The weather outside is frightful...which means ski season is almost here! Since ski season doesn't hit its peak until about early March, you can find some of the best deals now, even with the holidays coming up. So if you need to get away, recharge, and relax before the new year begins and you have to get back to the daily grind, snag one of these deals and enjoy some of the United States' best ski resorts:
1. Jackson Hole, Wyo: Jackson Hole is a veritable outdoorsman’s paradise. As the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, visitors come year round for pristine nature and a secluded setting. It’s also nestled between the Teton Mountains and is home to some of the most challenging skiing in the country. Special all-inclusive deals are being offered from most major American cities: Starting at less than $900, you can get four nights of lodging, three days of skiing and roundtrip airfare. Considering lift tickets start at $95, that’s an outrageous deal! Most hotels in town participate, so there’s something for everyone from families to travelers on a budget. Couples should consider the Rusty Parrot Lodge, which has an on-site spa, outdoor Jacuzzi and fire pits, and convenient location that makes getting to Jackson’s shops and restaurants easy.
DEAL: All-inclusive package: four nights of lodging, three days of skiing and roundtrip airfare included in price.
PRICE: $780 to $880.
2. Vail, Colo. As the largest single-mountain ski resort in the country, Vail is about as well-known as it gets when it comes to hitting the slopes. The terrain is varied for all degrees of skiing expertise, from easier trails on the Front Side to expert-only runs on the Back Bowls. Once the sun sets, skiers kick off their boots and take advantage of Vail Village’s killer nightlife and dining options. To entice visitors to stick around, the Vail Tourism Board offers a special deal where booking at least three to six days will earn guests a free day of skiing and night of lodging. Families needing space or couple looking for romance should check out the Ritz-Carlton Residences, where the storied name does not disappoint: huge residence style units with decadent marble bathrooms and a large outdoor year-round pool deck make it stand out. Those traveling on more of a budget should check out the Vail Mountain Lodge or Austria Haus Hotel.
DEAL: Book three to six days and earn a free day of lodging and skiing for free.
PRICE: Starts at $199 per night.
3. Whistler, BC, Canada. As host to the 2010 Winter Olympics and home of the largest mountain resort in North America, Whistler barely needs an introduction. The world famous trails at Whistler-Blackcomb and well-known après-ski nightlife of Whistler Village make for a mountain vacation that’s hard to top. The family-friendly destination also offers a deal for late season skiers: kids stay, ski and rent equipment for the entire month of March free. There are plenty of kid-friendly hotels to accommodate all sizes of families: the Westin sports a heated outdoor pool with large rooms with kitchens or kitchenettes, pull-out sofas, and fireplaces.
DEAL: Kids stay, ski and rent equipment for free with a paying adult throughout the month of March.
PRICE: From $149 per adult per night.
4. Breckenridge, Colo. Although Breckenridge is known for attracting a younger crowd (thanks to Colorado’s popular universities), the town is popular with all walks of life. Sure, there’s a mixed terrain for everyone from pizza-down-the-mountain skiers to expert snowboarders, but there’s more than that: lots of shopping, fine restaurants, high-end lodging and historical sites from the town’s gold mining past make it stand out from other ski destinations. Anyone looking to hit the slopes on a budget should check out the “Breck for a Buck” offer, which offers one night of lodging and one day of skiing for only $1 when you book at least three nights. Many area hotels participate, but hardcore snow fiends will appreciate the convenience Trails End Condominiums: Not only are the units spacious with full kitchens, but it’s only 75 yards from Peak 9 lift and a short walk away from Main Street’s shops and nightlife, making it one of the best deals in town.
DEAL: Get one night of lodging and one day of skiing for only $1 when you book at least three nights lodging and three days skiing.
PRICE: Starts as low as $294 per person.
5. Lake Placid, N.Y. Not all ideal ski locales are in the west. Lake Placid has hosted two Winter Olympics, including the 1980 games when the American hockey team made history with the "Miracle On Ice" victory over the Soviets. The history of the area and friendly, secluded vibe brings the kind of wintertime charm only the Adirondacks can provide. The Lake Placid Crown Plaza is one of Oyster’s favorite hotels in the area and entices guests to stick around with a wintertime offering: anyone who books two midweek nights will receive a third night of lodging and third day of skiing at Whiteface Mountain for free. The hotel offers some of the most stunning views in town from both guest rooms and the Great Room Lobby and Bar, an indoor pool, and gas fireplaces in many rooms. There are plenty of locally owned shops, restaurants and cafes nearby, as well as a fairly vibrant nightlife, making for a great ski town.
DEAL: Book two nights midweek and receive a third night's lodging and third day of skiing free.
PRICE: Varies with booking dates.