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Recent snowfall in Colorado and Utah have kicked off an early ski season sparking a storm of deals and packages from resorts across the country. It's not uncommon to see early-bird discounts this time of year, but it appears there's an extra bit of excitement after last year's flop of a season.
It seems every mountain resort imaginable is offering some sort of bargain, whether it's ski and stay discounts, kids ski free, or complimentary hotel nights, so check around before checking in.
Here’s a sampling of some of the best deals from major areas in the US and a few from afar:
Winter Park, Colorado: This local favorite owned by the city of Denver rewards guests who book a five-night stay ($169/night) at the Vintage Hotel before December 12th with a free season pass. The resort puts icing on the cake with a snow guarantee - previously booked nights can be rescheduled if snow conditions are not up to your liking.
We recently moseyed up to Montana’s A River Runs Through It country to go glamping at one of our all-time fantasy hotels: Paws Up. While we were there, we checked out their newest luxury campsite, Pinnacle Camp, nestled along a bend of the Blackfoot River.
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If the family wants to hit the great outdoors and sleep under the stars, you don't have to rough it. The Resort at Paws Up will help you out with a special glamping package in honor of its fifth birthday and the opening of its third tented camp.
Obviously, this isn't just some plastic tent deal. Glamping, or glamorous camping, is all about luxury, if you can't tell from the photo above. It's so luxurious that you'll have to fork over $2,413 a night for Paws Up's all-inclusive family glamping package.
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It's hard not to blanch when we see a hotel package slapped with a price tag in the thousands, but reading the fine print does help to quell the sticker shock—at least a little bit. Even hotels known for their opulence are trying their best to go the bargain route, even if that bargain is set at $4,060, like the Mountain Romance getaway we found at Montana's Triple Creek Ranch.
Stick around and listen for a moment before you burrow your wallet away: that four-oh-my-god-are-you-kidding rate is for a five-night stay in one of their Luxury Cabins (normally $950/night, per couple), which are essentially mini-private homes with bells and whistles like a double steam shower, wood burning fireplace, living room, stocked bar, and a deck with hot tub.
Paws Up, which has been a four-season resort, plans to close for the next several months during the winter season, opening up only for the Christmas and New Year holiday period but then closing down until the snow melts around mid-April. The resort says they had a record summer but can't afford to stay open in the winter months.
This is some sad news but the resort is taking reservations for the holidays from December 21st to Jan. 2nd.
Paws Up may sound like a place to stash your dog for the weekend but it is quite the opposite. Accommodations consist of small lodges, making it the perfect place for a family getaway. Unfortunately, the winter rates were much more doable than the spring/summer which top out at around $3,460.
Of course, you can still have the hotel pitch you a luxury tent by the river for $595 a night (three meals included.)
Looks like the New York Times is taking a play out of our playbook. The paper has taken its reviews of Big Sky Resort and overlaid the information on a map. (Nevermind that our maps are the interactive Google variety while the Times is using a PDF.)
The two hotels mentioned are at either end of the budget spectrum. The ritzy choice is the Summit at Big Sky which starts at $210 a night and offers slope-side rooms, studios and condos. It also comes with what the hotel calls a "swimming pool size hot tub," which sounds pretty awesome.
On the budget end of things, the Times says the Whitewater Inn is the way to go. You'll find it 12 miles from the mountain and probably booked up, since it only has 12 rooms. Still, if you can get in, rates start at $138 and include free WiFi, in case you can't skip work to go skiing.
[Photo from a Summit at Big Sky room: TripAdvisor]
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving companies dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway--at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
In this episode, Hotel Maven Picky Chick let's us know what California girls dream of, when they dream about destination hotels. Enjoy.
Some people daydream about sun on the skin, sand in the toes, flip-flops as "dinner attire." Well, since I live in California, I get that everyday. What I miss is shaded mountains, pine trees, exotic wildlife (coyotes do not count!) and the sweet smell of sap.
Montana's, Crazy Peak Cabin may just have to be my next destination for a good nights sleep and a nice morning hike:
"Breathless! Man definitely did not create this! What beauty! The highs and lows of life are like the Mountains, always changing with the clouds rolling over wind blowing colors and yet the mountains are always there."
I am sure someone is in that "crazy" cabin enjoying all the "crazy" mountain views, sipping on some "crazy" concoction of coffee and liquor as I sit here under my fluorescent light in SoCal. Bitter? Nah, I'm fine...really...fine.
[Photo: Susan and Bobby]