How to Beat the Crowds This Ski Season

Skiing in the middle of the season can mean long waits at the lifts and jam-packed hotels. Here’s how to avoid both.

Avoid the long lines this snow season.     Photo: Witchcraft

Skiing in the middle of the season can mean long waits at the lifts and jam-packed hotels. Here’s how to avoid both.

Go early. According to Kayak.com, fewer people book flights for the first two weekends of February than for any time during March. Our advice: take a sick day.

Skip the hotel. If rowdy après scenes and hotel-room neighbors clomping down the hallway in ski boots aren’t your thing, check out home rentals in quiet bedroom communities through VRBO.com and Airbnb.com. In Colorado, buses pull into Aspen from Carbondale every half-hour and cost five bucks. Shuttles bring people to Vail from as far as 40 miles downvalley every 30 to 45 minutes for just four bucks. And of course you can catch a bus to Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, or Brighton from Salt Lake City every 40 minutes (when avalanche conditions allow) for $4.50.

Think different. If there are two or more resorts in the area, one of them is going to be less crowded. Instead of Vail, try Beaver Creek; instead of Aspen, try Snowmass.

Cut the lines. Check out AlpineReplay.com’s resort guides (and corresponding Android or iPhone app) to find the least busy days at nearly every ski resort in North America. The hills with the shortest total ride times, including the wait: Crested Butte, Deer Valley, and Heavenly.

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