True, sometimes you need to pack three friends and all your gear into a budget hotel to make ski trips feasible. With gear rentals, lift tickets, and apres beer prices by no means on the cheap end of the scale, cutting costs on lodging is often the only option. But, if you’ve been saving your pennies and plan on treating yourself right, here are five things you should look for in a hotel that will make your trip that much more pleasant:
Slope-Side Hot Tub/Heated Pool
File this one under “OBVIOUS” and “OF COURSE.”
One of the most inconvenient aspects of skiing is lugging around all the gear. Hotel rooms are small enough already – no reason to clog up your corners with boots and poles. Look for a hotel that has a ski shop on-site or a ski concierge, an in-house, full-service team that stores your skis overnight, usually on the ground level right where you come off the slopes. Some hotels that are not located slope-side will partner with local shops to provide guests with ski storage, so be sure to inquire before booking. Last thing you want after a day on the mountain is to be stuffing your skis into an elevator.
Ski in/Ski Out Access
Sure, there’s nothing too painful about a short shuttle ride to the hill – that is, unless you’ve experienced the convenience and luxury of a ski in/ski out property. While it is nice in the morning and evening, we find that this is most appreciated throughout the day when we want to take breaks. Having a hotel that is ski in/ski out makes running back to your room a possible reality, whether it is to switch out gear (change socks, gloves) or come in out of the cold without heading into a crowded lodge. This is especially good for families with small children and inexperienced riders who might need to take a number of breaks over the course of a day.
Shuttle to Town
We want to be close to our hotel during the day, but we definitely don’t want to feel trapped there at night, especially with the prices of today’s on-mountain, in-house hotel restaurants. Be sure that your hotel provides a free shuttle to an area where there are more options. The shuttles are also important in terms of safety, too – keep in mind that mountain towns aren’t the most walker-friendly during the winter months when snow and ice compromise the sidewalks.
You wouldn’t be the first person to go on a ski trip and wake up the next morning feeling like you were hit by a truck, and having mountain views from your room, or at least the hotel lobby/bar, will make taking a day off a lot more enjoyable. When booking, be sure to ask about the view from your room and request one that faces the slopes. The closer you are, the better the people-watching becomes.