Hitting the slopes for a ski or snowboard trip can be a daunting task. After all, working through the logistics of planning your cold-weather adventure can be just as intimidating as pointing your skis down a plummeting trail.
For most travelers, planning a ski vacation means finalizing an array of details, including where to go, which ski hotel to stay at, how to purchase lift tickets and what gear to pack (or rent). Should you decide to plan a ski trip for the whole family, the cost can skyrocket quickly.
To help rein in out-of-pocket expenses and simplify the planning process for winter sports enthusiasts, several resorts now offer all-inclusive ski packages that cover an array of details typically arranged independently by guests.
“Rather than paying separate fees for round-trip flights, accommodations, daily meals, beverages, lift tickets and ski/snowboard lessons, families can pay one fee to have all of that — and more — included, making their family ski vacation a stress- and hassle-free experience,” Carolyne Doyon, president and CEO of Club Med North America, told TPG in an email.
The French resort brand offers more than 20 packages in North America, Europe, China and Japan, including Club Med Quebéc Charlevoix, one of several ski-friendly properties that’s helping Club Med lead the charge in the all-inclusive ski package space. It debuted in December 2021 at Le Massif de Charlevoix, a popular ski destination just north of Quebec City. Additional all-inclusive ski packages are slated to launch at Club Med Kiroro Peak in Japan as well as both Club Med Tignes and Club Med Val d’Isère in the French Alps in December 2022.
Given the recent uptick in all-inclusive ski packages, you may be wondering if they’re worth purchasing. Can they really take the frustration out of planning your next ski vacation and help you save some money, too? Here’s everything you need to know to decide if your next getaway on the slopes should be bundled as an all-inclusive package.
What’s covered with an all-inclusive ski vacation?
Before you book an all-inclusive ski package, it’s important to know what it covers.
While the exact inclusions will vary by package, ski-focused options are often similar to the ones available at warm-weather resort destinations. Typically, this means that the fixed price you’ll pay when making your reservation includes all the necessities, such as accommodations, meals, drinks and select activities.
Club Med’s ski packages often cover lodging, food and beverages, lift tickets, gear rentals, lessons, childcare and other winter activities like snowshoeing. Meanwhile, Montana-based Triple Creek Ranch, which sits about 30 minutes away from Lost Trail Powder Ski Area, offers packages that include accommodations, meals, ski shuttle service, lift passes and equipment rentals.
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Depending on the resort you choose, you may also have the ability to add on other services, such as spa treatments and airfare. For ski resorts, there’s generally an option to pay an additional fee for private, on-mountain guides.
Are all-inclusive ski packages more affordable?
All-inclusive ski packages can potentially save you money versus paying for each part of your vacation separately. However, you really have to take advantage of everything offered to spend less through one of these packages. If you don’t need ski lessons or rental equipment, for instance, odds are it’ll be more cost-effective to book the trip yourself.
One such example of the price difference comes out of a cost analysis conducted by Club Med. When the brand compared its seven-day family ski package at Club Med Quebéc Charlevoix to a similar family ski vacation at Mont Tremblant booked independently, Club Med found that its all-inclusive ski package saved a family of four $3,696.
Of course, this analysis makes a lot of assumptions, such as spending $80 per day for adult meals and $50 per day for kids meals at Mont Tremblant, plus taking advantage of every inclusion provided by Club Med. Still, spending $5,821 for Club Med’s all-inclusive package instead of the estimated $9,517 travelers would need to book everything separately at Mont Tremblant is a noticeable difference.
For travelers who don’t plan on using every included perk or generally stick to more affordable options when it comes to dining and on-mountain expenses, the final cost would end up being higher with an all-inclusive package. As a result, it would make more financial sense to purchase everything a la carte instead of bundling everything through a resort.
While all-inclusive ski packages are an interesting concept that could save you money, it’s important to do your due diligence to make sure you’ll use all of the inclusions. If you weren’t planning on paying for ski lessons or renting gear on the mountain, for example, it may be cheaper to pay for each part of your ski vacation individually.
That said, it’s important to consider your sanity, too. If the thought of researching and booking every aspect of your trip gives you anxiety, you may find value in paying a little more for everything to be planned for you.