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On a Budget

Olympics Shouldn't Make Utah Ski Prices Peak

November 11, 2001|ARTHUR FROMMER

It's not too early to start planning for the Winter Olympics in Utah, which will take place Feb. 8 to 24.

If you want to get in on the Olympic excitement, request details on events and tickets at (800) TICKETS (842-5387), or call (877) 222-2802 for hotel and ticket packages. And be sure to check the Winter Games Web site at

But I know some skiers who moan that they won't be taking their annual ski trip to Snowbird, Park City or Deer Valley because prices will be sky-high and availability way down, thanks to the spotlight and crowds brought about by the games.

They should think again. Historically, business in host regions slows down before and after an Olympics, partly because of this misconception. In fact, Ski Utah is trying to counter such fears by launching an avalanche of incentives throughout the state, lasting all season--and even during the Games. The centerpiece of this effort is the "$20.02 Celebration," which grants coupons for discounts of $20.02 per person per day on adult lift tickets to skiers staying three or more nights at more than 100 participating properties.

Beyond that, plenty of strategies and deals will help get you more bang for your ski dollar in Utah. Besides those mentioned below, new ones come along every week. Check the Web sites of central reservations numbers for late-breaking deals; Ski Utah, (888) 957-8824,, is the best overall source. When you book, always request "ski rates" as well as any discounts you might be entitled to (not just AAA or AARP but also Internet specials).

One strategy is to use the inexpensive motels and midrange lodgings of Salt Lake City as a base and drive to one of about a dozen resorts less than an hour away. Properties with rack rates as low as $45 include the Ramada Inn Downtown, (801) 364-5200; the Salt Lake City Travelodge, (801) 531-7100; and the Super 8, (801) 534-0808. A typical $20.02 deal: Holiday Inn Downtown, (801) 359-8600, offers $89 doubles with two ski-lift discount coupons and $109 quads with four coupons. (Blackout dates for this deal are Dec. 26 to Jan. 4 and the month of February.) Get more from the Salt Lake City Convention and Visitors Bureau at (877) 752-4386 or

The closest of the resorts within driving distance of Salt Lake City are the Cottonwoods (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude), which can even be reached on UTA buses for $3.50 round trip.

From Jan. 6 to Feb. 6 and March 1 to 27, Park City, a 45-minute drive from the capital, is offering Early Week Ski Promotions starting at $99 per person, (800) 453-1360,; Sundays through Wednesdays, save up to 30% on packages that include lodging and lift tickets at all three local resorts (Park City, Deer Valley and the Canyons). At Deer Valley, book a minimum of three nights before Dec. 21, and one-bedroom condos will cost $100 weeknights, $150 weekends. Park City Mountain resort has early-season one-bedroom condos at the Gables for $100, and its $60 lift tickets are reduced to $40 if you buy multi-day tickets ahead of time. (Kids and seniors ski for about half price.)

Ogden, a historic railroad town 35 miles north of Salt Lake, has impressive Snowbasin lift tickets ($44, kids discounted) and even bigger, less-crowded Powder Mountain (lift tickets $37, $20 kids) nearby. Snowbasin doesn't have lodging, and Powder's slope-side budget lodgings are limited, so your best bet is to stay in engaging Ogden, where the "ski rate" at the Best Rest Inn, (801) 393-8644, is $39.95 for a double room. The Ogden visitors bureau can provide more information at (801) 627-8288 or

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