Frugal Traveler: Colorado’s Bargain Season
The weekend before Christmas, a night at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, the luxurious hotel at the center of the Beaver Creek Ski Resort in Colorado, costs $1,489. In July, it goes for $659. But on a recent Saturday night, my wife and I paid just $189 for a similar room. We had to add $30 for valet parking, but breakfast was free and with spa treatments half-price, we spent only $80 for a half-hour in a copper bathtub-for-two, which included champagne, robes, slippers and tinkly new-age music.I love Colorado ski towns just after skiing ends, during what locals call mud season. (The expression is too dirty for Aspen, which has rebranded it “the secret season.”) For roughly two months, beatific mountain villages empty out, chichi hotels become affordable, “drink the bar dry” specials pop up and shops go half-price or more.
ImageSales can be found at most stores in most ski towns.CreditBenjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times
Of course, you can’t ski, but other activities abound. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, just outside of Steamboat Springs, has rocky 104-degree pools of various shape and sizes. In Aspen, early snowmelt leads to raucous rapids and 20-percent-off deals for rafting trips along the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. And in Breckenridge, visitors could prepare for weather eventualities and bring both bikes and snowshoes, to either traipse the Mohawk Lakes trails high above town or the cycle the Flumes to the north.