It’s that time of year again. As Halloween passes and Thanksgiving approaches, the thoughts of skiers and snowboarders start turning to powder and moguls and slaloms and such. The best deals, as some are aware, come in the post-holiday slump in January and early February. Here are several budget-friendly suggestions for Southern California skiers.
The West: From December through mid-April, Southwest Airlines Vacations, telephone (800) 754-8365, Internet https://www.swavacations.com, is offering free ski or snowboard lessons to purchasers of its two-night (weeknights only) New Mexico ski package. The price, $274 per person, includes air from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, with mid-size rental car and lift tickets at a choice of five ski resorts between Albuquerque and Taos.
Or get a second-day lift ticket free just for booking any Southwest air-hotel package to New Mexico, Lake Tahoe or Sun Valley by Jan. 31.
Finally, kids 2 through 11 can fly, stay and ski free with your purchase of two-night (or longer) ski packages to Utah. Packages--again, weekends excluded--begin at $293, one child per adult, from Los Angeles, at a range of resorts, from Alta to Park City.
Austria: Kitzbuhel, Austria’s candidate for the 2006 Winter Olympics, costs just $838 for a week, with air fare from L.A. Respected tour operator DER, tel. (800) 782-2424, Internet https:// www.dertravel.com, is offering this world-class ski experience on departures Jan. 8 through Feb. 6, then again from March 11 to 26 (mid-February though early March sees a $30 price rise). The price includes local transfers from Munich, Germany; room and breakfast at the Alpine-chalet-style Pension Horl, and hotel taxes.
DER also has good Eurodeals to places like Innsbruck, Switzerland’s Grindelwald and other Alpine hot spots.
Italian Alps: Spend a week skiing in the spectacular Valle d’Aosta for as little as $876, including round-trip air fare, hotel (Chalet des Alpes in the town of Pila), some meals and lift tickets. This package is available Jan. 8 to 16 from Italian-owned TourCrafters, tel. (800) 621-2259, Internet https://www.tourcrafters.com.
The price goes up by $90 to $140 in February, then drops to just $830 from March 18 through April 9, when snow conditions are still fine in the towering Alps.
Poland: Like the Czech Republic and other countries once locked behind the Iron Curtain, Poland has some relatively unknown but good-quality skiing. Through March 31, a six-night package from Affordable Poland, tel. (800) 801- 1055, Internet https://www.affordablepoland.com, lets you soak up the atmosphere of Krakow, the country’s best-preserved ancient city, for $835 per person, round trip from Los Angeles. This includes double-occupancy room and breakfast in Krakow. For $19 per person per night extra, Affordable Poland will put you up for one or more nights in the ski resort of Zakopane, in the Tatra Mountains. The agency can also arrange for train fare to Zakopane and ski lift tickets, but advises you’ll do better buying these in Polish currency after you arrive.