Crested Butte ski resort throws down top 10 ways to bang your buck at a ski resort

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on October 15, 2009 8:45 am

With only a hint of bias towards their own resort, the folks at the great (and when we say great, we mean if you haven’t skied the Butte – then you can’t fathom what you are missing) …read this… the folks over at the resort with more orange bicycles than Schwinn have come up with their top 10 list for squeezing every bit of value out of your ski experience.  So with only minor edits, we are running them all for you.  Here you go!

As snow begins to fall across the U.S., ski and snowboard enthusiasts are dusting off equipment, unpacking puffy coats and researching season pass options and travel packages from their favorite resorts. There are great deals to be found this season, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) wants to help guests uncover the best value for their dollar. The resort has pulled together the top industry tips highlighting ten ways to save money on a winter trip while enjoying everything a destination has to offer. CBMR opens for the season on November 25.

1. Visit early. Most resorts offer great early season packages and specials, including “ski free” savings, early season flight incentives, and family-friendly packaging. The best early season time to visit? The few weeks that fall before the Christmas rush. The resorts go all-out decorating for the holidays and most have the trimmings in place just after Thanksgiving. CBMR’s Ski Free package may just be the best early season deal in Colorado. Guests booking lodging with Crested Butte Vacations receive free skiing with their reservation. Need a lesson? Stay at any CBMR property and receive an adult group half-day lesson free of charge. The resort’s Ski Free package is available from Nov. 24 through Dec. 16, 2009. The package includes one, one-day lift ticket per person per night on the reservation, and one lesson per adult when staying at a CBMR property. Call Crested Butte Vacations to book: 800-600-2803.

2. Opt for Thanksgiving. If you must visit during the holidays choose Thanksgiving over Christmas or President’s Weekend. Thanksgiving is the traditional start to the ski and snowboard season for many resorts, however “peak season” doesn’t begin until the week prior to Christmas. Shop around; many properties offer percent-savings, added value and special packaging for Thanksgiving to drive early season bookings. Still prefer a Christmas vacation? Look for special package deals, such as CBMR’s Grandest Christmas offer (Dec. 18 – 26, 2009). The Grandest Christmas package features four nights of lodging and three days of skiing or riding at CBMR for a family of four, for under “a grand.” Must be booked by Dec. 17, 2009 through Crested Butte Vacations: 800-600-2803.

3. Fly-In, Ski-Out. With many resorts now offering direct flights to nearby regional airports, traveling by air can save both time and money. At many resorts guests can ski or ride – sometimes for free – on the day they arrive at their destination. Other resorts offer special airfare packages, such as CBMR’s popular Friends & Family Fly Free. Book a Crested Butte vacation for three or more people and every third airline ticket is free. Even better, Friends & Family Fly Free features direct flights into Gunnison/Crested Butte Airport (GUC) on American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Call
800-600-2803 to learn more.

4. Travel in packs. One of the best ways to save and create a comfortable home-away-from-home-base is to rent a condo. Better yet, rent a large condo or a multi-bedroom home with extended family or close friends (and take advantage of CBMR’s Friends & Family Fly Free offer at the same time). The option affords a full kitchen so breakfast and dinner are a refrigerator away, saving valuable dollars for a special evening out, or additional activities (dog sledding, anyone?). Plus, the cost can be split between multiple couples or families, while maintaining some personal space (separate bedrooms, personal baths, etc.). Book lodging and lift tickets and discover some of the best rates of the season at any CBMR property with the resort’s Stay & Ski packages. Pricing starts at $96 per person per night, and guests realize a savings of up to 15 percent off standard lodging rates and 25 percent off window lift ticket rates. Valid Jan. 4 – Feb. 29, 2010. Call 800-600-2803 or visit www.skicb.com for information or reservations.

4. Extend the trip. Multi-day deals mean more savings when considering lift tickets, lodging and rental equipment. Most resorts offer discounted multi-day lift tickets that may be used over a specified period of time (ex: four-day adult lift tickets can be used any four days over a six-day stay when purchased at one time). Save with multi-day ticket purchases at Crested Butte Mountain Resort or buy the Adventure Ticket, which includes unlimited access to the resort’s chairlifts as well as the new Adventure Park, featuring a year-round synthetic ice skating rink, bungee trampoline, climbing wall and multi-lane tubing hill (all weather dependent). The Adventure Ticket starts at $70 per day for adults, $41 per day for kids ages 7 – 12, and just $15 per day for children ages 6 and under. In addition, kids 6 and under always ski free at CBMR.

6. Minimize equipment and baggage fees.
With the quality of equipment stocked at most reputable ski and snowboard shops, there’s no need to lug gear. Opt for a demo package and test different skis, boards and boots daily. Guests who are attached to their equipment should bring boots only. The performance packages at ski and snowboard shops feature excellent options whether riding two planks or just one. Check on-line for pre-booking opportunities at the local rental shop. Visit http://www.skicb.com/cbmr/mountain/equipment-rentals.aspx for information on equipment packages and early rental reservations at Crested Butte.

7. Use public transportation. Most resorts offer convenient, thoughtful, and oftentimes complimentary public transportation. Bus schedules are generally available via the information desk or resort concierge and the pick-up and drop-off locations are usually very convenient. Also check into an airport-to-resort shuttle instead of a rental car. It’s cheaper and much more eco-friendly. Research options for Crested Butte at: http://www.skicb.com/cbmr/town/getting-here.aspx.

8. Find the freebies. Most resorts offer free mountain tours, kids fly, eat, stay and ski free options and much more. Before booking do a little research. Kids get a free ride in Crested Butte from Feb. 22 through Mar. 11, 2010. Book a lodging reservation at any CBMR property and kids 12 and under ski free with a paying adult. They also get their own trail map complete with details about kids-only trails, the Kids’ Terrain Park and a jib park designed for aspiring freeskiers and riders. The offer includes one free child’s ticket per day of adult lift tickets purchased when lodging is booked at any CBMR property. In addition, children ages six and under always ski free at CBMR. The Kids Ski Free offer is only available through Crested Butte Vacations: 800-600-2803

9. Take a lesson.
For those who have never seen snow, been on skis or snowboard, or were once subjected to tips from a significant other, take a “learn to” lesson. Most resorts offer a learn-to-ski or-ride option and they generally include lesson, lift tickets, and sometimes even rentals. The learning curve is shorter and the time spent honing new skills is much more enjoyable. Note: January is “learn-to-ski” month in Colorado. Know how to ski or ride? Wondering why anyone would suggest taking a lesson now? First and foremost, instructors are the best mountain guides and they love to share secrets for making the most of a ski day. Taking a lesson also allows access to the coveted “ski school lane” at the lift maze. Beware: the experience is addictive. CBMR offers private lessons, child and adult group lessons and a variety of special ski camps, including programs offered by Olympian Wendy Fisher. Check out Wendy’s Valentine’s Clinic, a great alternative to a romantic getaway, or her Family Extreme Clinic for a true adventure together. Visit: http://www.skicb.com/cbmr/info/mountain/ski-camps.aspx.

10. Utilize the resort concierge.
Most resorts offer an information center or a resort concierge program designed to help guests make the most of their vacation – from booking logistical trip components to the fun stuff. These staffers know the area like the backs of their hands. They generally know hotel general managers, tour operators and restaurant owners personally and that can be key to a great experience.

There you have it, pretty good intel from the people behind the curtain.  We wouldn’t just run anyone’s list verbatim, but when you have the street cred of the Butte – you get things the others guys might not.

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