You had every intention of snagging a table at Wahso
during your Park City ski trip. But it's Christmas vacation, and guess what? The place is booked. Get smart. More and more ski-town restaurants are signing up with online restaurant-reservation services: Log on, search by resort or cuisine, and secure yourself a table before the snow flies. These websites are leading the pack. Oh, at Wahso? Try the ginger sea bass. It's amazing.
What You Can Do
Make online reservations at no charge.
Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Steamboat, Lake Tahoe area, Park City
A Special Requests option lets diners tell the maitre d' if their party will be celebrating a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary.
Reservations are confirmed instantly, and at the time of booking diners can request a table with a view, a specific server or a spot on the deck.
If you forget to cancel your reservation, you can be blackballed from the site.
What You Can Do
Make online reservations for $4.95 each, or pay $7.95 a month or $22.95 for three months of unlimited use.
Most in the U.S., including Eastern ski towns such as Manchester, Vt., and Great Barrington, Mass.
Sign up (free) to receive email notification of added restaurants in your search area.
Great restaurant selection at the resorts, and users can browse the menu at each establishment before booking.
Diners have to wait for email confirmation.
What You Can Do Make online reservations at no charge.
Resorts Served Beaver Creek, Park City
Best Feature Everyone who makes a reservation earns DinnerBroker points (100 DB points=$1), redeemable for last-minute reservations or a gift certificate at participating restaurants.
Plus The Prime Time reservation system, for a $2-$10 fee per reservation, accesses a restaurant's secret stash-tables reserved by the site in advance, then given back to the restaurant if they're not booked. (The site and the restaurant split the fee.)
Minus Too few participating restaurants
What You Can Do Browse detailed restaurant reviews, then book a reservation through partner site opentable.com.
Resorts Served Aspen, Snowmass, Beaver Creek, Vail, Telluride, Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird
Best Feature Read articles on dining trends in different locations or browse the food- and wine-related event calendars.
Plus The reviewers are professional food writers who visit every establishment they review and recommend specific dishes at most venues.
Minus Not every restaurant reviewed accepts online reservations.