Steals

Testing the gravity of the situation at Vail     Photo: courtesy, D.Coffey, Vail Resorts

NICE PACKAGES
EAST: Stave off weekend prices and save about $35 per day by skiing midweek with Vermont's Ski the Valley program. You get two ski areas in the deal: Sugarbush and neighboring Mad River Glen. The three-night/three-day packages start at $177 per person and include lodging, breakfast, and lift tickets (at both areas) and your choice of 15 different lodges. Contact: The Chamber of Commerce for Mad River Valley (800-828-4748, www.madrivervalley.com).
ROCKIES: In midwinter, resorts team up with major airlines to offer supercheap packages. Example: The Steamboat Springs Value Season Package ($669) flies you into Denver from Dallas-Fort Worth on United Airlines and offers five nights at Steamboat Springs' bare-bones Alpiner Lodge; the Canyons Value Season Package ($749) flies you into Salt Lake City from Chicago or L.A. and offers five nights at the Red Pine Condominiums. Both packages include four-day lift tickets, airfare, and airport transfers. Contact: Ski Vacation Planners (888-822-6754; www.skivacationplanners.com). FAR WEST: In California, Heavenly Ski Resort's Build Your Own Package program lets you choose from 14 lodging options ranging from three to ten days. Example: Starting at $315 per person, stay three nights at the Tradewinds Motel-Heavenly, located next to the new gondola, and ski for two days. Contact: Heavenly Ski Resort (800-243-2836, www.skiheavenly.com).

DEMO DEALS
The one-year-old Rossignol International Test Center at the top of Vail's Lift 4 is leading a movement by ski manufacturers to get you out of the rental line and onto the mountain faster. Present the Rossi Test Center with a free coupon from any Rossignol dealer in the country (www.rossignol.com) and try out skis, boots, snowboards, and telly gear, gratis. BUZZ

RENT-A-RESORT
IF YOU TIRE OF SHARING the mountain, consider renting (or buying) your own resort. Turner Mountain in Libby, Montana, is available Monday through Thursday for just $2,000 per day. The lone chair lift climbs 2,110 vertical feet and accesses 800 acres of trails (406-293-4317, www.skiturner.com). Lookout Pass Ski Area in Wallace, Idaho, is available Monday through Wednesday for $3,000 a day. One lift and one rope tow access 850 vertical feet and 360 acres (208-744-1301, www.skilookout.com).

Or, what the heck, why not just buy your own ski area? This summer, eBay listed Laurel Mountain Ski Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania—with snowmaking, five lifts, night skiing, and a base lodge—for a brisk $9.5 million. At press time, the resort was still up for grabs.

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