We all know that skiing isn’t exactly the cheapest sport out there.
By the time you factor in the cost of rentals or buying equipment and lift tickets, thinking about adding on a hotel stay and a budget for eating out can be downright intimidating.
But here’s the good news: first, you won’t regret it. There are few activities that you can do as a family, all at the same time, in the same place. This is one of them, and it keeps your kids active and away from technology (or mall-ratting…or worse).
Second, there are deals to be had if you look.
Here are just a few I’ve already found for the 2016-17 ski season across North America, and I’ll keep adding more below as they’re announced. Just click on the resort names below for additional info.
Oh, and if you’re on the hunt for the best tips for first-time ski families, check out my post over on TravelingMom.
Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia)
Starting at CDN$101 per person per night for a seven-night package that includes five days of skiing, Whistler’s deal also happens to include free accommodation, lift tickets and rental equipment for kids under 12 years old. You must book before Nov. 15, 2016 to secure these rates. Taxes and fees are extra and there are some conditions noted on the website that you should read, like blackout dates.
Big White (British Columbia)
Family Day air inclusive packages from Toronto to Big White! An almost all-inclusive deal for those flying from Toronto over Family Day long weekend! Return WestJet Air from Toronto with seven nights of accommodation, six days of ski passes and return airport transfers from CDN$1230 per person. Other deals available on the site.
Fernie (British Columbia)
Lots and lots and lots of ski package deals at Fernie for the upcoming season — all available until Nov. 30, 2016. Take the Stay in Spring special, for example:
- A two-bedroom condo at Timberline Lodges, an on-mountain hotel
- Four-night stay
- Three days of skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort for two adults and two kids (12 and under)
- The total package special price, including all taxes and fees, is CDN$1,221.22
- Booking this specific package special saves you $562.62! And you can do it for even less if you play around with where you stay
Sun Peaks (British Columbia)
Sun Peaks doesn’t have any deals listed on its site yet, but the team has priced out two options for you to provide examples of what your package could look like:
- One night in a hotel + one day of skiing for two adults and two children (6-12) = starting from CDN$379 plus taxes and fees. This takes into account early season rates (until Dec. 16, 2016) and is subject to availability and change.
- Two nights in a two-bedroom condo + two days of skiing for two adults and two children (6-12) = starting from CDN$950 plus taxes and fees. This takes into account early season rates (until Dec. 16, 2016) and is subject to availability and change.
Snow Valley (Ontario)
Although Snow Valley in Barrie doesn’t offer onsite accommodations, it does partner with several local hotels for ski and stay packages. At just CDN$62 per person, based on double occupancy, the Travelodge package includes a one-night stay, continental breakfast, tubing and a ski pass.
Blue Mountain (Ontario)
Whether you want to stay one night or five, Blue has ski and stay packages that’ll get you lodging and one lift ticket per person per overnight stay for less than it would cost to book them separately.
Similar to last year’s March Break ski deals, you’ll save more than 50 per cent on lift tickets during spring break in 2017 — but these are already selling fast, so if you know you want to ski Tremblant during spring/March break, book ASAP. And when you book Tremblant winter travel by Nov. 29, 2016, you’ll get up to 25 per cent off at participating hotels. Combine the two for big savings.
And remember, if you stay at an official Tremblant resort hotel, chalet or condo, you’ll enjoy special lodging privileges for free throughout your stay:
- “First tracks” access to designated lifts as early as 7:45 a.m., with skiing on some North Side slopes by 8 a.m. each day
- Tubing! Each night, a large area beside the Fairmont Tremblant transforms into a tubing site; and you won’t have to pay to play. And, yes, grownups fit on the tubes
- Free ice skate loans from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. to use at the ice rink located down by the St. Bernard Chapel in the lower village
Mont Sutton (Quebec)
Sutton is quite close to the Vermont border, but it’s still in Canada, y’all! Package prices depend on which accommodation you choose, but start at CDN$89 per person per night for weekday stays. And that includes your hotel stay, a 1.5 day lift ticket and breakfast. Taxes extra and there are blackout dates so be sure to check the link for more details.
Smugglers’ Notch (Vermont)
Known as simply “Smuggs” to regulars, this resort puts families first. And there are so many deals to be had that it would take up an insane amount of space in this post. Instead, check out the list of packages and what they include (get ready — it includes a lot):
And as a bonus for the Canadians out there who grumble at the thought of crossing the border to ski because of the dismal exchange rate, Smuggs has a great (limited-time) offer. Take 25 per cent off the price of any of those packages listed above so it feels like your whole package rate costs the same as it would at home. Nice.
Jay Peaks (Vermont)
Let’s start with this: Jay Peaks takes Canadian money at par for many, many things onsite. And they’ve done so for, like, 35 years — so this is not going away. Even half your stay and ski package can be paid for with Canuck dollars. There are exceptions, of course. So just chew on that if you’re deciding to ski south of the border this winter.
This resort has a 60,000 square foot indoor waterpark, so it’s pretty much weather-proof and also offers something to change up your day for little ones who still aren’t ready for a full day out on the slopes.
Onto the deals. Book by October 31, 2016, and two-to-three-night stays get a 20 per cent discount, while those of four days or more get 30 per cent off. You need to play with different hotels and timeframes to get the right price for your family, but here’s an example of a four-night stay in a one-bedroom hotel (so you get some adult time) for the first weekend in January that includes your lodging, lift tickets and waterpark passes = $1,456 total — for a family of four! This does NOT include a US$25 per day resort fee, though. And remember that half of that is US dollars and half can be Canadian.
Mount Snow (Vermont)
Starting at US$1,119, a family of four gets five nights of lodging, five days’ worth of lift tickets, daily lessons for kids who are 4-14 years old (half-day per day), a free tubing session, welcome reception invitation and nightly activities. All taxes and service fees are included in this price, too, making it an exceptional offer. This deal is good until Dec. 1, 2016.
Gore Mountain Ski Resort (New York)
Kids six and under always ski for free, and some properties let them stay for free, too. Even better news? Gore’s stay and ski packages are available anytime during the snow season. There are all kinds of accommodations to suit your budget — like cozy inns, full-service resorts, ski lodges, cottages and condominiums. Ski vacations with lift tickets start at US$94 per adult per night on weekends and during holiday periods, and US$86 per night midweek.
Holiday Valley (New York)
Ellicottville is only three hours from Toronto, and it’s just the cutest little town. It’s also full of Canadians! Midweek packages at the Slopeside Inn allow up to two children age 17 and under to ski and stay free with their parents (or two adults). This package is available non-holiday weekdays (Sunday night through Thursday night) and starts at US$309 for a one-night stay in January or US$338 for a one-night stay in February through March 17 — so it includes March Break. You get lodging with ski-in/out access, continental breakfast and lift tickets starting at 3 p.m. on your arrival day through 4:30 p.m. on departure day. All taxes and fees are included. The package starts on January 1, 2017, and the only caveat is that the week of Feb. 19-23 has a two-night minimum stay (starting at US$734, which including two days of skiing).