Snowboarding around SLC on the Cheap

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Another blog post by Mr. Deals…

When I travel without Mrs. Deals it tends to be much different than when we are together. I like to fly by the seat of my pants, while Mrs. Deals is more of a planner. Every year, I head out west to go snowboarding with some buddies. Typically these trips are somewhat thrown together on a whim and rarely do we have a plan of what mountains we are actually going to. We just pick a state (usually Utah), book flights and figure out the rest a few days ahead of time. So far, we’ve been pretty successful.

This recent trip was no different, and you will all be very proud to know that I booked everything without the help of Mrs. Deals! Ok, I lied, she helped me with one thing, putting in my AAA number to get a better rate at one of the hotels (a moment where I slapped my palm against my forehead). I’m going to give you a glimpse into what it looked like.

Almost every time we go west I take care of the hotel bookings (my friends all know Mrs. Deals is over my shoulder so they don’t worry about me going nuts on price). This trip, we were getting in late to SLC and decided to forgo any fancy places near the mountain and shack up at the local airport hotels. I mean for $64 how could you not? I highly recommend the Springhill Suites right by the airport. It’s practically brand new and the free breakfast helps. The beauty of SLC is that if you are without a planned mountain destination, every place is less than 45 minutes away (though we chose one of the mountains slightly further out for our first day). Another great thing about Utah is that lift tickets (aside from the Park City Resorts) are really pretty cheap (comparatively). At the window, a weekend adult ticket to Powder Mountain was $65. I mean Windham in NY is $72 for a full day and a tiny fraction of the size/quality of a western US mountain.

Anyway, the next two nights of the trip were done with a last minute reservation at the Residence Inn, Cottonwood Heights. For those of you who have been to Utah to ski/snowboard before, you will know that Cottonwood Canyon is home to a few of the best mountains in Utah — Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird, & Alta. Now this hotel is a short 15 minute ride to just about all of those mountains. If you want to hit up the Park City Resorts, you are looking at maybe 30 minutes. The best part about this place, aside from the rate of $142 a night we snagged and the fact that you have a kitchen should you want to stock up on near beers and snacks is that it has a heated pool and big hottub, BINGO! A hottub is an essential part of every mountain vacation. Nothing beats hitting up the foamy hot water post beating the crap out of your body.

So lastly, when going to Utah and to any ski destination for that matter its important to do you research on lift tickets. Utah is great, you can practically pick up discounted lift tickets anywhere. All the ski shops have them, even some hotels have them in stock. We found a local shop that had a good deal with Brighton and snagged tickets there. We also managed to grab passes for 5 of us for Park City for $50 each off craigslist. It was actually someone trying to unload their packet of Costco purchased tickets (always check out Costco).

That’s my little rant on Utah. Honestly, if you are on the east coast and want to do a last minute trip out west before the season ends, I’d recommend it to anyone. While they may lessen the alcohol in their beers, they more than make up for it with amazing snow and relatively inexpensive skiing/snowboarding. Oh and if you ever make it out there, go to Hector’s and get the Carne Asada Burrito. Just writing that has made me hungry…

Till next week!

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  1. How many points for residence inn? We went in April to Canyons and stayed at Escala Lodge for $89 a night last April. Canyons is huge! However, not the best snow in Utah… low coverage near the bottom. Snowbird has the best snow I’ve heard. If you go in April you can fly and ski the same day…

  2. If you prefer to stay in downtown Salt Lake City, you can usually snag a room at a nice hotel for the same price or far less than you paid for the airport hotel using Priceline. Another great place for Mexican Food in SLC is the Red Iguana!

    • @fishing4deals – agree, but the mr. was getting in late and leaving real early so he didn’t care. He was primarily concerned with breakfast being provided, free parking, and close to airport. And the cheapest price.

  3. Everything is a trade off. I just got back from staying at Snowbird. Stayed ski-in, ski-out. If you’re going with kids, I wouldn’t consider anything but that.

    If you stay in SLC, how are you getting to the resorts? There is some cost in terms of time and money that are not being discussed.

    Just a warning – Snowbird is a really tough mountain. Not good for anything but Advanced skiers in my opinion. I had my man-card revoked 🙂

    • @lawrence – I agree. When I go out there I want a ski in/ski out, or close to that. When mr deals goes on his boys trips they do it totally different!

  4. @romsdeals – love love love snowbird, but its about knowing where to go there. i’ve been guided around by friends and it has made the experience infinitely better

    @fishing4deals – downtown SLC is definitely an option, but we were looking to get up and avoid any of the morning mountain traffic. the closer the better at the cheapest prices was the plan

    @lawrence – so yes, ski-in ski-out rules. you can’t beat it. With respect to time, its fast, though being at the bottom of the access road is pretty damn close. You are right, I did forget to mention the rental car, but it was being split with a group so the cost there is pretty reasonable when broken down on a per person basis. As for snowbird being tough, I agree, but that’s the fun in it! I always end up dropping a cliff I didn’t anticipate going anywhere near…

  5. Don’t forget the awesome Quick Start deal they have in Park City! My family took off from LAX early morning and were on the slope by 11am–and boarded for free the entire day! Awesome.

  6. How is the skiing in mid April ? We live near the east coast mountains so would never do a february break trip to SLC, but an April break trip sounds like fun as most everything is shut down by then up here.

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