There's plenty to love about Long Island, but proximity to quality ski mountains is not one of its perks. Skiers either go through the city or take the ferry, and that adds up to many hours in which you'd love to be tackling a circle, square, or diamond, whichever is more your speed.
Ski-and-stay packages are a major part of ski resorts' revenue. Their sustainability is reliant upon people's willingness to travel, even if it's just for a day. However, when you commit to a weekend of skiing, they'll often roll out the red carpet for you to stay there, too.
First and foremost, the key with package deals is to book early; prices don't always last. Many mountains offer anywhere from 10 to 30 percent off packages if booked by a certain date.
Not only can skiers pad their wallets by pairing up, they can also save on their children's ski tickets. No matter the day, Killington allows kids 6 and under to ski free, but if one books a package of at least five days, one child 12-and-under skis on the house. Killington's Five-Day Ski Week allows skiers to enjoy the ski and stay for as little as $76 per day when booking a package of five days or longer. To boot, half-day passes are free on Sunday afternoons.
If you stay for the weekend, you're apt to find deals on the other side, too. Many mountains offer two-for-one Mondays, and Waterville Valley in New Hampshire has Play Hard Pats Tuesdays. Every Tuesday after a New England Patriots game, a lift ticket cost is equal to how many points the Pats' opponent scored that weekend. If they win 30-3, tickets are only three bucks.
But maybe you're not in it for the long haul. Another one of Vermont's treasures, Stratton, has a deal for college students in which, for $49 per person (based on 4 occupants), you can ski and stay the night at the mountain's Liftline Lodge. Mountain management there and elsewhere surely understands the budget with which students are operating.
Sunday River in Maine has innumerable options with one benefit that many New England mountains can't offer – night skiing. If your quadriceps are up to the challenge, lodgers can add a night skiing ticket (4 PM - 8 PM) for an additional five bucks.
Looking for another unique opportunity? Try Whiteface in Lake Placid. It's one of only three Olympic facilities in the States (Squaw Valley and Salt Lake City are the others) and the only Olympic site in the northeast. By booking three nights of lodging and three days of skiing you get the fourth day free. In addition, it includes the mountain's Ultimate Winter Passport, in which admission to the Olympic Sports Complex, the Olympic Jumping Complex, and the Lake Placid Museum, as well as ice skating on the Olympic speed skating oval, is included.
Don't limit yourself to the northeast either; there's a whole other world out there, whether it's west, north, or overseas. For example, Whistler, one of the premier resort areas in North America, has affordable five-day packages, and, like at Whiteface, if you book a minimum ski-and-stay package of two-five nights at Vail in Colorado, an extra day of skiing and lodging is added free of charge.
There are benefits to traveling in groups, too. The Long Island East Ski Club has more than 150 members, many of whom book a number of rooms at choice destinations during the winter season. This year, the club is going to Sestriere, Italy (January 20-28) and Steamboat Springs, Colorado (March 3-10).
There are countless opportunities out there, so in addition to booking early, explore your options online and find out what works best for you. Skiing is an expensive sport, but if you can lock yourself in to a few days or a week on the slopes, lodging's practically on the house.