Mountain Lodge at Telluride Offers 10 Tips for Planning a Senior Ski Trip
Telluride resort advice helps seniors find discounts, avoid crowds
Telluride, Colo. - Turning 50, 60, 70 or even 80 no longer means taking vacations sitting down. To help baby boomers and seniors get the most value from their ski trips, Mountain Lodge at Telluride offers these 10 tips.
1. Join a club - Senior ski clubs can offer deep discounts. The 70+ Ski Club offers a newsletter, directory of North American slopes that offer free or discounted lift tickets, and information on trips to major resorts in the western United States - all for annual dues of $15 ($18 for couples). The Over the Hill Gang International, available to individuals at age 50, offers discounts at U.S. and Canadian ski resorts and organizes escorted trips. Dues start at $60 a year ($100 for couples). A little Internet research will help identify regional senior ski clubs as well.
2. Shop the individual ski resort. Check the online travel agencies, but also call the resort directly to ask for any additional specials. Many resorts have their own relationships with travel vendors by which they can offer the best prices on packages.
3. Avoid peak times. Many ski areas have lower prices from opening through mid-December. Early January through mid-February (with the exception of holiday weekends) also offer lower-than-peak pricing. And late-season skiing - especially in the Rockies - can be excellent, with some of the lowest prices.
4. Think outside the standard hotel room. Today, most people know that bed and breakfast inns, and rentals of condos, townhomes and houses can offer good lodging alternatives. But don't discount hotels and resorts. Many offer traditional rooms as well as cost-effective suites, condos and cabins or houses with full kitchens and other amenities. The savings - especially if you're able to prepare some meals there - can be substantial while you still reap the comforts and service of a ski resort hotel.
5. Forego the rental car. Driving on snowy, icy, busy roads in an unfamiliar area can take the fun out of a ski trip. If you are flying or taking the train to a destination, think about whether you can rely on public transportation (airport shuttles, buses, trains) once there. If you choose a resort where you can walk or take free (or low-cost) public transportation to restaurants, shops and the slopes, you'll save money and cut down on stress.
6. Look for off-slope activities - Most skiers prefer to mix in some non-skiing activities. Check to see what is available at the resort you choose, and how convenient and accessible the activities are. If you want to snowshoe, cross-country ski, ice skate or take a sleigh ride, it becomes much easier if you can get there in a few minutes vs. a few hours. Check, too, the convenience of restaurants, shops and cultural activities.
7. Avoid the lines - When on a ski vacation, the last thing most seniors want to do is wait in line for the chair lift. Check into typical wait times and chair capacity. In Telluride, for example, a total of only 5,000 hotel/lodging beds and chair lift base that can handle 22,000 skiers an hour ensures that skiers will never find a chair lift line.
8. Dig for discounts - Wherever they ski and stay on a ski trip, skiers can ask about discounts. Some discounts may not be advertised widely, but are available upon request. Many restaurants, lodging properties and ski resorts will offer different senior discounts upon turning 50, 55 or other; many ski areas let those over 80 ski for free. Visit the local area's chamber of commerce website for local deals and coupons you may not find elsewhere.
9. Purchase lift tickets in advance - online. Almost always, guests can secure the best prices on lift tickets by purchasing them in advance, online. Check with the ski resort you'll visit or local chamber of commerce for the best places to purchase.
10. Take care of yourself - Once reservations are in hand, make sure to update all prescriptions, and store them in personal carry-on (not checked) luggage.