Here's everything you need to know about going in on a ski lease.

By Stacey Leasca
September 27, 2020
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Ski season may be on, but things will undoubtedly be a little different on the slopes. The mountains under both the Epic and Ikon passes will have their own sets of rules, including reservation systems and new social distancing guidelines. That means making the most of a skiing day trip may be a thing of the past. And that’s precisely why you should consider an extended say with a ski lease this year. Here’s everything you need to know about extending your ski holiday into a home away from home in the 2020/21 season.

What is a ski lease?

Think of a ski lease exactly the same way you’d think of a summer home. It’s a house you rent for the entire season, typically for three to four months either from December to March or January through April. Renters can either stay for the entire season, or just like you would a summer home, head out for extended weeks or long weekends to enjoy the mountains.

Why is this the year to go for an extended stay?

This year, both the mountains under the Epic Pass as well as the Ikon Pass have announced changes to the way people can visit the slopes. For example, the mountains under the Epic Pass will require guests to make a reservation ahead of time before getting to ski or snowboard. Once on the mountain, there will be strict social distancing guidelines to follow. That includes only traveling on chairlifts with people in your party or waiting for an empty spot. The mountains under the Ikon pass will not require reservations, but will have their own set of social distancing guidelines.

All this to say, taking a quick day trip to hit the mountain may be a bit more difficult if you’re traveling a greater distance. But, if you have a ski lease you could pop over on your lunch break for a few runs. Or you could head over in the morning, evening, or whenever you choose with ease.

Where can you get a ski lease?

Mountains all around the U.S. offer extended stay options, though those frugally minded may want to consider Colorado mountains or those in Utah. According to Dan Sherman, Chief Marketing Officer of Ski.com, “Stays longer than 29 nights in Colorado and Utah are tax exempt.”

He suggests looking on their site in Aspen/Snowmass as a first option. “Ski.com features a variety of properties in the inclusive Snowmass Village that offer either 14+-day or 30+-day rates. In addition to those rates, travelers looking for an extended-stay ski package will be delighted by the luxury, longer stay rates we have negotiated at the Viceroy Snowmass.”

Sherman adds, Ski.com has other options in the state, including Beaver Creek, Colorado with the Ridgepoint Townhomes and Kiva Residences. And in Utah, Sherman says to check out both Park City and nearby Deer Valley for extended luxury stays.

In California, there’s no place quiet as popular for the ski lease than Tahoe. The area is brimming with rental companies ready to offer simply adorable winter homes all over the lakeside and near the mountains as well. But be warned: It’s a true all-seasons town, so once you go, you may never want to leave.

What should you consider before signing on with friends and family members?

“I recommend those hoping to rent a house with friends take a night to sit down on a Zoom call to figure out work schedules, work locations, and logistics related to their group’s workflows in advance,” Sherman wisely suggests. “If they have kids, make sure there is a place for them to focus on their remote lessons. If someone is on the phone all day for work, make sure there is a private place where they can speak freely without disturbing others.” Sherman adds, this could mean looking for available on-property common areas, paying for extra square footage, or just coordinating the use of a nearby business center or co-working space.

Where else can I find a ski lease?

Beyond checking out places like Ski.com and local rental companies, there’s one more big place to try: Airbnb. The home sharing company has thousands of listings across the nation that offer month-long or longer stays. Places like Park City offer everything from cute two-bed, two-bath condos near the slopes, to expansive chalet-style homes ideal for bigger groups. Across the country in Stowe, Vermont, would-be seasoners can find the same scale of options, including this stunning three-bedroom retreat in the heart of town, to a perfect ski in/ski out condo on the mountain.

Is the skiing really going to be worth it this year?

That depends on your commitment to shredding the gnar this winter. If you’re a purist, it doesn’t matter if the snow is ok, good, or epic — you’ll still go and likely already have the Epic or Ikon pass in hand. However, if you need any more convincing, as Sherman points out, the 2020-2021 NOAA Long Range Forecast is “calling for a mostly average winter across the Western United States and slightly above average snowfall for New England.” So, again, if you like to ski or ride, use this as your excuse to just get the extended ski lease.