Want to save on your 2012 ski trip? Now’s the time to book your hotels. After Thanksgiving, rates can skyrocket, especially for experiences in some of the country’s best ski destinations, including Vail and Squaw Valley. “Consider Colorado, which had an awesome ski season last year thanks to La Niña.” A-List travel agent Michelle Bemis agrees that travelers should book now, “Airfares will definitely increase as the holiday season approaches,” she says. Get ready: Winter’s just around the corner.
PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn – up to 30% off
Olympic Valley (Lake Tahoe), California
At PlumpJack, a 56-room hotel at the base of Squaw Valley, there's no request too large for the enthusiastic staff, who perk up to help you find the best ski trail, choose the right Californian wine, or carry your bags up the stairs. But the hotel's history is what sets it apart: The inn was built for the 1960 Winter Olympics, and after a recent renovation, the property is refreshed; it now offers three new suites, flat-screen TVs, and wireless internet. You didn't come to this area just north of Lake Tahoe to sit in your room, however. The hotel is located a few steps from the resort's gondolas, which whisk you to the slopes in winter and biking trails in summer. There's also seasonal outdoor pool and sundeck, year-round hot tubs, and an on-site café that serves dishes such as roasted California quail and maple-cured Berkshire pork loin. (Sale ends in 4 days.)
Sonnenalp Resort of Vail – up to 35% off (see photo above)
When you meant to book St. Anton's Hotel Post but couldn't find the time to head across the pond for a ski vacation, the Sonnenalp in Vail is a close second. With its hatched wood beams, cutout shutters, and wooden flower boxes at almost every windowsill, this 127-room lodge is a model in Bavarian style that actually feels authentic. Most of the rooms and suites have fireplaces and heated floors in the marble bathrooms, and many have views of the mountain and Gore Creek. The Euro-style spa—with a kiva fireplace lounge at its center—attracts the occasional Euro-style spa-goer, to whom towels are a mere accessory rather than a necessity. But then, that—and the lederhosen-wearing staff—is what lends the place its Old World feel. (Sale ends in 4 days.)
Vail Cascade Resort & Spa – up to 24% off
A $30 million renovation in 2008 upped the ante at Vail Cascade, where a new deck looks onto an infinity pool, outdoor fire pits are surrounded by rocking chairs, and all public spaces boast views of the mountain and Gore Creek. Large refreshed rooms are filled with natural light and accented by wood furnishings and earth-tone fabrics. The ultimate bonus: most rooms have patios and balconies, and each has a fireplace and heated stone bathroom floors. As for other activities, there are snow cones by the pool, alfresco candlelit dinners, and pampering treatments such as high-altitude hydrating massages at the Aria spa. (Sale ends in 4 days.)
From top: Photos courtesy of Sonnenalp Resort of Vail; Plumpjack Squaw Valley Inn; Vail Cascade Resort & SPa.