LJWorld.com weblogs Linda's Backroad Musings
Mont Blue to the Rockies-managing affordable ski vacations
Growing up as Kansas flatlanders, skiing was on water in the summer.It was the early 70s when a friend suggested we try snow skiing at Mont Blue, a busy little ski slope southeast of Lawrence. Always ready for fun, we jumped at the chance.Mont Blue had a base house with fireplace, refreshments and ski rental. Equipment fitted, we headed out to the "mountain." To get to the top, we grabbed the towrope and hung on. Once there, we proceeded to fall and slide to the bottom. Laughing all afternoon, we got better and were hooked on skiing.Mont Blue was the beginning but the Rocky Mountains had better snow. Quickly discovering a ski vacation is expensive, we managed to find ways to make it affordable for our family. These are my suggestions.First, it is helpful to find at least one other family with a similar interest to share lodging as well as food. Our children have many happy memories from these trips with friends. Take a lunch to the slope in a backpack. Sandwiches, cheese, fruit. candy bars and sodas taste wonderful after a morning of exhilarating runs. We "hide" the backpack in a snow bank and retrieve it at a designated time. Most all warming houses on the slopes have seating for picnickers. Do this or pay $6 to $8 for a hamburger.Ski rental is cheaper as a package away from the slopes. Equipment malfunctions will quickly ruin a day of skiing especially if the rental store is two hours away. Make sure there is a satellite shop or the store has an agreement with a rental shop near the slope. No need to purchase fancy clothing. Ski pants are affordable and any warm coat will do. Always layer. Toasti Toes help with cold feet. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If you are a first time skier, plan on at least a half day of lessons. It is money well spent and may include a lift ticket. Lift tickets are a major expense. Breckenridge is now charging $80 a day. Check some of the lesser-known slopes. They might offer a family discount. Right now a $10 purchase of gasoline at a Phillips 66 in Colorado will get you a voucher for a buy one, get one free lift ticket on Sundays at Copper Mountain. Grocery stores in Denver offer discounts also. An article recently on Arama.com entitled Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know! has additional suggestions. Finally, be adventurous. Keep a good attitude and have fun. Don't give up after the first try. It gets easier. There is no feeling like swishing down a slope with breathtaking mountains as a backdrop. Suddenly all the planning is worthwhile. Since our first try at Mont Blue, we have visited slopes in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Three of our five grandchildren, all under eight years old, skied for the first time last week. We still laugh coming down the slopes-all three generations.