THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, PARK CITY, UTAH
Jan. 15—25, 2004; 11 days, 20,000 people, 120 films, more than 150,000 tickets sold
Key to a Good Time: Make dinner reservations several weeks in advance.
Festival Information: festival.sundance.org
Ski And Travel Information: Park City Visitors Bureau, parkcityinfo.com or 800-453-1360; Ski Utah, skiutah.com, 800-754-8824 or 801-534-1779
Don't Miss: The festival awards party at the Old Salt Mine.
Lodging: Park City's inventory of lodgings is large and diverse. The rich and famous stay at Deer Valley, either in its Stein Ericksen Lodge or ritzy condos, 800-453-1302. The lovely Marriott Summit Watch Resort is right in the heart of town, 435-647-4100.
Tickets: Buy your Sundance Film Festival tickets well in advance or prepare to line up several hours before showtime and cheerfully hustle everyone you meet. Even with tickets, prepare to line up an hour before showtime to get good seats.
Hot Tip #1: Get a rental car but don't even attempt parking anywhere near Main Street. Use the festival parking lots and either walk or take the free festival shuttles.
Hot Tip #2: To get dinner without a reservation, try the Flying Sumo before 6 p.m. (435-649-5522), the bar area of any restaurant before 6 p.m. or any of the restaurants in Kimball Junction.
Hot Tip #3: Book lodgings that include at least modest kitchen facilities and stock up on bottled water, breakfasts and quick meals at the grocery story before the festival begins. Surviving the altitude change and getting fed in a timely manner are the two biggest hurdles to overcome during the Sundance Film Festival.
THE U.S. COMEDY ARTS FESTIVAL, Aspen, Colo.
March 3—7, 2004; five days, 5,000 visitors, 80 live shows, 75,000 tickets sold
Key to a Good Time: Book lodging in downtown Aspen.
Festival Information: 800-778-4633; hbocomedyfestival.com
Ski And Travel Information:Stay Aspen Snowmass, stayaspensnowmass.com, 800-308-6935 or 970-925-9000
Don't Miss: A day with Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, advance reservations required, 800-525-6200 ext. 3720 or 970-920-0720.
Lodging: Make reservations well in advance. The St. Regis and the Hotel Jerome get filled up by festival sponsor HBO, but Aspen has plenty of other excellent options, from swanky full-service hotels like The Little Nell (970-920-4600) and the Sky Hotel (800-747-1970) to reasonably priced small inns like the Hearthstone House, where breakfast and evening wine and cheese are included, 888-925-7632 or 970-925-7632.
Tickets: Visit the box office at hbocomedyfestival.com. Buy your show tickets a few weeks in advance, if possible. If you can't get the shows you want, buy tickets anyway and try swapping them for something else at the exchange table located in the St. Regis basement. For popular shows, prepare to line up an hour ahead of time to get choice seats.
Hot Tip #1: Virtually all of Aspen's hottest restaurants—including Matsuhisa, Cache Cache, Rustique, Mogador and Gusto—have a bar area where you can walk in and, after a short wait, eat off of a lower-priced bar menu with the same culinary quality and same hip Aspen ambience.
Hot Tip #2: If you stay downtown, you won't need a rental car.
Hot Tip #3: Consider traveling light by bringing only your ski boots. Hamilton's, across from the Aspen Mountain ticket office, carries a full line of well-tuned demo skis.