When Do Travelers Start Planning Their Ski Vacations?

With fall officially upon us, travelers are already beginning to plan out their winter ski trips. At TurnKey, our data suggest that guests will start booking their winter ski trips pretty soon. However, recent travel trends also show that lead times – the time between a traveler booking a reservation and their check-in date – have been shorter this year, and that may have an impact on your current booking calendar.

During the peak (December-February) of ski season in 2019, the average amount of time from booking a TurnKey ski home to arrival was about 51 days. Some travelers waited to book until a week before their trip but others booked almost 3 months out to make sure they got the home they wanted. With COVID-19 still driving some uncertainty over travel, this trend will most likely change. 

Whether you’re a guest deciding when to make that deposit on a vacation rental or you’re a homeowner deciding when to expect bookings to happen, we’ve compiled valuable information on reported opening dates for ski resorts, traveler booking timelines, and traveler trends.

When are ski resorts opening for the 2020-21 season?

Here are the estimated dates of opening for major resorts across the country:

Bear: November 23
Bear Valley: December 1
Boreal Mountain: November 9
China Peak: December 7
Heavenly: November 19
Kirkwood: November 23
Mammoth: November 14
Mountain High: November 25
Northstar: November 20
Snow Summit: November 23
Snow Valley: December 15
Squaw Valley: November 25
Sugar Bowl: November 28
Tahoe Donner: December 10
Aspen: November 21
Aspen Highlands: December 12
Aspen Mountain: November 26
Arapahoe Basin: October 19
Beaver Creek: November 22
Breckenridge: November 13
Buttermilk: December 18
Copper Mountain: November 30
Crested Butte: November 23
Echo Mountain: September 9
Eldora: November 23
Keystone: November 9
Loveland: October 28
Monarch: November 23
Powderhorn: December 17
Snowmass: November 26
Steamboat: November 21
Telluride: November 28
Vail: November 20
Winter Park: November 18
Wolf Creek: November 4

Alta: November 25
Brian Head: November 20
Brighton: November 19
Deer Valley: December 5
Park City: November 22
Powder: December 11
Snowbasin: November 24
Snowbird: November 22
Solitude: November 20
Sundance: December 7

Hoodoo: December 21
Mount Bachelor: November 22
Mount Hood: November 28
New Mexico
Angel Fire Resort: December 10
Enchanted Forest: October 9
Ski Apache: December 4
Taos: November 27

North Carolina
Appalachian: November 24
Beech Mountain: November 23
Cataloochee: November 13
Sugar Mountain: November 13
Sugarloaf: November 18
Sunday River: November 2
Mount Snow: November 15
Okemo: November 17
Smugglers’ Notch: November 23
Stowe: November 20
Stratton: November 25
Sugarbush: November 21

How far in advance are travelers booking ski homes?

In past years, our data showed travelers booking their ski trips in a variety of booking times, ranging from as little as 10 days in Mammoth, CA, to almost 3 months ahead in Aspen, CO. Due to COVID-19, however, many travelers are choosing to wait closer to their check-in date to book – we have seen our average lead time drop to around 14 days since local regulations have started opening up businesses and short-term rental options. 

As a homeowner, if you are not seeing bookings come in as early as usual, keep in mind that shorter lead times may be one reason why.

How do travelers feel about safety and traveling to ski markets?

In a survey by Destinations Analysts, although few (22.9%) feel taking a ski vacation is “safe” or “very safe,” it is considerably more comfortable for vacation travelers to do compared to amusement parks, dining in restaurants, or staying in a hotel. When it comes to returning ski vacation travelers, safety ratings are higher (57.9%), and millennials are more comfortable taking this trip this winter (32.6%)

Additionally, data from our Revenue Management team show that people have an increasing preference in booking “drive-to” destinations in Colorado and California, while traditional “fly-to” markets are seeing fewer bookings. However, since lead times have shortened in 2020, we may see more bookings closer to the check-in date for ski markets this winter. 

Need help getting your home ready for ski season? Learn more about how TurnKey can help you earn more revenue, provide better home care, and give you greater peace of mind here

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