbers vary from resort to resort and what you are willing to pay to have a house to yourselves.

 Travis

Travis
Group sizes vary from home to home. Some smaller homes and condos may sleep form 2 to 4 adults. Other larger home may comfortably sleep 18 to 20 people.

 Holly

Holly
You can actually book a house for yourself if you wanted to.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
As little as 4 and up to as many as 30 people in some of the European Chalets we offer.

 Ina

Ina
A lot of the private Residences have 4-8 Bedrooms that sleep 10 – 20 people.

Is a hotel less expensive than a condo?

 Sonya

Sonya
Not necessarily – It all depend upon location to the slopes and quality of the hotel or condo, as well as amenities offered.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
All depends on the total number of people divided into the price. With 4 adults in one condo versus 2 hotel rooms scenario, the condo will most likely price better. I can easily check which works best for you and your family.

 Amanda

Amanda
Not necessarily. It will all depend on the location, quality level, and room type.

 John

John
Condos have the option of being able to prepare some of your own meals, where hotels do not offer this and this can save money.

 Travis

Travis
Condos may actually be a less expensive option then a standard hotel stay. Most do not offer the amenities of maid service and valet parking, but, do not charge a resort fee. Cooking in can also be a way a family can save some extra money while on vacation as many hotel rooms do not offer kitchens.

 Holly

Holly
This would depend on which two properties you are comparing.

 Ina

Ina
Usually not, since daily housekeeping, Breakfast, front desk staff etc is included.

Is going on a ski vacation in the spring less expensive?

 Amanda

Amanda
Spring skiing is fun and is generally less expensive (many resorts consider Spring “low” or “shoulder” season, which means a great deal for anyone looking to tear up the slopes!) Skiers/Boarders should be cautioned that they are at the mercy of the snow-gods for late skiing conditions.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Spring skiing can be some of the very best skiing of the entire season. Sunny days, concerts, events and spring break draw a ton of skiers in the month of March. April skiing always brings fantastic offers. The weather patterns the last 3 to 4 seasons have offered great snow and deals, deals, deals. Do note Mother Nature can always change her mind. If you have April in mind and are flexible it could be advisable to wait and make this a last minute trip based on conditions.

 John

John
Spring skiing does have many offers at various resorts and prices to reflect this.

 Travis

Travis
Ski vacations in the spring may be less expensive if you book early. Many resorts offer discounts to those who book in the fall. Also, if you book your stay after the busy spring break period additional discounts may be available.

 Ina

Ina
Yes, low season rates often start in early/mid March

 Sonya

Sonya
No, March, which is considered Spring is high season because most schools are out for Spring Break. Normally late March and into April it is less expensive.

Is mid-week ski vacation a lot less expensive than one that includes the weekend?

 Sonya

Sonya
It can be depending on the property. Some offer discounts for Sunday-Thursday stays.

 Janet

Janet
Usually the answer is no when it comes to lodging, but it is true that some resorts can fill up on weekends if they are close to local markets where locals ski on weekends. Also, weekends can be tough when looking at air, and once the availability becomes limited, then sure the price will go up. Often, a mid-week ski vacation can cost less but it doesn’t mean always.

 Amanda

Amanda
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It should be noted that for those wanting to enjoy the beautiful European resorts many only work within a Saturday-Saturday or Sunday-Sunday time frame.

 John

John
Mid-week over weekend really depends on the time of year. Mid-week tend to have more offers than weekend.

 Travis

Travis
Yes, mid-week ski vacations may be less expensive than one that includes the weekend. Often flights, hotels and many times lift tickets are cheaper in the week opposed to the busier weekends.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
If the resort is a “drive” market like Breckenridge for example, properties will reward you for arrival Sunday and departing before the weekend. In Europe, they require a weekend date arrival and they only discount for low seasons not days the of week. Is ski in/out worth the extra money?

 Ina

Ina
No all, but some properties add a weekend surcharge.

Is ski-in/ski-out worth the extra money?

 Cassandra

Cassandra
I would advise you based on the age and ability of your party and of course the specific resort. Some resorts have private guest shuttles which offer easier and quicker access to the slopes. In this case I would not pay the extra for staying slope side. If the lift is literally out the back door of the hotel like the Borders in Beaver Creek, the Viceroy in Snowmass or the Club Med in Val Morel there is nothing better.

 Amanda

Amanda
If you are a die-hard get on the slopes as soon as possible then, yes! Things to consider before splurging: – Is the ski-run a match to your skiing/boarding ability? A ski-in/out home on a black run isn’t worth the extra money for a beginning skier/boarder. – Will everyone in the party benefit from the ski in/out location? If the kids are in ski school and it is more convenient to drive/shuttle then you may be better off in a walk in/out or shuttle location that is closer to ski school or downtown.

 John

John
If you like to be able to walk out from your accommodations and be right on the mountain, yes. It also gives you the option to ski more and break more often if you want.

 Travis

Travis
Ski-in / Ski-out can be worth the extra money depending on age and ability of your group. If you are with a group of novice skiers it may be worth the extra money to minimize hassle and locate accommodations near the ski school. It’s can also make for convenient trips to the restroom, lunch, or to shed that extra layer.

 Holly

Holly
To some, it definitely is, for others being in the center of the resort has more appeal.

 Ina

Ina
Not in my opinion. I don’t mind taking a 5-10 minute bus shuttle ride to the lifts.

Should I get trip insurance?

 Janet

Janet
This is one of my favorite questions to answer because I have seen the need for travel insurance so many times, that now most of my clients will tell me from the beginning what their ski request entails and travel insurance is just as important as their lodging choice. So it takes a small amount of money for the protection that can come in handy for so many of the unexpected events that can happen regarding sickness, injury, and even death in the family before or during travel. The answer is yes.

 Amanda

Amanda
I always do when I travel and I highly recommend it to all my clients. To me, trip insurance offers protection in the event of flight delays, cancellations due to weather, or if there are any accidents on the slopes (among many other things). You take out car insurance for protection when you drive, why not protect yourself and your vacation?

 Travis

Travis
Yes. There is always uncertainty of weather, accidents and health; things happen when we are least expecting it. Travel insurance provides vacationer’s monetary compensation should an unfortunate event take place. People spend a lot of money and time planning a vacation this allows them to recoup some of that.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Absolutely. Ski vacations are a big investment and you want to be protected. Not only does it cover you for accidents/illness but severe weather delays. During the holiday dates this is especially important. Due to the oversold nature of flights during these weeks it could be days until the airline is able to get you on another flight. In the meantime you are paying in full for your trip even though you are not there to enjoy it. It is especially important for those traveling to Europe or South America. Even a minor injury on the slopes could call for an extensive evacuation.

 Holly

Holly
This is always a good idea as you can’t tell what will happen in the future, and if something happens to prevent you from going on your vacation this may allow you to recover the cost.

 Sonya

Sonya
Yes, you have a lot invested in your ski vacation and the unforeseen can always pop up. Someone gets sick, a broken bone, airline travel delays, accident on the way to the airport, or any number of things can go wrong.

Should I take my skis or rent?

 Janet

Janet
This is a great question and the answer depends on the client’s equipment. If it’s old equipment, then renting is the better choice. By the time one pays the airlines to bring their equipment, rental has been halfway paid for. The rental companies have the latest and best equipment for the conditions. That’s my main reason for loving to rent. Also, we now use many companies that will deliver the equipment and can fit our clients at their lodging, so the wait in line method at the ski rental store is no longer the most efficient way to pick up skis. The prices are competitive so it just makes sense. Having said all of this, my latest adventure made me wish I had at least my own boots. Having a good pair of boots that fit well and don’t hurt the shins and feet has to be the absolute most important aspect of skiing that I know of. So my advice is bring your own boots and rent if you are not that happy with your own equipment.

 Amanda

Amanda
This is a very personal decision. Traveling with equipment is not as easy as it used to be and it is worth looking into rental equipment. If you don’t want to take your equipment because it is too much of a hassle or maybe it is a short trip I recommend renting. For those that are advanced/expert think of it as an opportunity to rent equipment that is hot on the market (a.k.a. demo equipment). It is like renting a car that you want to buy but a) want to test it out first or b) can’t afford it but still want the experience.

 Sonya

Sonya
Renting is the best way to go. You will get the latest and greatest equipment on the market. Now, if you have a pair of ski boots that fit you perfectly and you love them, by all means bring your boots – that’s what I do.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
With the increasing cost of baggage fees and the availability of state of the art skis and snowboards in every resort, it only makes sense to rent. You will be able to change out your equipment daily or hourly if you want as the conditions change. What could be better?

 John

John
Renting gives you the option of trying the newest equipment available and is less of a hassle unless you are driving to a resort.

 Travis

Travis
Renting skis is always a great option for the ski traveler. With the hassle and additional cost of bringing your own gear it can actually be easier to rent. Many gear shops offer in room fittings for boots and skis, as well as top of the line demo equipment.

 Holly

Holly
With the cost of taking your skis on a plane many people are opting for renting. This allows you to try out a pair of skis you are considering purchasing.

 Ina

Ina
Due to high luggage fees with most airlines, I recommend to rent skis.

What are the cheapest days to stay at a ski resort?

 John

John
When most resorts open for the season is the best time to grab early deals.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Early November to mid- December, most of January and April.

 Travis

Travis
The cheapest skiing dates often fall in the very beginning of the season (before the holiday rush) or at the end of the season when resorts are offering incentive for skier visits. Those wishing to book a trip at a bargain will want to avoid major holidays and those dates falling over school breaks.

 Ina

Ina
Mid-week in early December and January

What is the difference between a package and a deal or offer?

 Amanda

Amanda
A package is the bundling of 2 or more travel products (i.e. buying lodging, transportation, lift tickets, and travel insurance together). A deal or offer is a discount given on just one travel product. The benefit to buying through wholesalers is that in packaging travel products together a client can save over purchasing travel products individually. Plus a travel expert is up to date on the savings and specials available and can better maximize the savings for their client both in dollars spent on the trip, and time searching for all the deals.

 John

John
Packages tend to include more options than deals or offers.

 Travis

Travis
Packages are offered collectively with discounts on air/ground transportation, accommodations and activities i.e. skiing, snowshoeing… A traveler benefits with a package by the collective bargaining weight that a wholesaler is able to propose to potential contractors. A deal or offer is a bargain that is offered to a part of a trip not the trip as a whole.

When are the peak seasons?

 Amanda

Amanda
Christmas/New Years, President’s Weekend, and Spring Break are the most common. For the Utah resorts, Sundance Film Festival (January) is considered a peak part of the season.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Third week of December to first week of January. Mid Feb to end of March, typically again depending on resort.

 Sonya

Sonya
Peak seasons are the 2 week period over Christmas and New Year’s, Presidents Week, and most of March.

 John

John
All the holidays and Spring Break.

 Travis

Travis
Peak season in relation to a ski areas are the dates falling over major holidays and school breaks ie… the Christmas/New Year’s week, Presidents Day, MLK. Peak times may also vary dependent on special events ie… Sundance Film Festival, X-Games, ski competitions. During peak season consumers should expect to pay a premium for their vacation and will most likely be encounter minimum night stay requirements.

 Holly

Holly
Christmas, New Years, school vacations.

 Ina

Ina
Peak/High Season are the Xmas/New Years Holidays, Martin Luther King and President’s Week as well as Spring Break.

When do prices drop?

 Sonya

Sonya
Prices are typically low season between Thanksgiving when the most mountains open until Dec 20, then again the last week of March or first week of April until the end of the season mid to late April.

 John

John
At the start of the season (early) and then again at the end of the season.

 Travis

Travis
Prices typically are lower toward the beginning of the season and just before the end. Resorts often adjust their prices to encourage room nights/skier visits during the times when crowds are smaller and conditions may not necessarily be at their best.

 Ina

Ina
Set for the entire season, in some cases.

 Holly

Holly
Many resorts start to lower their pricing in March.

When do the prices go up?

 Amanda

Amanda
Prices will typically drop after the New Year, they will go up again around the President’s Day Weekend and then taper back down. Prices drop into “low” season towards the end of March. Most ski resorts close around the 2nd or 3rd week of April.

 Sonya

Sonya
Prices are at their peak the two weeks over Christmas/New Years. Then they are at high season mid-February thru the end of March.

 John

John
Holidays see higher rates.

 Travis

Travis
Prices generally go up throughout the season and taper off at the end. They mirror peak season.

 Holly

Holly
Holidays school vacations. In Europe in February is mostly high season.

When is the best time to book a deal?

 Janet

Janet
The best time to book a deal is in the summer for winter holidays in Europe, Canada and U.S.—some of the best promos will expire by end of July. The promos will still be available but not at the steepest discounts. People who get the best deals have booked their trips by August.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
The Early Bird catches the worm here. The very best booking deals are available as early as May for the upcoming US/Canadian season. You can get up to 40% off to book in early summer. For South America trips you can get approximately 30% off to book from January to March for their summer ski season.

 Amanda

Amanda
Book early!!! Contrary to popular belief, waiting until the last minute is not the best time to book a deal. Lots of resorts offer ski free/stay free deals, early booking rates (or book by rates), and other steals for people who will book early.

 John

John
Early and late in the season. There are some last minute deals that do pop up at some resorts.

 Travis

Travis
Early is the best time to book a deal. Resorts offer discounts to those who book as early as September or October event into early November. Though risky adventure seekers may be able to find a last minute deal late in the season, early is always best. When booking early a traveler will be able to take full advantage of deep discounts with maximum available accommodation.

 Ina

Ina
between May – August

Why is it less expensive to buy a packaged ski vacation?

 Cassandra

Cassandra
Alpine has contracted wholesale pricing with all our vendors and can pass these savings onto you. It is my job to then custom your package specifically to your needs and budget by finding the very best offers available for your dates. Talk to an expert and save yourself hours trying to match you and your family to the best resort and property. I have been there, skied there, stayed there and am happy to share my expertise with you.

 John

John
More options are include with reduced lodging, lift, lessons.

 Travis

Travis
It’s less expensive to buy a packaged ski vacation because Alpine Adventures and wholesalers have a direct relationship with all of the major resorts, airlines, ground transportation. They can also sift through the sometimes overwhelming amount of options saving time and keeping in mind a client’s budget.

 Ina

Ina
Some ski resorts offer lower ski pass rates when booking lodging as well through the same supplier.

 Sonya

Sonya
We get better rates with our vendors by packaging components together.

Why should I buy a package instead of buying everything myself?

 Sonya

Sonya
It saves you time and money searching for the individual components. Our expert knowledge of the ski areas ensures that we will match you exactly with the ski vacation you desire.

 Amanda

Amanda
Buying a packaged ski vacation saves you both time and money. Let your expert agent put everything together for you, after all it’s their job is to know the who, what, when, and where of all things ski. So while your ski expert is planning your ski adventure (and saving you money), you can go do more fun things – like buying a new ski jacket or mapping out your apres ski route.

 Cassandra

Cassandra
We have contracted wholesale pricing with all our vendors and can pass these savings onto you. It is my job to then custom your package specifically to your needs and budget by finding the very best offers available for your dates. Talk to an expert and save yourself hours trying to match you and your family to the best resort and property. I have been there, skied there, stayed there and am happy to share my expertise with you.

 John

John
You could miss out on a lodging offer, lift offer or lesson offer. There may also be an option that you would not think about.

 Travis

Travis
Buying a package offers special pricing and discounts to clients that are available exclusively to Alpine Adventures. Their extensive knowledge, experience and expertise can help save not only money but time planning. While providing a seamless experience. A package also has the benefit of having all of your itinerary and travel plans all in one place.

 Holly

Holly
If you work with Alpine Adventures you have someone to contact should something arise and you need assistance. If you book on your own there is no one to call.

 Ina

Ina
Knowledge about the destination/lodging & price specials, assistance before and during the trip.

I want to bring my dog. Are there any properties that allow pets?

 Sonya

Sonya
Yes, some hotels will allow dogs and most charge a pet fee. There are a small number of condos that allow pets. It just depends on the area; it’s something we would have to research for you.

 

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