Question:

How can I find affordable lodging near ski areas?

All I Want is a Room Somewhere: Budget Ski Lodging

Although the words "inexpensive ski lodging" might seem like a contradiction in terms, the idea is not as farfetched as it seems. While there are budget accommodations near most ski areas, they do not usually advertise. However, they do exist. Here are some "insider tips" about how to find inexpensive ski lodging.

• Stay Off Mountain: Although we all love ski in/ski out lodging, it is usually pretty expensive. Often, excellent lodging options at affordable rates can be found within a 10-minute drive from the resort. In some cases, the off-slopes towns have a lot more action than the area around the ski bases.
• Avoid Holidays and Spring Break: Lodging at ski areas is at a premium during this season. You will do a lot better during early season, late season and most of the month of January.
• Stay Mid-Week: Some lodging venues offer discounts for mid-week stays.
• Look for Last-Minute Specials: Sometimes, if a resort has not booked all of its rooms, they will offer last-minute specials. This actually happened at Copper Mountain during the Christmas of 2006. Major snow storms kept airplanes from landing at Denver International Airport. As a result, anyone who was able to drive to Copper was able to get ski in/ski out lodging for $109 a night.

Hostels: Not Just for Youth
Many ski areas have hostels that are located in close proximity to the mountain. In some cases, these hostels are more attractive than the local hotels. Because of the exchange rate on the dollar, US citizens can get an excellent bargain on Canadian hostels.

Canada
If we told you that it was possible to find a ski in/ski out hostel at Big White Mountain, would you believe us? You should. But wait! It gets even better. How does free Internet access sound, as well as a free pancake breakfast in the morning? This hostel has dormitory as well as private rooms. SameSun also has hotels at other Canadian ski areas. You can check them out at their website.

Maine: Sunday River Inn
Located just half a mile from the Sunday River Ski Resort, the Sunday River Inn offers guests a choice of either dormitory or private rooms. Although most guests share a bath, there a few rooms that have their own private bathroom.

Stay Cheap in Breckenridge, Colorado
The words "cheap lodging" and "Breckenridge Colorado" are rarely used in the same sentence. However, the Breckenridge Fireside Inn and B&B make affordable lodging a reality. The Fireside is both a bed and breakfast, as well as a hostel. Its location on historic Main Street is a 10-minute walk or a quick shuttle ride to Breckenridge Mountain. Visit them at http://www.firesideinn.com/

Cheap Sleeps in Crested Butte, Colorado
The Crested Butte Lodge and Hostel has been described as a hostel for adults. You have the choice of dormitory rooms, private rooms or small family apartments. There is a huge communal kitchen, where you can cook your meals.

Aspen
Not Just for the Rich and Famous.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer