ski lift and car rental

Dec 11th, 2009, 07:01 AM
  #1  
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ski lift and car rental

Hello,

My family of four (husband, self, 22 and 18 year old daughters) will be flying into Denver on January 2, and looking to rent a car. The prices that I have found are pretty high. I'm told we would need to rent an SUV to get through the switchbacks, is that correct? Does anyone have a suggestion for a rental company that doesn't charge such high rates?

Also, I've been told to buy lift tickets ahead of time to avoid the long lines on the slopes. Where can I get them at the best price? We will probably be looking to ski 3 or 4 days while there.

This is our first time skiing in Colordao and though we are not beginners, we are not experts either. Any suggestions for the best runs on the mountain for first timers? Also, good restauraunts, night life, and nearby attractions for off skiing days?

We are staying in a condo close to the Golden Peak chair lift if that helps.

Thanks for any and all of your ideas and suggestions.
Patti
Wato is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 07:22 AM
  #2  
 
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I will assume that you are talking about Vail in regard to staying near Golden Peak chair lift. It would help if you would verify this.

There are no switchbacks on I 70, but road conditions can vary according to the weather. You do not need a SUV simply because of the roads.

I'll let others comment on rentals since I live in Denver and have never had to rent a car. I believe that cheaper deals are available from agencies other than at the airport.
historytraveler is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 07:35 AM
  #3  
 
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I agree with historytraveler. You may not be listening to the right people since most of your info is a little off. The only reason to buy tickets early in the Denver area is for discounts but I am not aware of any discount tickets for Vail in the Denver area.. The Summit Cty ski area offer discounted tickets through sports shops and King Soopers. I think you can buy lift tickets on line. BUT the line to buy ticket is short at that time of year. And you can always buy tickets for the next day the previous days. The only switchbacks you will find are on US 40 going to Winter Park.

Where are you coming from? For the most part the need for 4WD is vastly over stated most of the time. It is is bad enough for you to truly need 4WD then you mostly likely should not be on the road. A standard front wheel vehicle will be fine for to and from Vail.
fmpden is online now  
Dec 11th, 2009, 08:17 AM
  #4  
 
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A SUV often has a larger interior which is handy for the additional luggage and space you may need in winter driving.

I'd rent the SUV.
Placename is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 08:23 AM
  #5  
 
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history and fmp offer sound suggestions, all I will add is that you dont really need a car in Vail. We take a bus there and often stay at a simple place, all we require is an easy walking distance and a hot sauna.
BTW: You will LOVE Vail. Its the BEST quality ski resort area in the world
FrankS is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 11:19 AM
  #6  
 
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We've had pretty good luck renting cars from Priceline. We've skied in Colorado about 20 times and have never needed an SUV.
We prefer to have a car to get to the grocery store and so we can get to/from the airport on our schedule.

I'd suggest getting a grooming map the day before you get there and each morning at the base of the hill--you may find that the groomed blue runs are less intimidating to you. If you feel like you've conquered those, you can progress to blacks and ungroomed blues.
abram is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 11:34 AM
  #7  
 
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Posts above have great advice. You might just want the SUV for luggage reasons and if it does snow it will be a bonus to have the SUV. We've used priceline several times and usually can get a much better price than booking directly.

I'd check into the Vail resorts website for tickets. Multiday tickets offer a slight discount and then you just have to purchase tickets once or online. You could stop at King Soopers on the way up the mountain but I don't know if the savings is worth the stop.
jd_denver is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 12:21 PM
  #8  
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Thank you to all for your fast responses. I might now just look into renting a front wheel drive and see if that brings the price down. We are staying in Vail (sorry I didn't include that originally) but the person telling us about switchbacks always goes to Winter Park so it sounds like switchbacks won't be a problem. We fly into Denver from Chicago but we would like to have a car for grocery stores as abram said, and any side trips we might want to take.

As far as tickets, I'll priceline for the car and I have since heard Peaks Program is a good place to look for tickets.

Thanks to all for you help,
Patti
Wato is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 01:35 PM
  #9  
 
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Make sure that you have free or cheap parking at your condo as parking in Vail is extremely limited and can be v. expensive.

As fmpden said, don't worry about lines to buy your tickets. Vail is well-prepared to take your money

You really don't need to look outside of Vail for activities as the area will have more than enough to entertain you and your family.
historytraveler is offline  
Dec 11th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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What is Peaks Program? I live here. Skiing Vail on Sunday and I have never heard of it. There is a Peaks Program associated with the season pass but you have to have the season past first.
fmpden is online now  
Dec 11th, 2009, 06:24 PM
  #11  
 
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You'll save a ton by renting a car off airport. Some agencies will even come pick you up from an off airport location and allow you to return the car to the airport upon departure for no extra charge. I've done this in Denver - I paid about 1/2 of what the same rental company wanted for an on airport rental of the same class of car. (I think it was Budget). We took a shuttle to a nearby hotel, the rental agency collected us at the hotel and took us to their rental depot to do the paperwork, then we returned the car to the airport when we left. We had to pay for the shuttle, but we still saved a bunch.
Melnq8 is online now  
Dec 15th, 2009, 05:12 PM
  #12  
 
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Off airport car rental can indeed save you lots of money. In addition, I agree, if you need 4 wd, you shouldn't be on the road. Not at all necessary. (The most important thing to remember is sunscreen!)
bumpmaster is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 06:04 PM
  #13  
 
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You may have waited too long for a good price for rental, but you don't really need a SUV, as others have said.
Look on Hotwire, get the data, and then bid on Priceline. I have rented often in Denver, and if you MUST, go off site to rent to save, but it is circuitous. And think about returning the vehicle and time.
Gretchen is online now  
Dec 15th, 2009, 06:22 PM
  #14  
 
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You don't need a car in Vail. Take Colorado Mountain Express there and back. There are shops in the village where you can pick up some nick nacks. There is no parking and you can walk everywhere.
Skiergirl is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 07:19 PM
  #15  
 
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I am sorry Skiergirl but it would be much cheaper to rent a car than for a family of four to use CME. Maybe you missed the family of four by not reading the original post. Point to point would be over $700 and to the Vail transportation center nearly $500. Bad recommendation.
fmpden is online now  
Dec 17th, 2009, 05:03 PM
  #16  
 
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Well, excuse me fmpden! What a jerk.

I did read the original posting. When I put the dates and needs of car into a search engine it would have cost at least $500+. Plus I've been to Vail a million times and there is barely any parking so having a car is a huge hassle. So excuse me for trying. You live there and you don't even know about the Peaks program. Whatever.

Have fun in Vail, OP-it's a great place.
Skiergirl is offline  
Dec 17th, 2009, 05:05 PM
  #17  
 
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Oh, and here's a coupon for CME if you choose to go that route:
http://www.skicoupons.com/coupon.cfm/r/9/g/1/c/1045
Skiergirl is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2009, 06:33 AM
  #18  
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Hi everyone,

Thank you once again for all of your advice. My husband found a cheap car rental through a travel agent - Only $260 for a midsize for the entire time. Pretty good deal!

As for parking, we are renting a private condo and the owner has sent us a parking permit, so it will not be a problem.

Sunscreen - check! Hadn't thought of that.

Is there any place to snowmobile in the area? We plan on going to the hotsprings on one of the off days. Other than that, I'm content to just hang around Vail and come what may! Oh and can anyone recommend good restaurants?

Thanks again,
Patti
Wato is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2009, 07:55 AM
  #19  
 
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The mountain shuttles have really gotten expensive. Many years ago they were reasonable for a family (we were 5--going to VAil).Terrible now. AND even in Vail, not having to shop at the Village shops, and being able to go away to the larger supermarkets is worthwhile.
Gretchen is online now  
Dec 22nd, 2009, 08:15 AM
  #20  
 
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Our local skiclub plans 3 to 4 ski trips a year, and the Colorado one always has a chartered bus from the airport. I also understand there is a student ski club that takes a bus the whole way...eegad

Anyways, people can always just their local ski clubs if they want to reduce the costs of these kind of trips
FrankS is offline  

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