Finance: Hit the Slopes Off Season
Financial guidance for your financial life
You may think ski resorts are only for winter vacations, but many travelers are discovering the advantages – and savings – of visiting the mountains out of season.
“You can find almost anything you want in a mountain town,” says Evan Reece, CEO of Liftopia, an online seller of lift tickets. “Activities can be as simple as riding the chairlift to the top of the mountain and hiking around, or as varied as attending music festivals or zip-lining.”
Nearby rivers and lakes beckon those who want to fish, boat or swim, and night owls can join an astronomer for stargazing. You’ll likely pay a fraction of the cost for accommodations compared with peak season, even at upscale hotels.
Here are three ski resorts with off-season deals:
During summer in Vail, you can slide down the tubing hill, zoom through the forest on a raised alpine coaster, soak up views from a gondola or try your hand at white-water rafting in the Eagle River. For something tamer, visit the weekly farmers’ market and art show, stroll the highest botanical garden in the U.S., or catch a performance by the visiting New York Philharmonic. In summer, you can also take advantage of deep discounts at luxury accommodations. For example, rooms at the Sonnenalp Hotel start at about $350 per night for a weekend in mid-June, but they jump to $500 or more for a midweek stay in February.
The village of Stowe in the Green Mountains is a skiing hot spot on the East Coast, and crowd-wary travelers might also want to avoid the summer and leaf-peeping seasons. Those are even busier times to visit, says Scott McIntosh, director of sales and marketing at Topnotch Resort in Stowe.
But if you go after Columbus Day, the autumn crowds will have died down and colors will still be present (if not as vibrant). Take in the scenery by hiking or mountain biking. When temperatures dip, you can hop around the area’s craft breweries or sample flavors at the nearby Ben & Jerry’s factory. Topnotch Resort offers discounts of up to 50 percent off rooms and deals on activities – such as buy one spa treatment, get one free – in November and April.
St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
This is one of Austria’s most popular ski areas in the winter, but it is relatively quiet in the summer, says Liftopia’s Reece. You can traverse more than 180 miles of walking paths, passing a variety of alpine flowers that grow only at high altitudes, and stop for a snack at a mountainside hut with a stunning view.
Grab a free St. Anton Summer Card on the first day of your vacation from your hotel or guesthouse owner, which rolls together one day of unlimited cable car rides, a two-hour e-bike rental, a torchlight hike and more.
Miriam Cross is an associate editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.
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