With a weak economy, last season's poor snow and the post-9/11 fallout, the ski industry wants you. This winter, resorts, lodges, airlines and ski-tour specialists are extra hungry, so you can bet that competition in North America for wintertime vacationers will be fierce. Cold-weather destinations are not only competing with one another for travel dollars, they are also in a war against warm-weather locales. Bad for them, good for you. Your biggest problem may be sifting through a pile of tempting packages. We'll help you get started.
We have lots of great deals, but keep in mind that new ones sprout up all the time. To stay on top of them, bookmark appropriate websites and visit them frequently. The last-minute offerings are often the cheapest. Start with skimag.com, where you'll find an additional 40 "Best Bargains" at keyword "bargains." Also, check out deal-oriented sites, such as those found at smarterliving.com and orbitz.com. Visit travel sites, such as expedia.com and travelocity.com. Even aol.com, msn.com and nyt.com have "deals" sections.
In this era of integration, companies are joining forces to create all-inclusive vacation packages—from resorts and airlines to property managers and credit card companies. Last year, for example, Southwest Airlines had terrific packages for families heading to select Utah resorts. To keep abreast of these deals, visit resort and vacation websites, and put yourself on their email lists. Also, read the brochures and pamphlets that come with your credit cards. American Express, for example, has a site geared to travel deals only available to its cardholders (americanexpress.com/mountains).
Click on the related links to view the Best Bargains at your favorite resort.