Photo: Skip Brown
- Scan local newspapers and ski magazines for advertised specials. We spotted a package that includes four nights, three days, and a three-day lift ticket for $271 (that’s the cost per adult, without tax, based on double occupancy in a motel room).
- At Steamboat, children under 5 ski free. Kids ages 6-12 ski free when a parent or grandparent buys a five-day lift ticket. (The catch: one kid per parent or grandparent.)
- Find lodging in town rather than on the mountain, where convenience comes with a premium. Most hotels offer free shuttles with ski racks. If you rent your skis from Steamboat Ski & Sport downstairs at the Sheraton, you can store your equipment for free instead of hauling it around.
- If you don’t want to buy them (and if the idea of using someone else’s gear doesn’t bother you), you can borrow gloves and goggles for free at the Information Center near the lift ticket counter.
- Rent a condo, and cook all your meals. The free town buses stop at the grocery store, and with a fully equipped kitchen, you can eat like you do at home.
- Pack a sack lunch, and store it in a locker at the top of the gondola.
- If you find downhill skiing too steep--literally or figuratively--rent a pair of snowshoes for $5, and take a brisk hike up Howelsen Hill for free.
- Resorts now rent ski clothes, strollers, and high chairs, so pack light and save yourself the headache of lugging the kitchen sink.
- Before you leave home, contact Black Tie Ski Rentals to make an appointment ( 870-3172 or www.blacktieskis.com). You can set a time for them to fit you for equipment at your hotel or condo, instead of having to wait until they’re available. When your trip is over, make arrangements for them to pick up your gear.
- Busy lift lines? The back side of the mountain is usually less crowded. Best for intermediate and advanced skiers, you’ll find mostly blue and black runs there.
- At the Sheraton, fill out the overnight breakfast card and request a bagged breakfast to go. Eat the high-energy finger food--cubed cheese, salami, and fruit--on your way up the gondola to save time.