Many people are shopping for summer excursions by mid-winter. The thought of late-season ski deals might not occur to many budget travelers.
But there are quite a few resorts that still have good conditions and plenty of empty rooms. They will discount those rooms and rental fees rather than risk no profit whatsoever.
There are many budget travel strategies that just don't work for some people, and this is one of them. Conditions in some areas begin to deteriorate rapidly, and trails close. Booking in March and especially April can be a gamble.
Some of the better instructors and guides move on to other jobs. The "in" crowd probably has moved on, too.
If you can tolerate such hardships, and you're willing to gamble a bit on the conditions, read on.
Airlines often give skiers a nice array of deals. With much of the vacation traffic headed to warm beaches for spring break, you might be able to snag a fairly last-minute deal to a favored ski destination.
But many deals this time of year do not involve airfare. Typically, the prices you'll find are for room and lift tickets only. Always read the fine print carefully before you click the buy button.
Also realize that this is not presented as the "cheapest" or "best" on the Internet. You might find even better deals--the purpose is to get you thinking about them and looking for them.
Click "next" and consider late-season skiing in the United States.
Snowshoe in West Virginia is one of the few resorts where you stay on top of the mountain. With elevations above 4,000 feet, conditions at Snowshoe for making snow are often better than resorts farther north. Their Web site claims "some of the best snow of the season can be found the last few weeks of the season." Snowshoe frequently offers late-season deals that begin in March and continue until about April 10 each year. They might include lodging and lift tickets -- be sure to check offerings for the current year.
Vail in Colorado bills itself as the top ski resort in North America. If you want to check out their claim for yourself, an economical option can be found among their Web Specials. Vail Marriott Mountain Spa and Resort offers a free night of lodging and a free day skiing when you purchase three additional days.
Mammoth Mountain in California has offered a fourth night free with the purchase of three nights midweek in March. Deals and Packages at Mammoth are worth a look if you'll be in the region. They also have a kids ski and stay free offer in March. Minimum stays and other restrictions apply, so read the terms carefully.
North of the Canadian border, conditions can be marvelous well into April and May. Click "next" for a look at some deals in Canada.
Whistler in British Columbia is often rated among the top ski areas in North America. Whistler-Blackcomb usually offers a page of Late Season Packages for April, priced for double occupancy per person. At the lower end of that range, five nights accommodation and a four of five-day lift ticket per person. The longer stays allow you to explore Whistler's legendary trails for up to 10 days. The nearest large airport is Vancouver.
Banff in Alberta prides itself on a ski season that usually extends into May. If you go, consider adding a few days of sightseeing. There are few places on earth blessed with so many beautiful vistas. The nearest large airport is Calgary.
Mount Sainte Anne in Québec is about 25 miles north of Québec City. In March and April you can pay for two nights lodging and lift tickets and get the third night and third lift ticket for free. If you fly into Montreal, the driving distance is 180 miles.
Click "next" and consider a couple of European ski deals aimed at late-season travelers.
Innsbruck in Austria hosted the 1976 Winter Olympic Games and is known throughout the world for its facilities and ski runs. SkiEurope.com offers packages that include airfare, transfers to hotel, six nights and breakfast in a three-star hotel during March. Note that lift tickets are not included in this price. These deals sell out quickly and are sometimes withdrawn in a flash.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany is another SkiEurope destination. Here, you're paying for the transfers, hotel, and daily buffet breakfast. Airfare, lift tickets, and other items are extra.
Like Banff, this is a place to savor with or without skis fastened to your feet. The splendor of the scenery, draped in snow, will stay in your memory.