Choosing Family Accommodations for a Ski Trip
Where to Stay in Steamboat
As you begin the planning process for your ski vacation you might realize that ski vacations are an entirely different breed of vacation that requires a lot more planning than a cruise or a typical beach vacation. Ski vacations require additional components like lift tickets, equipment rentals, ski school, and possibly even new winter clothing depending on what your family already has in the closet. With the additional components that are essential to plan a successful family ski vacation, it is important to know that your accommodations are the backbone of your trip. Even though your family (hopefully!) won’t be spending the whole day in the condo, they need to be able to warm up when coming off the slopes, sleep soundly at night, have recreation options when taking a break, and have easy access to the mountain.
Steamboat Springs Lodging Guide
Off the Mountain
When you aren’t on the slopes with your family, you are likely spending time at your accommodations. This isn’t just a place to sleep at night! It is a place to eat a meal, continue making memories together, and sit back and relax. That being said, what kind of amenities will your family need to get the job done? Some families might want to have a restaurant steps away so they can get quality food quickly, and some families might want a heated outdoor pool or hot tub to relax or expel some of the remaining energy of the day. Choosing these amenities wisely could be a deciding factor in how your family’s “off” time will go. Here are some family-friendly amenities to look out for when choosing your accommodations:
- Pool & hot tub
- Recreation room with pool tables, foosball, and other various games
- Onsite spa
- Restaurant close by or in the hotel
- Continental daily breakfast
- On-call shuttle services to get to and from town
- Family-friendly aprés that includes options like hot chocolate, warm cookies, or s’mores
- Children’s playroom or babysitting services
Access to the Slopes
Staying a shuttle ride away from the mountain is an easy way to save a little bit of money on your ski vacation, and many families choose to do this! However, many families also choose to stay adjacent to the mountain with ski in ski out access or a short walk to the slopes due to the convenience it brings. Choosing where to stay depends on what you can expect from the rest of your family members. Do you have small toddlers that might need a change of clothes in the middle of the day? Will you need to get to ski school early in the morning? Is traveling on the shuttle going to be easy or challenging for your family? Are you going to go back to your accommodations for lunch? These are all questions you should consider when choosing what type of access you will have to the slopes. Here are some pros and cons to shuttling to slopes vs. ski in ski out:
Ski-in/ Ski-Out or Walk to Slopes:
Pros: Quickly get on the slopes without the hassle of a shuttle, easy to get to the ski school, base area restaurants are easy to get to, you can go back to accommodations in the middle of the day for lunch or warm-up, and there is easy access to events happening in the base area at night.
Cons: Much more expensive to stay close to slopes, at night, and early in the morning you might hear the loud grooming machines on the slopes, and finally, it is likely more crowded, and therefore there will be more noise from people and less privacy.
Shuttle to Slopes:
Pros: By staying on the shuttle route you may be able to afford a nicer rental with more space and more amenities, many properties on the shuttle route will offer private on-call shuttles to enhance convenience, you can avoid the hustle & bustle of the base area and have more privacy, and depending on where you stay you could be closer to town and other off-mountain activities.
Cons: Going back to the condo in the middle of the day is less convenient, getting to ski school on time in the morning might be challenging with small children, packing up for a day on the slopes will take more preparation and planning.
Planning for the Price
The final piece of advice that we want to offer families planning a ski vacation revolves around choosing the most cost-effective accommodations for your family. There are so many ways to save money on a ski vacation and choosing the right accommodations will enable your family to save money and plan ahead for the next ski vacation!
Families might be fooled into staying in a hotel room or a studio that has a kitchenette or no kitchen at all. While you will be saving money on the initial costs of accommodations, it is important to remember that restaurants are expensive in popular ski destinations. Families of 4 could easily spend over $100 per meal if they aren’t careful. We highly suggest getting accommodations with full kitchens so that you can save money and time by cooking some of your own meals.
Planning in advance is another strategic way to save money on your accommodations. Most property management companies offer steep discounts over the summer in which you can save up to 30% off your accommodations as well as receive additional amenities like spa credits or complimentary upgrades. If you are able to plan your winter vacation over the summer and book in advance, you will have more available options and steeper savings.
We know that many families are restricted to traveling over their kid’s school schedules, which often pushes them into peak travel dates and peak prices. Accommodation prices multiply over holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, President’s Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. weekends. Not to mention there are typically nightly minimums. If your family can avoid these dates you will steer clear of not only inflated prices but also the busiest days on the slopes. If you want to avoid steep prices but can’t get around these peak travel dates, consider shifting your dates by just a few days. For example, if you arrive on December 22nd instead of December 25th, you will catch a few nights at a lower rate than if you arrive on December 25th.
Enjoy Your trip!
After reading this article about family accommodations and the options you have with amenities, ski access, and planning for the costs, we hope you feel well-equipped to make a decision about which accommodations are best for your family. And of course, if you need further assistance reach out to our Vacation Consultants! Their help is completely free of charge and full of expertise.