Recession Breeds Ski Deals

January 19, 2009
Special Feature

The good news for ski resort operators is that there’s plenty of snow around in most ski areas. The bad news is that the faltering economy is keeping many skiers at home.

The good news for ski resort operators is that there’s plenty of snow around in most ski areas. The bad news is that the faltering economy is keeping many skiers at home. The response by many resort owners is to roll out some deal sweeteners to coax customers onto the slopes. Deals tend to be better for resorts in the Rockies, which depend mostly on skiers who travel there from distant locations, but resorts that rely more on a local clientele also are offering discounts and incentives.

Several factors have combined to hit ski resorts in the western US. The stock market meltdown gave skiers and snowboarders a bad case of nerves right around the time when they would start to book ski trips. At the same time, the stronger dollar has made trips to the U.S. less financially attractive to Europeans who flocked to slopes in the Rockies when the euro was stronger. Among the incentives resort owners are offering to counter these trends are deals and discounts on flights and lodging, free lift tickets, and the elimination of blackout dates on some promotional packages.

On the other hand, the recession has many snowbirds looking for venues closer to home. Season pass sales at many resorts in New England are up sharply this year, as skiers look to save on travel expenses. Still, there are some modest deals to be found, with some resorts offering free lift tickets to those who book a qualifying resort stay. For more information on Rocky Mountain ski deals, visit Rocky Mountain Tours (http://www.skithewest.com). For details on New England ski bargains, go to NewEnglandUSA.com (http://www.newenglandusa.com/rec_guide/).