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Smart Traveler: Software for Ski Trips


The Ski Flex grid, courtesy of Ski.com.

Booking a ski vacation can be almost bewilderingly complex. Is this resort good for the kids or will they be bored after two days? Is this really the cheapest airfare and the best connection time, or will I get hosed and stranded in O’Hare?

    Then there’s the proverbial choice of hotel versus condo, and slopeside digs versus a distant locale to save money. With lift tickets pushing $100 a day at some resorts, it’s also critical to find the best lift ticket combination to save a few bucks. Traditionally, you either figured all of this out yourself or you gave in and picked up the phone to call a ski tour operator who could walk you through the choices.

    But Ski.com, the largest ski tour operator in the US, has come up with a cool software program called Ski Flex. You put in the information requested – the resort, the number of people, the hotel, etc. – and it shows you a calendar grid with pricing 30 days before and 30 days after your target travel date.

    You can to see things like lodging and/or lift ticket packages, free-night promotions, dollar amount saved and a total package price. The calendar also highlights the least expensive arrival date(s) within the 60-day window. You can then add vacation components such as flights, ground transportation, lift tickets and equipment rentals before completing the booking process.
    Airfares have been displayed like this for some time. And Ski.com has been using an internal version of Ski Flex for years. But this is the first time that consumers have been able to use software like this and plan their own trip.
    If there’s a caveat, it’s that Ski Flex will work best for experienced skiers, who know the resorts and have researched or know the hotel properties. Anyone else can try it and still pick up the phone and speak with someone. But for those of us who know where we want to go, it allows us to comparison shop with ease, book it, and then go back to watching the Olympics.
    Visit Ski.com to learn more.

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