Perfect ski vacation: Get the best deal for you and your family
Loren Christie, Canada AM travel expert
Published Friday, February 8, 2013 8:25AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2013 8:33AM EST
If you've been watching our AM travel segments recently, you may have noticed a bit of a trend. I have been bitten by the ski bug. From Kicking Horse to Panorama to Silver Star, it has been an amazing winter of skiing. Here are some quick tips to help you plan your next adventure.
Remember not all ski resorts are created equal. We have been profiling the Powder Highway over the last month. It is a grouping of eight B.C. resorts all within reasonable distance of each other. You can go for a few days to one and then check out another resort all in the same holiday. In Alberta several of the major ski hills are within the national parks which offer untouched beauty, but not the ski in/ski out offerings of many of the BC resorts. In the East, skiing hills like Le Massif or Mt St. Anne allows you to enjoy some great skiing and the culture of Quebec City.
Take into account the air access in your trip planning. In B.C. for example, it can be tempting to fly into some of the smaller airports in B.C.'s interior like Castlegar, but poor weather means cancelled flights can happen fairly often. Larger hubs like Calgary, Kelowna or Kamloops can be more reliable, but mean longer drives to the interior resorts.
Hotel room versus condo? Things to keep in mind…think about whether you want a condo or room with kitchenette or prefer to hit the restaurants. If you don't want to worry about stocking your own fridge and cooking and cleaning, make sure you pick a resort with lots of dining options. If you do go the kitchenette route, inquire about food deliveries. Some of the resorts have arrangements with local grocery stores to deliver food to your condo and have it ready and waiting for you when you arrive. Also in general a hotel room means daily housekeeping service and cleaning. Typically the condo units are not serviced at the same level. You will have to keep them clean and tidy yourself or in some cases pay extra to have them cleaned.
Unless you are a top notch skier take a lesson. Even if it's just one day, it's worth it to refresh and learn some tips. If you want to save some money take an afternoon lesson versus a morning lesson. The mornings are when most people want their lesson so afternoon ones tend to be a little cheaper.
Don't wait until next year to book your ski trip! There are still six weeks of good skiing left and lots of availability at many of the country's greatest resorts. Even over March Break there are some great value packages available.
For Alberta check out www.skibig3.com (Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay) and www.skimarmot.com.
In addition, Tourism BC has launched a brand new ski website: www.SkiItToBelieveIt.com. This is the "go to" place for anyone planning a ski trip to B.C. It has info on all the different resorts, lots of special offers as well as current ski conditions.