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Tips For Making Your Ski Vacation At Vail & Beaver Creek “Cheaper”

Planning a ski trip in the mountains can get very expensive, from plane tickets, car rentals, lodging, renting ski equipment, eating out etc. And Vail and Beaver Creek are rather notorious for being expensive places to visit.  But with a little guidance and tips from locals, you can still enjoy these amazing resorts on a budget.

Looking out over Vail’s Back Bowls

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Hotel rooms in Vail and Beaver Creek are beyond expensive during the ski season and are usually $350+ per night. Your best option to save money for lodging is looking into The Bunkhouse Hostel located in Minturn, CO which is about 10 minutes away from both Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains. 

During peak season hostel rooms can be around $90/night, but during slower seasons you can snag a room for $39/night.

They have 3 different types of rooms you can choose from: a bunkroom, the convertable quad, and the six-pack.

They have complimentary wifi, a community kitchen and a lounge bar. There is also free parking at The Bunkhouse, or there is a Vail ECO Bus that runs through Minturn and will bring you to the Vail transportation center for $4/ride.

Also, planning a trip during non peak times can save you tons of money. Avoid Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and President’s Day.

Note: If you are an experienced skier or rider, the Minturn Mile is a side country run that leaves through a gate and ends back to the town of Minturn. This way you won’t have to drive and pay for parking or get a bus ride back.

The terrain would probably be rated a blue square, though with all side-country terrain, proper avalanche safety measures are essential.  You need to be responsible for your own safety when on un-patrolled terrain.

To access the Minturn Mile you can go from the top of chair 3 or 7. (Click here for more details) The trail will bring you to the Minturn Saloon where you can get cheap margaritas and free chips and salsa! Or visit one of these other delicious restaurants in Minturn.

You also might be able to snag a good deal on Kayak, Expedia, or Be sure to run a browser extension such as Rakuten, Honey, or Capital One Shopping to save additional money.

Town Of Vail


If you live close enough to drive, it is usually always cheaper to drive rather than fly, but sometimes it takes time away from your trip. If you can afford to lose a little time driving than flying, it might be worth saving some money.

You can also try to find other people to split the gas price with. If you fly into Denver, check out how to get to the mountains from Denver without a car.

Getting a ride from the Denver International Airport to Vail or Beaver Creek can get expensive. If you are able to time your trip right with a flight, there is a bus that can pick you up at the Denver Bus Center or Union Station and can take you to the Vail Transportation center for $17. 

Once you are in Vail or Beaver Creek there are free bus systems that run within each town. If you want to get back and forth from Vail and Beaver Creek there is the $4/ride ECO bus that can take you between the two resorts.

Equipment/Snow Gear:

A huge perk to driving is you can usually bring your ski equipment with you, but flying with equipment can become a hassle, bulky and can get expensive. If you don’t have equipment or are unable to bring your own equipment, rentals for a week can get very pricey and almost equal buying new equipment anyways. 

Therefore, towns surrounding Vail and Beaver Creek have a few “thrift shops” that have decent equipment and snow gear you could use and just leave behind for others or donate back to the thrift shop after your trip. Here is a list of thrift shops near Vail and Beaver Creek:

  1. The Thrifty Shop: Edwards, CO
  2. Holy Toledo: Minturn, CO
  3. Transition Sports: Avon, CO
  4. Recycle Sports: Frisco, CO

Another idea is to keep an eye out on Facebook Marketplace, because a lot of locals get new gear often and sell their old stuff for cheap.

Eating Out:

Restaurants in both Vail and Beaver Creek can be very expensive, but there are some cheaper options if you know where to look. Though it may take a little extra effort, getting groceries from a supermarket and making at least a couple meals yourself is by far the cheapest option to save money.  But after a long day on the mountain, it can be hard to muster the energy to cook. 

So best to trust the locals on where to get a delicious meal for cheap.  And keep an eye out for happy hours and take advantage of some of the fancier restaurants at a discounted price.

A few of our favorite spots…


La Cantina – Mexican food right at the Transportation Center (main bus depot)

Vendetta’s – Delicious pizza place with a full bar and outdoor patio

Moe’s BBQ –  Some real good southern BQQ made by 3 guys from Alabama

Find more affordable restaurants in Vail


The Minturn Saloon – Mexican food, margaritas and a cool western Saloon vibe

The Stash – Known for the Pizza and Burgers

Backcountry Wings – Best wings in the Valley

Check out all the best restaurants in Minturn


Pho 20: Great Vietnamese Fusion place with huge portions for cheap prices

Sauce: Upscale Pizza/Italian restaurant with a great Happy Hour

No Se Hagan Bolas: Delicious and cheap hole-in-the-wall Mexican counter service

Rocky Mountain Taco Truck: Great Mexican Taco truck that makes its home right outside Vail Brewing Company (And also Native Roots Marijuana Dispensary, if that’s your thing)

Beaver Creek 

Really slim pickings for cheap food in Beaver Creek, but your best bet is:

The Coyote Cafe: Decent Tex-mex spot really close to the lifts

The Dusty Boot Saloon: Classic Bar & Grill in Beaver Creek Village

Lift Tickets:

Skiing at Vail and Beaver Creek Resort is very pricey. Vail Resorts is trying to branch out its business to include ski mountains all over the world.

Therefore, it might be best to buy an EPIC local pass if you live near a ski mountain that is included in the pass.

Buying lift tickets online does save you a little money rather than buying them at the lift ticket office. Also if you buy them for multiple days at a time, the lift ticket per day price will go down. 

Another option is to ask around on Facebook pages or Craigslist for Vail and Beaver Creek for ½ off passes. A lot of Vail Resorts employees have ½ off passes that they don’t end up needing for friends or family and there are harsh repercussions for selling them.

Oftentimes, employees will give them away towards the end of the season.

Check out for some great deals on lift tickets.


Skiing is a super fun way to spend a vacation, but isn’t as fun if you drain your bank account. The price of a ski vacation adds up quickly, but if you do some of these tips listed above, it can save you $100s of dollars!

The towns surrounding Vail and Beaver Creek have a lot to offer. If you plan your vacation around some of Vail and Beaver Creek’s free events such as: Bird’s Of Prey, Snow Daze, Burton U.S. Open, Powabunga, Spring Back to Vail, etc. you can enjoy some added entertainment!

So if the fear of high prices is keeping you away, a little guidance from the locals can help you experience some of the best skiing and riding terrain in the world on a budget. Also, check out these other activities to do in Vail besides ski.

If you are looking for additional help planning you ski vacation, check into

Help us spread the word on how to save money when visiting Vail or Beaver Creek!

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