If you read this blog, you should know that I am an avid skier. It is a fantastic activity and enjoy it even more now that my small children can enjoy it with me.
For those of you that have been skiing, you know that the accommodations during the ski months are astronomically expensive. Most locations have a fairly short season so to make their money for the year, they increase room rates appropriately. For nice accommodations, it is not unheard of to spend over $500 per night for a basic hotel room!
Upcoming Ski Season
For this upcoming season, I currently have three weeks booked in Park City, Utah. All three are booked using timeshares. One of the best uses of timeshares can simply be to use them for ski weeks.
The reason why it is great to use timeshares for ski weeks is because the out of pocket costs for a ski week can be prohibitively expensive. Doing a quick couple of random searches for a ski week this winter in Park City, Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge all brought up rates ranging from $300-$700 per night.
Therefore, a week rental in a hotel room will easily cost $2,100-$5,000, not even factoring in the ridiculous resort fees that all nice accommodations now require despite not providing any real value.
A lot of the timeshare deals and strategies that I discuss on this blog may require a couple of hoops to jump through in order to maximize timeshare ownership. If you want to maximize ownership, you generally need to do some things which are not as easy as just booking a hotel room with cash or being flexible with your plans.
Many times, people do not have the time, energy or patience to learn these techniques. I can understand this which is why using a timeshare for ski travel can be a simple strategy and a huge economic win.
Since hotel accommodations are so expensive during ski season, if you can exchange your timeshare for a ski week, it not only will make tremendous economic sense but it could be the difference between actually taking a ski vacation or not.
Spending $2000-$5000 on hotel accommodations plus car rentals, ski rentals, food, lift tickets, etc. can easily surpass $10,000 for a week vacation. While I love skiing, I simply will never spend that type of money for a week vacation
Exchanging into Ski Weeks
Luckily, timeshares are quite abundant in ski destinations. Many people who have been accustomed to spending $10,000 per week tend to jump at the chance at purchasing week and "locking-in" their cost for the next 10+ years. Instead of paying $10,000 each year, they pay a one time fee and probably around $1,500 per year as maintenance fees per week.
Depending on your spending history, it may make sense to buy a ski week. However, if you are flexible, I find that the best way to get ski weeks is through exchanging a timeshare with low maintenance fees.
Since there are tons of high quality timeshares in ski destinations around the world, if you plan far enough ahead, you can likely grab very high quality resorts for a fraction of the retail cost for a week.
Destinations with Timeshares
Here are a few destinations that have plenty of high quality, luxurious timeshares (Hyatt's, Marriott's, Westgate's, Wyndham's, and others):
Park City, Utah
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Lake Tahoe, California
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
If you are the type of person who simply does not have the time, energy or patience in trying to maximize timeshare ownership, a simply strategy can be to own a timeshare in any part of the world and use it to exchange into ski destinations.
Even if you own a timeshare and the maintenance fees cost you about $1,500 per year, exchanging your one week for one week in a ski destination during ski season can easily make financial sense and save you money versus paying cash for a hotel room during ski season.
For example, I have already booked a ski week at the Marriott Summit Watch hotel in Park City for December 15-22, 2017. If I was paying cash, it would cost me $3,112.80 for these seven nights.
Astronomical if you ask me. Instead, I exchanged a portion of my Hyatt points and exchanged into this exact week for a fraction of the cost.
Here is my out of pocket breakdown:
I pay about $1250 for 2,000 Hyatt points. I used 430 Hyatt points for this week stay. Therefore, it cost me about $270 in Hyatt points plus another $189 for the exchange fee for Interval International.
My total out of pocket cost is $459 for the week instead of over $3,000 - a savings of over 85%. AWESOME!
Using Hotel Points
Another great strategy for ski hotels is through hotel loyalty points. Hotel loyalty points can be a great way to get outsize value out of your points.
The difficulty in using them for ski destinations is availability. A lot of programs may block out certain dates so you need to plan ahead. The second issue is that even if you can get a hotel room, you will not likely be able to use your points to get suites, 1 or 2 bedroom units or larger accommodations.
Even if they are available, the amount of points for anything larger than a hotel room is generally cost/point prohibitive.
Ski trips are ridiculous expensive and the price of accommodations alone may prevent you from taking these types of trips. Fortunately, high quality, luxurious timeshare accommodations are abundant in many top notch ski destinations.
Simply exchanging your timeshare for a ski week can make tremendous financial sense and allow you to take one or more ski trips that normally would simply be too expensive otherwise.
I find that using my timeshare solely for ski trips makes tremendous financial sense and find that it is one of the easiest and best use of timeshares. I simply wouldn't be able to visit some of these spectacular ski destinations without the use of timeshares.
What do you think? What trips to you have planned for this ski season? Do you have a favorite ski destination timeshare? Make sure to comment below!