Good Winter Travel Season Deals Still Available

Before, during or after winter travel season, the nation’s regions offering ski adventure travel options have something for everyone. The idea of climbing, hiking, camping or trekking through diverse areas had many travelers planning a 2013 winter vacation about this time last year. But those with no plans have options too.

“Put in now for end-of-January trips, but don’t expect deals around Presidents’ Day weekend,” says travel expert Pauline Frommer in a Reuters article.

President’s Day, like many other holidays, is a popular time for leisure travel and a peak booking of snow and cold-related adventures. The best hotel and resort rooms and money-saving packages, offered far in advance to jump-start bookings, are gone. Other discounted promotions will be few but some suggested sources can help.

“Check ski package deals from Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines,” says Frommer. “They both offer good lift ticket and lodging deals – especially if you’re willing to go mid-week instead of weekend.”

Looking to go away from the snow and cold? Land-based resorts, some all-inclusive, are a possible choice along with cruise vacations where unpacking once, we see several destinations on our floating hotel. The winter season brings cruise ships from Europe and around the world to luxuriate in the Caribbean sun. Still, the Caribbean is not the only warm place open for business over the next few months.

“I’ve found some of the best values to be in Central America,” suggests Frommer. “There are fairly decent air fares there. They’ve risen less than other parts of the world. Guatemala and Belize have some good hotel deals and there are some great adventures to be had there.”

Want to find specific ski adventure locations? This video may help:

Ski Season Is Coming: Buy Early To Save

Ski season may seem far away but while snow has yet to hit the slopes, resorts are offering advance sales on lift tickets. Like buying winter clothes in the summer and swimwear in the winter, ski fans know now is the time to buy lift tickets and make resort reservations.

“Every season skiers and snowboarders start to get the itch,” says Evan Reece, Co-Founder and CEO of Liftopia, a big online retailer of lift tickets on his blog, adding “It could be a cool breeze that catches you the right way, the change in the way the light falls on the trees, or if you are like me the first dream I had about skis gliding effortlessly through perfect powder.”

Got that itch? Check these online sources for some of the best values. the largest independent seller of mountain travel in North America, selling more than 80 of the most popular resorts and 1400 properties in North America, Europe and South America. Savings go up to 50% on Colorado resorts with stays starting as early as November 12, 2012.Liftopia has their largest-ever Red Hot End of Summer Sale, featuring more than 32,700 deals with up to 86% off ticket prices at more than 60 ski resorts across North America.

REI has the latest snowboards, boots, bindings and clothing from 686, Arbor, Burton, Dakine, Gnu, Oakley, Vans and more top brands. Their ecoSensitive Program takes responsibility for the entire life cycles of their products, from design to manufacture to end-of-life too. specializes in providing alpine ski and snowboard equipment, winter apparel, footwear, and travel gear. They sell new skis and used demo skis, alpine bindings and ski boots, as well as travel equipment such as ski bags, boot bags, wheeled travel bags, backpacks, hydration packs, and hard travel cases.

“Much like airlines and hotels, the farther you buy in advance the more you will save on your lift ticket deals. Resorts will give you a better deal when you commit farther in advance of your trip,” says Reece.

Flickr photo by mcmortygreen

Memorial Day Getaway: Ski, Bike, Golf Mammoth Mountain

Are you still making plans for Memorial Day weekend? Then look no further than Mammoth Mountain Resort, where unique spring weather conditions have made it possible for visitors to ski, mountain bike and play golf all on the same day.

Even though the Memorial Day weekend often marks the unofficial start to summer, Mammoth isn’t quite ready to completely give up on winter just yet. The resort is one of the few places in the U.S. where it is still possible to ski this spring and the lifts will remain open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Monday, May 28.

Once you’ve finished taking a few turns on the slopes, head over to Mammoth’s fantastic mountain bike park, which officially opens for the season on Saturday, May 26. The lower-mountain trails will be fully accessible and the uphill shuttle will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., making it as easy as possible to bomb down the great trails there.

Finally, cap off the day with a round of golf on the Sierra Star Golf Course, which opened for the season this past Friday. The beautiful course is surrounded by snow capped peaks and is also located at 8000 feet above sea level, making it the highest course all of California. The thin air will add distance to your drives while the serene setting will brighten your mood, even after a three-putt.

Because it is so unusual to be able to ski, mountain bike and golf all on the same day, Mammoth is offering fantastic deals on passes for the weekend. Visitors can choose to either ski and ride or ski and golf for just $79 or they can elect to partake in all three activities for just $99. That seems like a bargain for a very active day outside. Check out all of these deals and more on the Mammoth Summer Kick-off page.

[Photo courtesy Mammoth Mountain]

5 great spring ski destinations

Winter may now be officially over but that doesn’t mean we have to hang up our skies and snowboards just yet. After all, spring usually brings warmer weather, shorter lift lines and discounted passes. For those still hoping to hit the slopes a few more times this year, here are five great spring ski destinations that will leave you wishing it was winter all year round.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Traditionally one of the first mountains to open in North America each year, A-Basin is a popular destination all season long. While many resorts have already started preparing for closure, Arapahoe still boasts 56 open trails and up to seven lifts still in operation. The mountain has a consistent base of 44 inches of snow as well, which means there is still plenty of powder to shred. They’re even running some great spring specials on lift tickets, which you can find here.

Heavenly, Lake Tahoe
Located along Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border, Heavenly more than lives up to its name. The expansive ski area currently has a snow base that spans from 48-85 inches depending on where you are located on its more than 4500 skiable acres. As of this writing, the resort still has 88 trails and 25 lifts in operation and late season storms continue to blanket the area with fresh powder on a regular basis. The resort is now offering a BOGO deal on lodging and lifts as well.

Snowbird, Utah
With a vertical drop of more than 3240 feet and 85 spectacular runs, Snowbird is one of the most popular ski and snowboarding destinations in the U.S. The resort still has an impressive 94-inch base and regular snow falls continue to add to that total. Better yet, Snowbird has a full schedule of events slated for spring, including live music, ski competitions and discounted passes. Checkout the entire line-up here.Jackson Hole Mountain, Wyoming
One resort that hasn’t lacked for snow this year is Jackson Hole Mountain. Following a season that saw more than eight feet of snow dumped on the hill, Jackson Hole still has a base of 95 inches for skiers and riders to enjoy. As a result, nearly all the lifts are still in operation and every one of the 116 trails, 40 of which are groomed, remain open for business. It wouldn’t be spring at Jackson Hole without a little party and on March 31 and April 1 the resort will hold its seventh annual Mountain Festival featuring plenty of live music and skiing.

Mammoth Mountain, California
Wyoming isn’t the only place to enjoy heavy snow this winter, however, as Mammoth Mountain has had its fair share as well. The resort currently lists its base as between 6 and 8 feet, which means all 150 trails and 28 lifts remain open to skiers. Mammoth also features one of he best terrain parks in North America and a season that generally stretches into June. Currently, the resort is running a 2-for-1 special on airfare which makes getting there easier and cheaper than ever.

Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean we have to give up on our favorite winter sports. There will be plenty of time for mountain biking, hiking and kayaking in the months ahead. For now, hit the slopes and enjoy it while you can.

[Photo courtesy Arapahoe Basin]

Photo of the Day: Getting cozy in the snow

Most of our favorite travel memories are from summer: school’s out and the days are long, you can hit the beach, sit in a park, or people-watch at a sidewalk cafe. Spring and fall are great shoulder seasons for lower prices and fewer crowds, but winter tends to be underappreciated for travel. Outside of visiting family for holidays, winter travelers generally head to the ski slopes or Caribbean islands to escape the cold. But winter can be a lovely time to travel, whether you are enjoying the museums and bathhouses of Moscow or taking a country walk through the snow in an English village. Today’s Photo of the Day by Flickr user Kumukulanui is from St. Ann’s Well and Cafe above the spa town of Great Malvern, England. The snow outside makes it even more picturesque, inviting you to get cozy inside with a hot cup of tea and savor the long nights of winter.

Add your favorite winter scenes to the Gadling Flickr pool and you might see it in a future Photo of the Day.