Updated February 2021
While skiing is considered an iconic winter pastime, as are the overnight getaways that often go along with it, early spring can bring some of the best bluebird days. And now’s the time to start planning for a safe, end-of-season ski trip, with experts offering two pieces of advice: “book early” and “know before you go.”
Many of Vacasa’s top snow spots are seeing a significant lift in bookings as 2021 progresses. Guest occupancy in February is up year-over-year in places like Steamboat Springs and Lake Tahoe, and Wyoming saw an astounding 99 percent increase in bookings from December to January.
To help you choose the right terrain, we’re sharing our spring skiing guide to six downhill destinations offering lift ticket reservations, with cozy Vacasa cabins and ski-in/ski-out condos available to book nearby. Because once you're geared up and out carving the mountain, odds are you’re going to want to make more than just a day of it.
**Note: all policies mentioned here are subject to change, so be sure to verify all information regarding lift ticket sales and guidelines directly with resorts and destinations.**
Featured Vacasa home: Mountain Elegance
Located in northwest Colorado, Steamboat Springs is home to 18 lifts and 169 trails across six mountain peaks. It’s also the birthplace of Champagne Powder® snow (yes, that’s a trademark), famous among powder hounds for its exceptionally light quality and low moisture content.
Steamboat Springs isn’t requiring reservations for annual pass holders, but it is offering single-day and multi-day lift tickets—as well as rentals and lessons—via advance purchase. The resort’s new practices are aligned with those at most other ski destinations, but some unique protocols may even save you time, like the addition of a Virtual Gondola Line. Guests can join the Steamboat Gondola line remotely from the comfort of their vacation rental, enjoy another cup of coffee, and then head to the physical line when alerted.
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Featured Vacasa home: Ski Lift Trail
Boasting two top-notch ski resorts, Park City has hosted many major ski and snowboard events, including the 2002 Winter Olympics. Park City Mountain stakes its claim as the largest U.S. ski resort, with more than 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, while Deer Valley Resort caters to a luxury and skier-only crowd. You heard that right, no snowboarders allowed.
While both resorts require early booking for single-day tickets, Park City Mountain also has a reservation system for pass holders, whereas Deer Valley allows that group to ski-and-go as they please. But reservations come with perks at Park City Mountain: you can also book a seat or pre-order food via the Time to Dine app to refuel with efficiency.
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Featured Vacasa home: Pioneer 10
Recently expanding our map of mountain destinations, Vacasa now cares for a wide selection of condos and chalets in Teton County, offering access to three of the area’s top ski destinations: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain, and Grand Targhee Resort.
The larger Grand Targhee Resort and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) are both requiring advance purchase lift tickets, with added savings at JHMR for those who book two or more weeks out. You can use those savings to buy a round of the resort’s famous waffles, but just note it’s carryout only this year. Though smaller in size, Snow King Mountain also has a detailed safety plan and is touting the fewer crowds—and free parking—that come with its smaller lot.
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Featured Vacasa home: Valley View Luxury
For good reason, Vail Mountain Resort and its 195 trails hold a spot on many skiers’ bucket lists. The trails here are impeccably groomed, and a number of bowls, including less frequented back bowls, make it well-equipped to handle the new distancing and capacity guidelines.
Vail Resorts—which also manages Park City Mountain and several Lake Tahoe resorts among its West Coast operations—is limiting ski school sizes, so you may have a chance for more one-on-one instruction. When it’s time to pay for extras like rentals or lunch, though, don’t bother with your billfold, as it will be all cashless transactions on property.
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Featured Vacasa home: Spectacular Schaffer's Luxury Home on the 6th Green
With more snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas and the regional stay-at-home order lifted, the area’s six prime resorts, including Northstar, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadow, and Sugar Bowl, are preparing to welcome more skiers (note: travel and quarantine guidelines are still in place).
Lake Tahoe’s slopes are known for their epic alpine scenery and each resort offers something different—from steep and deep powder and terrain parks, to beginner-friendly runs. But this year, expect more tech integrated into the outdoor experience. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows reportedly spent $1 million across its two mountains on expanded safety measures, and several resorts installed radio frequency identification (RFID) readers to scan skiers’ passes and keep lift lines moving swiftly.
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Featured Vacasa home: Contemporary ADK 5 Bedroom Chalet on Schroon
Though travelers from outside of New York and its contiguous states currently need a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine period to enjoy the Adirondacks, it’s still a top place to follow the snow, if you can safely do so. They know how to winter upstate, with seven slopes to link your turns and an array of expert and family-friendly runs.
Rentals, lessons, and lift tickets all need to be secured in advance at popular Gore Mountain and Whiteface Mountain, known for a series of narrow chutes called “The Slides.” To limit restaurant wait times and crowds, both spots are running off-peak dining specials to encourage early or late lunch and après-ski breaks. Or if you’re looking for a more low-key mountain experience, head north to check out the groomed runs, terrain parks, and a tubing hill at Titus Mountain in Malone.
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