Document your vacation with RockResorts “Three for Free” promotion

With the slumping economy and decline in hotel occupancy rates, lots of hotels and resorts are offering deals that allow you stay for free after you pay for a certain number of nights. But not many resorts are throwing in a free “adventure cam” to use during your stay.

RockResorts, which operates properties in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and St. Lucia, is offering a “Three for Free” promotion that goes above and beyond the standard package deal. The minimum stay at each resort varies (ranging from 3-6 nights) and dates of validity vary through April depending on which of the 12 resorts you choose, but at each one you’ll receive: one free night’s stay, a $50 gift card or resort credit, and a free Adventure Eye Video Systems action/ helmet camcorder to make a movie off all the fun you have during your stay.

As an added bonus, those who actually use the camera to record themselves out and about on the property can enter their movie into a contest to win free Epic Passes for the 2010-2011 season. The passes allow unlimited skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado.

To take advantage of the promotion, rooms must be booked by January 31.

[via La Times]

Kids fly free to Vail this winter

Skiing is not a cheap hobby. For those who don’t live close to the slopes, just getting to their favorite ski resort can cost hundreds of dollars, especially for families. But those going to Vail may find it a little more affordable. . . well at least for the flights.

American Airlines, which operates several nonstop routes to Eagle Airport (30 minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek), is offering free flights for kids traveling with adults this winter. Each paid adult can bring one child for free on flights departing Sunday through Wednesday and returning Monday through Friday, from December 1 to 17 and January 3 to February 10. Within the selected date ranges, there are no blackout dates.

The offer is good on connecting flights to Eagle Airport as well. Kids also ski free on the day of arrival and get free transport to Vail or Beaver Creek from the airport.

Skiers eager to return to Colorado slopes

The travel market may be in the tank, but things are looking good for Vail Resorts. Season passes for their slopes were up 13 percent last month. Sure, some of the deals have probably helped, but the market has definitely changed over the past year. In 2008, travelers were feeling the fresh sting of the financial crisis, and job cuts were looming. Everyone became more cautious, because they didn’t know if they’d fall victim to the cruel lottery to come.

Now, it looks like the worst is behind us (though nobody can be sure), and we’re all looking for a little bit of relief. For skiers, this means biting the bullet, paying what’s necessary and hitting the powder. Mark Kelley, a 59-year-old skier and real estate broker from Denver put it best: “I have always gone skiing, even during difficult times.” He continued, “I am more inclined to cut down on my spending on the mountain than to not go skiing at all.”

Ski resorts are predicting an increase in bookings this season, thanks to eager skiers who were stuck at home in 2008. And, since flights are still fairly inexpensive, they hope to draw city-dwellers from across the country. Vail Resorts, which has five ski properties, is hoping they’ll succumb to their urges.

Robert Katz, the CEO of Vail Resorts, told Bloomberg News, “This year the economy is still struggling but there is more confidence that it’s not getting dramatically worse.” He explained, “The economic issues that we faced last year started right at the beginning of ski season and got worse until the end of the season.” Now that conditions have turned, he’s hopeful that skiers will end their hibernation.

Starwood Hotels, the third largest U.S. hotel company, reports an up-tick at its ski resorts from 2008, with its St. Regis Aspen Resort “pacing better” and holiday bookings “close to being filled,” according to K.C. Kavanagh, a company spokesperson. The Dakota Mountain lodge in Park City, Utah, a Hilton Waldorf Astoria property, is also looking good.

Meanwhile, the rest of the lodging industry continues to suffer, with occupancy in the United States down 57 percent through August this year, its lowest level since at least 1987.

Get everything you want in Vail this summer

I don’t know what it is about The Arrabelle at Vail Square, but that property knows how to put an interesting deal together. The RockResort property is adept at finding new and unusual ways to make itself even more attractive (which is hard to do when you consider the quality of the property and amenities). The latest gig is offered in partnership with Kessler Canyon, a wildlife retreat and luxury resort. So, prepare to head out to Colorado for six nights, all-inclusive, for a diverse experience that will take you from the mountains to the mesas.

The package allows for a customizable itinerary, so it’s not as confining as most all-inclusive packages. You can have a blast in Vail, then disappear into the Rocky Mountains for a while before heading down to De Beque to experience the mesas (the last being a somewhat magical concept to a child of the northeast who has never seen this type of natural “structure”). The list of activities is long and includes golf, rafting, off-road tours, horseback riding and hiking. If outdoors isn’t your thing, lean toward more luxurious activities such as spa treatments and wine tours.

The price may seem a bit steep at $750 per person per night, but it becomes pretty amazing when you keep in mind that it covers everything – including food and booze. The property will also take you to and from the airport (a major headache if you have to deal with it on your own.

If this turns you on, don’t put it off. You have to travel by August 23, 2009 to take advantage of this deal.

The Arrabelle has a built-in solution for golfers’ wives

Golf addict? Instead of hoping for a 6 AM tee time at your local 18, get on a plane (flights are cheap, we may have mentioned a few times on Gadling), and take off for Vail, Colorado. The Arrabelle at Vail Square has put together a cool package – “Drive and Revive” – for golfers … with a little something for non-duffers who may be traveling with you.

Drop $399 a night to stay at this RockResort, and you’ll get more than just an upscale roof over your head. The personal concierge service will generally make your life easier when you’re on the road (wish I could dig this up at home …). Also, you’ll get a round of golf at the Red Sky Ranch Golf Club for every night you stay. In Vail for four nights – that’s four rounds of golf. You can get out there daily with no worries.

Well, there is one concern. If you have your wife or girlfriend with you, disappearing to the links for the better part of every day won’t go over well. The Arrabelle has built in a solution for you. Each night comes with a $150 spa credit. With massages and facials in play, you won’t get too much resistance when you pack up to go chase a little white ball for a few hours.

You won’t be missed.