Ullr Provides welcomes you back to our 4th session of saving some dough. If you missed our first 3 sessions, you might find yourselves without a place to rest your head, get on the slope, or down the slope!…..sort of important if you ask us. If you were successful in the getting the deals lined up, you’re in a great spot to take your vacation from basic to epic! Whoop Whoop! So let’s get started with the first step into the fun part of any ski trip… the Aprés Ski.
Most restaurants (that are not slopeside) are empty between about 2pm and 6pm, slammed between 6pm and 10pm, and then die off considerably after 10pm. The exception might be the late night party bar, but we will get to those later. These places will put various happy hour offerings (either early or late night) out to the “inside/local crowd.” This is to make sure the place feels hip and fun by the time the rest of the tourists get there after returning their rental gear, finishing their $10 beers slopeside, and warming up/drying they’re a cotton base layers 😉 (more on that in an upcoming post!). So unless you want to partake in the spectacle of gapers coming down the final run of the day… there is value getting down off the hill and ahead of the rush. If you followed previous posts about getting a season rental and our upcoming dress warm series, you’d have a 30 – 60min head start on your evening! Your preparation will be rewarded with great drink specials and reduced appetizer rates. We often get a drink and satisfying appetizer for about the same price as slopeside beers.
The key here is knowing where to go. The best advise we have is to chat people up, especially a ski bum, ski school instructor, or the ski patrol that will undoubtedly know the town and the cheap eats. Throughout the day my wife and I try to take lifts with others by either pairing up on the four pack or riding the singles line. The 5-10 min ride on separate chairs is worth it…. plus I sit next to her all the time! Haha!
Another great resource is your Airbnb, Vrbo, or hostel hosts….. so be sure to ask them as well. Some restaurants have special local deals that can be extended to you based on your host. We pay attention to pictures online and captions… it can be that subtle. (Hint hint!) Bottom line, this shared information is probably the most valuable information you can have on navigating the often extortionist cost in the resort towns.
Don’t be surprised if the restaurant only allows for the discount in the bar area. Don’t make the mistake we have and expect the same discount in the dining space only to be charged full price. If you find yourself sitting alone in the dining room, you are in the wrong location! A bar experience may not be ideal for you if you have children…. don’t be afraid to explain the situation to the host and see if they can accommodate you sitting in the dining, but going to the bar for service. It has worked for friends of ours on on a 50/50 basis. It really depends on how nice you ask and promising to take care of service.
If you don’t feel like dealing with a bar scene straight away, another excellent option is to head over to the local recreation center and grab a quick workout or dip in their pool. Many of the communities that have ski areas have quite lovely centers primarily due to the tax revenues from lift tickets sales… so technically you have already paid for some of your admission.
You’ll be amazed by the quality of the equipment and pool setups these places have. The best-equipped locations even have lazy rivers and waterslides which are perfect for the little ones in your life. We have found the non-resident fees are quite nominal, most under $15 for an adult. Just be sure you check the hours of operations. Some of these close early on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so they’re not overrun by crowds.
If you find yourself at a smaller mountain where a formal recreation center is not available, take a moment to search for nearby hot springs. Both Colorado and Utah have a large number of natural hot springs to soak your aches and pains away. A little heads up though…….natural hot springs and even some commercialized establishments can be clothing optional so be sure to understand that if you’re not into “el natural” situations. It’s not always clear that nudity is permitted, but if a place says no one under 18 after a particular time… that’s a good indication.
Whether you chose to relax after a hard day skiing at a local pub or recreation center, you’ll be ready to ease into the rest of your evening knowing you haven’t dropped a fortune slope side. Keep in mind these recommendations are meant to help you get the most from your budget, so you have some left for that memorable splurge! There are dining and after hour entertainment options that will take your vacation from just a ski trip to an everlasting memory. We’ll get to those in our next session.
In the meantime………pray for snow and celebrate when Ullr Provides!
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