My friend Mike likes to make fun of me for buying so many Groupons. He says they make me buy things that I wouldn’t normally buy because I think they’re a good deal, therefore costing me money I wouldn’t spend. Sometimes he’s right. But more often I feel that my Groupon obsession leads me to buying things that I would normally do anyway, simply leading me to new places that I may not have known about or wanted to try until I saw the deal. I frequently find this about restaurants. I know Jonathan and I are going to want to eat out anyway, so I figure if I get some Groupons to places that look fun and interesting to me, we might be more willing to use our stockpile to adventure a bit more when we get the itch to go out for a dinner date.
This weekend a Groupon purchase really worked out for us. A few months ago I saw a Groupon for Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, and knowing that Jonathan and I would want to go skiing a few times this year in our new Colorado home, thought it would be a good investment. This little weekend trip also doubled as an anniversary present for each other (even though Jonathan didn’t follow the rules and decided to get me another present as well, in which case I looked like a shmuck by sticking to the plan, but that’s beside the point haha).
Groupon started our ‘cheap’ weekend off right by scoring us a sweet room with a killer view of the mountain directly next to our resort and a rocky stream outside. I say cheap in quotes because spending the weekend in a ski town can’t ever be cheap cheap, but you can do your best to make it more affordable than usual.
Our resort had a private ski lift that was included with our stay, which saved us about $200 in lift passes (normally $100 each per day, but we skied for free our first day). The resort lift took us to a limited amount of runs, but it was perfect for the first half day we were in Vail. The second day of our stay, we shelled out for the day passes for unlimited lifts so we could see a bit more of the mountains.
Another great thing to consider when you’re looking to go on a ski vacation is doing it during what locals and pros consider the ‘off season.’ It is already December, but not that much ‘powder’ has fallen yet, so the people who really know what they’re doing might consider the best part of ski season approaching over the next couple of months. We really lucked out and still had 9 inches of powder while we were in Vail this weekend, but even without it there was enough snow to ski some awesome runs and get our money’s worth. The point is that during this ‘off season,’ a lot of nice restaurants have deals to attract more business. We were able to have an amazing French/American dinner at La Tour including half price entrees (normally ranging from $20-44, luxurious steak and fish dishes were more reasonably priced at $10-22). Our dinner was delicious, the staff was friendly, and the atmosphere was very appropriate for a ski town like Vail.
The approach of Christmas doesn’t have to force you to shy away from taking a getaway. Just do it savvy-style and explore your money saving options before you plan your adventure!