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user 5463862
Annapolis, MD
Post #: 2
Please compare Jackson hole vs. Utah. I have a limited budget for my family and Jackson seems more affordable. We have not been west coast skiers due to cost. Is Utah worth the added expense?
Wayne H.
Group Organizer
Elkridge, MD
Post #: 20
Utah shouldn't necessarily be a higher cost than Jackson Hole. In fact it should be cheaper, but... Trips through clubs are organized differently than you might organize for your family alone.

Clubs work with Tour Operators (as opposed to Travel Agents or doing the work themselves). The Tour Operator should be able to get a balanced airfare (this means that they get some of the cheapest, a few of the cheap, a few of the reasonable and a few of the regular priced - they then average out the price and offer that to the club). This means that if you shop the internet - often - you could get 4 or 5 seats below what a club can offer. The next step is lodging. Since a TO is buying 10 to 20 rooms a t a time, the get excellent rates. But, if you can wait it out, you can get last minute discounted rates that might beat the TOs discounted price. Then there are lift tickets. In some areas, you can get discounted lift tickets from local shops or local newspapers but it is rare to beat the discount that the TO gets.

Now you need a trip leader - someone to collect money on a monthly basis, organize the trip, dot the I's cross the T's and sheppard the group around. This isn't without a cost (at least with most clubs). The Trip Leader normally goes for free but is responsible for everything before and during the trip (as well as the finacials after). Their trip is usually paid for by "comps" (compensations). Such as - for every 40 paid the trip leader gets a room comp, a lift ticket comp and an air comp (sometimes a food comp). Seems like a great deal until you have had to work selling a trip for 6 months and then dealing with 40 different personalities - it's not for the faint of heart or the hot blooded.

So, back to the topic. If the Tour Operator and the Trip Leader have done their job right, flights into SLC should be substantially less than flights into JAC. I just did a recent check for my Utah Trip (March 14-21) vs Jackson Hole, the JAC flight comes out to $495 (incl taxes), SLC for the same timeframe is $365 (incl taxes). Lodging prices will differ depending on type of lodging (hotel vs condo, location to the slopes and quality of the accommodations. Staying in Jackson Hole (20 minute bus ride to and from the slopes) vs staying on the mountain in condos is a less expensive way to go, but you can do the same with Utah by staying in Salt Lake City and driving or bussing to the ski areas each day. My trip is staying in the 4 star Cliff Lodge - Ski-in Ski-out, rooftop pool, inside shopping mall, etc.
Then there are the amenities that the Trip Leader has decided to include (if any) such as weekday mixers for the group, dining out, welcome party, pre-trip party, post-trip party, etc. These add to the cost of the trip but it brings the group closer together and creates new skiing buddies as well as some long lasting friendships.

I love Jackson Hole, it is 3rd on my top 10 list (follows Big Sky Mt, and Lake Tahoe - Utah follows Jackson Hole). It ranks above Utah because I have skied for 28 years and Jackson offers incredible Black Diamond Skiing (Although Snowbird is no slouch in that arena either). My trip to Snowbird is $1595 per person, including SIX days of lift tickets and staying at the 4 Star Ski-in/Ski-Out, Cliff Lodge. There is a BIG discount for kids under 12 staying with parents in the same room (I believe the cost is around $900 per child). The rooms have 2 queen sized beds. We have several parties planned as well as a dining out during the trip.

When you shop the various trips, make sure what you are getting for the price that you are paying. If you need to go cheap, you may be inconvenienced but you could save a substantial amount. If you want to enjoy your vacation to the fullest, it will probably cost you a bit more…

Just one more note… Many clubs must release unsold space on their trips 90 to 120 days out. If you want to travel in February, you may have missed the boat. My March 14th trip must release space by December 13th to avoid Airline and Lodging penalties. Keep that in mind if you are considering traveling with a club.

As always, I am willing to offer suggestions and comments on your trip decisions. As President of the Blue Ridge Ski Council, I am familiar with all of our 18 member clubs (as well as a few clubs from neighboring councils). You can write to me directly at
Best wishes for a fantastic ski season,

Wayne Homens

Blue Ridge Ski Council
Information about Member Clubs Trips visit:
user 5463862
Annapolis, MD
Post #: 3
Thanks for answering my questions Wayne. I appreciate the considerable time and effort you put into your answer and in organizing ski trips. At this time with 2 kids in college not only budget but time frame is a major issue. We ended up booking our own trip to Jackson hole. I would love to go with a club in the future by myself or with a girlfriend but it is cost prohibitive for me this year to take my college age kids on one of the club trips. I do see the value in the club trip but PO is PO.
Again thanks for getting back to me and have a ball skiing.
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