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Best Bargains 2003: West


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Angel Fire Resort, N.M.
The Learn to Snowboard & You Keep the Gear package gives newbies two half-day group lessons, a new snowboard, boots, bindings and custom fitting, plus two vouchers good for half-price lift tickets the next visit. Cost is $249. 800-633-7463;

Aspen, Colo.
Who says you can’t get a deal around glitzy Aspen? The “Foresight is 20/20” program saves you 20 percent on lift tickets, ski school programs, equipment rentals and up to 20 percent on lodging (book by Dec. 1). 888-649-5985;

If you want truly luxurious lodging for the family, stay early-season at the historic Hotel Jerome (good until Dec. 18). The Family First package includes 50 percent off your second room, free meals for kids age 11 and younger, a movie with popcorn and a library of board games for the kids. Based on a three-night minimum stay, the season and the type of room, rates range from $225 to $795 per room, per night. 800-331-7213;

Beaver Creek, Colo.
SKI Magazine readers can be among the first to stay at the new Ritz-Carlton in Bachelor Gulch. The First Tracks 2002 package is an exclusive $375-per-night deal for SKI Magazine readers (Ask for the “SKPM” package). It includes deluxe mountainside accommodations, breakfast for two in Remington’s restaurant, plus a bottle of champagne and two “First Tracks 2002” fleece tops upon arrival. Each day, you also get a choice of a massage or dinner for two at Remington’s restaurant. There is no minimum stay required and the package is valid opening day through Dec. 19. (Sound steep? It’s a 40 percent discount from the normal rate of $625.) 800-576-5582; ritz-carlton/

Big Mountain, Mont.
Get a group together for snowcat skiing and get four hours of guided exploration in hike-to only areas. The snowcat runs $180, so if you get a group of six, it’s only $30 per person. 800-858-3930;

Big Sky Resort, Mont.
The Great Ski Weeks package promises upscale lodging and lift tickets (plus a few small bonuses) at significantly greater savings versus booking components separately. A six-day, seven-night package includes accommodations in a first-class room at the Huntley Lodge, lift tickets for two, breakfast, taxes and service fees for $1,418. (The cost for two adults in a one-bedroom condo in the luxury Summit is $2,051.) Children 10 and younger ski and stay free at Big Sky. The Great Ski Weeks are Nov. 27-Dec. 25, Jan. 3-17 and March 29-April 6. 800-548-4487;

Check out the new Holiday Inn Express at the base of Big Sky. The Mountain Inn Family Escape package offers comfortable lodging and an indoor swimming pool that keeps the kids happy at night. The package includes a three-night stay in a Valley Suite, two lift tickets per day for each room with two adults and a deluxe continental breakfast. Children ages 18 and younger sleep free when staying with the adults. Rates are $964 during value seasons, Jan. 3-17 and March 17-April 15. 877-995-7858;

Breckenridge, Colo.
Sleep, eat and ski for less with the East West Resorts’ Winter Escape. For $499, get three nights’ lodging in a modest one-bedroom condo, including $150 in food vouchers at the new Quandary Grill, plus two days of gear rentals for two at Christy Sports. Note: If you want to upgrade accommodations to the new Main Street Station in the heart of town (and just steps from the slopes), add $400 ($899 total). 800-507-7621;

Bridger Bowl, Mont.
The Powder Hound Package gives skiers a free day and night. Just buy three days’ skiing and three nights’ lodging and get the fourth day and night free (excluding Christmas week). Packages start at $39 per person (quad occupancy) and $49 per person (double occupancy). 800-223-9609;

Durango Mountain Resort, Colo.
The Sloppeside Special gets you three days’ lifts and three nights’ deluxe lodging for $250 per person. Add an extra night for $300. 800-525-0892;

The Canyons, Utah
The December Ski Free Package saves a couple as much as $298. For $179 per night, two guests can stay slopeside at the Grand Summit Resort Hotel, or for $149 at Sundial Lodge. Each package includes two lift tickets per night. The package is available from Dec. 6-19. 888-226-9667;

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
Snow riders love the terrain, and they’ll love the cost for the Rider Package. Three nights’ lodging and a daily lift ticket cost $87 per night. Offer is valid throughout winter, but is based on availability. 800-222-7275;

Steamboat Ski Resort, Colo.
Moguls Mountain Travel offers the Steamboat Ski Free Stay Free package, which includes five nights’ lodging in a two-bedroom condo at The Lodge at Steamboat and a four-day lift ticket for $479 per person, based on quad occupancy (fifth night and fourth day of skiing is free). Offer is valid Jan. 5-Feb. 12. 800-666-4857;

Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colo.
If you want to skip the Aspen hoopla, stay downvalley in Glenwood Springs. After a day of turns at nearby Sunlight, take advantage of the Ski, Swim and Stay program: Take a soak in the Hot Springs Pool and then hit the pillow in one of 15 participating lodges. (Prices start at $54, depending on lodge choice). Package includes lodging, lift ticket, and passes to the hot springs. Kids 13 and younger ski free with the purchase of an adult ticket (valid Dec. 15-March 31). 800-445-7931;

Sun Valley, Idaho
The Sun Valley Club annual ski week remains one of the best deals around. The $635-per-person package is valid the weeks of Jan. 4 and Jan 11. It includes seven nights’ lodging at the Sun Valley Inn and a five-day activity card, redeemable for 10 activities, including alpine and cross-country skiing, a group ski or snowboard clinic, and a dinner and entertainment package. 800-321-2754;

Vail Resorts, Colo.
The Perfect 10 gives you 10 lift tickets to six areas for $329 (fast math: an average of less than $33 a ticket). The areas include Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and Heavenly, Calif., the ski conglomerate’s newest member. At least one ticket must be redeemed by Jan. 31 (not valid Dec. 20-Jan. 4). 800-404-3535;