The Best Way To Enjoy Your Ski Time.

Choose a small chalet…

While some snowsports enthusiasts are fortunate enough to live and work in ski country, most skiers and riders have to commute from their homes, often two, three or more hours from their favorite mountain. For the frequent skier—those who want to spend every weekend, plus vacation weeks on the slopes—their commute can become very tiresome.

This can be especially true for families with young kids. Parents, and grandparents, have to get the kids organized every morning to get in the car at an early hour so as to be at the slopes for the start of the day. If the kids are in some kind of racing program or weekend recreational class, hitting the road in a timely fashion becomes even more important. “Did you remember your gloves, goggles, hat”, even “your boots”, is sometimes heard as the car heads out the driveway.

…or a luxury, slope side condo. It all depends…
Credit: Steamboat Springs

Many families opt out of this weekly hassle by renting a house or condo near their favorite resort or perhaps in close proximity to several areas so they have a choice throughout the season. Ski gear and clothing can be left there, they can drive up on Friday evening, relax and be ready to go on Saturday morning without the stress of an early morning drive, and return after a day on the slopes for a relaxing evening.

What should you look for when renting a property in ski country?

Well, that depends a bit on your lifestyle and the resort where you want to spend your time. If very young grandchildren children are part of the mix, you might want to find something slope side or very close to the mountain so one family member can take a child home when he tires out. A ski in, ski out unit is best for this, but even a house or condo a mile or two from the area will let someone be delivered home easily without disrupting the entire family’s day.

Another thing to consider is what you like to do in the evening. If you’re content to return to your rental after the lifts close, have dinner in, watch tv or movies or play games, then you might look for something out of town in a quiet, country setting. But if you want entertainment, like to eat dinner out frequently, sample the nightlife, then perhaps a house in a town or around the base area (depending on the resort you choose) is a better option.

As far as the actual property goes, you need to again examine your lifestyle as well as your budget. How many bedrooms do you need? Will you or your children or grand children be bringing guests? Is one living space, whether large or cozy, where you can all be together preferable? Or would separate spaces for relaxation work better for the family? Do you prefer something upscale, in a condo community with amenities such as a spa, swimming pool, workout equipment? Or will a simple house work fine for your group?

Budget is an obvious important consideration. If you rent a single family house, in addition to the rent, you will likely be responsible for paying utilities including cable and wifi as well as plowing costs. Be sure to ask about the type of heat the house has and how efficient it is. Fuel costs over the course of a winter can sometimes come as a big, surprising shock, and you want to be prepared.

When searching for a seasonal rental property, it is a wise idea to use a real estate rental agent. These folks know the properties and, by asking a few questions, can often direct you to something you might not find on your own. They will have a handle on expenses for the winter, condition of the property and lots of tips on location relative to the mountain and other activities that may be of interest to you. There are plenty of ways to book lodging on line, but if you go this route be sure to use reputable web sites and ask a lot of questions.

Another option is purchasing a home in ski country, clearly a more complicated process which will be addressed in a future article.

One Comment

  1. R L Dick Brooks says:

    I have owned a second home in Durango/Purgatory,ski area for 18 years.
    I,Initially Had 1 BR condo. After a year I moved up to a two bedroom. Management went sour and I, bought a town home at another location in Durango With a condo management format. After 5 years again management changed and I was dissatisfied. I sold the town house and moved 15 miles down the mountain close to down town Durango. My various homes were at 8,800 ft. And the current one is 6,500 ft. I’m close to town allowing east trips to the grocery, restaurants and the lower altitude works well for some members of my family.
    The advantages are building equity in the house, a place for all your stuff and renting it out to help in the overall cost.
    The down sides are management problems too numerous to put down, the ongoing expenses.
    I am now 80 and ski buddies are falling by the wayside, our children, who have, at 50+ Years of age, have their own activities and seldom use the place.
    I will have to make a decision one of these days to sell and continue my 40 days of skiing by renting I will probably take more trips with 70+ ski club, which I throughly enjoys.

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