To spree or not to spree? Whether you pay top dollar for a ski vacation or scam free lodging and eat ketchup soup for lunch, here are high/low lodging choices for three resorts we love

where $per nightwhat you getbonusfeast or faminestar powerHIGH LIFEStein Eriksen Lodge $910
Luxury room with Scandinavian woodwork, balcony, and a jet-powered bathtubDown comforters, terry-cloth bathrobes, and overnight shoe-shining service$21-$31 entrees like sizzling Szechuan-crusted duck breast served to the melodious tunes of a jazz bandThe perfectly coiffed Stein himself, a 1952 slalom gold medalist for NorwayLOW LIFEHidden Haven Campground $24
A patch of ground for your tent, car, or RV (with full hookup) with views of Interstate 80Coin-op laundry, hot showers, and loads of Twinkies and Doritos at the Hidden Haven General StoreCrackers with Cheez Whiz, served with Châ teau du Coke 2002No celebrities reported or expected. . . everHIGH LIFEAmangani $1,100 307-734-7333,
A suite with a king-size bed, his-and-hers sinks, and a bathtub view of the Snake River RangeWoven cowhide chairs, 35-meter swimming pool (no, not in your room), and seaweed treatments at the Health CenterStoli martinis at the zinc-topped bar, and seared onaga with gravlox at The GrillVP Dick Cheney and his tycoon palsLOW LIFEThe Hostel $53
A private room for some quality time with Spot (pets welcome)Ping-pong and pool tablesA burger at The Rocky Mountain Oyster (307-734-9438). . . sorry, they're not on the menuThree guys vying to be extras in a Warren Miler movieHIGH LIFEThe Inn at Lost Creek $775
950-square-foot two-bedroom suite with two master baths and a fireplaceRooftop hot tubs, ski valet, and "hot-stone" massagesSingle-malt scotches in the Lobby Bar and the 9545 Restaurant's poached Alaskan halibut with sun-dried tomatoesHollywood action figures à la Clint EastwoodLOW LIFEOak Street Inn $58
Room for two, bath down the hall, and a five-minute walk to the slopesSauna, TV lounge, and VCR (BYO movies)Takeout pizza from Baked in Telluride (970-728-4775)Author of this chart stayed there once

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