Winter Vacations - HomeToGo base64Hash Winter Vacations - HomeToGo

Winter Vacations

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Ski: Top Destinations

Ice-Filled Wonderlands & Sunny Getaways for Winter Vacations

Winter vacations offer a special chance for travelers to wrap up warm and enjoy the freshness of ice and snow, before getting cosy by the fire later on. Whether you plan winter vacations to get closer to one of nature's harshest climates, or enjoy the man-made festivities that offer relief from the snow and ice, there are a multitude of activities on offer! Try your hand at snowshoeing, skiing, or snowtubing, or take a stroll through holiday light displays with a cup of hot chocolate.

Trending: Vacation Homes for the Holidays - HomeToGo

Trending: Vacation Homes for the Holidays


What are your travel plans for the holidays? Every year, millions of Americans travel across the country to reunite with family and friends and celebrate the end of another year.

For many, the looming possibility of future travel restrictions are causing families to look for new traditions and ways to spend time over the holidays togetherSo what can we expect to see in terms of holiday travel in 2020? 

To learn more about new and emerging trends, HomeToGo has examined its own vacation rental search data and to uncover where Americans plan to spend their vacation this holiday season.


Trend #1: Travelers are getting a head start on planning

HomeToGo has seen more travelers exploring our site and planning trips over the holiday season. From May 12 through October 12, US search interest in holiday season rentals grew by 67 percent compared to the same period last year.1 The number of US bookings during that period also increased by 70 percent.2

graph displaying growing searches for holiday vacation rentals

In the first weeks of October, we’re already seeing levels of search and booking activity that would be typical of the peak times for holiday bookings in previous years; which would usually take place in mid-to-late November.

When it comes to getting a jump start on holiday planning, we’re seeing an increase in search interest from almost every US stateespecially in Texas (+88 percent) and Florida (+118 percent), and other Sun Belt states, where growing demand for holiday season vacation homes is the strongest.3

Trend #2: Shorter trips and staying stateside

HomeToGo internal data shows that travelers are trading in their Christmas holidays in the Caribbean or Mexico for destinations that are closer-to-home. We're seeing the highest growth in areas where travelers can enjoy fresh mountain air or take a break from the cold for some sunshine beachside.

The average distance searched for domestic travel over the holidays is 665 miles.4 This distance is typical compared to previous years; although, the share of domestic travel searches is 27 percentage points higher (85 percent domestic) compared to last year.5

While planning their holidays, we’re seeing demand for shorter trips. The average booking for this holiday season is 7.2 nights (-17 percent) and the expected group size is down to 3.4 persons (-19 percent).6

Trending Holiday Destinations

Rank
Searched Destination
State
Y-o-Y Increase in Searches*
1
Smoky Mountains
Multi*
567.58%
2
Beech Mountain
North Carolina
338.92%
3
Hawaii
Hawaii
304.34%
4
Sanibel Island
Florida
218.47%
5
Kauai
Hawaii
150.91%
6
Colorado Springs
Colorado
139.90%
7
Gatlinburg
Tennessee
139.50%
8
Broken Bow
Oklahoma
128.37%
9
South Florida
Florida
98.15%
10
Pocono Mountains
Pennsylvania
90.08%

In line with travel trends observed this summer, there has been a rise in demand for listings in rural destinations. Rural destinations within the US represented 88 percent of searches on HomeToGo.com in the month of September.7

Meanwhile, urban areas such as New York, NY (-55 percent) and New Orleans, LA (-57 percent) have seen a decline in search interest compared to previous years. Many popular beach destinations near major cities, including Clearwater, FL (-46 percent) and Miami Beach, FL (-42 percent) have also seen similar trends.

On the contrary, more remote destinations, including Sanibel Island, FL (+218 percent) and the Kauai, HI (+151 percent) have seen an increase in search demand.8

Trend #3: Fired-up for cabin rentals and special amenities

Cabins are among the most-booked listing types for trips during the holiday season. Throughout the month of September, cabin bookings for the holidays have seen year-over-year increase of 31 percent compared to last year.9 

The regions with the most holiday cabin bookings include:

  • The Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee
  • Pennsylvania's Poconos Mountains
  • South Lake Tahoe in California

Travelers are also looking for more flexibility and amenities when it comes to choosing their ideal stay. This is shown by the top searched amenities for the holiday season, which include:10

  • Pet-friendly
  • Internet
  • Whirlpool
  • Kitchen
  • Fireplace

Contact us for questions or information on our travel updates and insights or follow HomeToGo's Travel Forecast for a bi-weekly analysis of the results.

Footnotes:

1 Based on HomeToGo internal data measuring number of US searches taking place between May 12 - Oct 12 with a check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021 compared with the same period in 2019. Data collected on Oct 16th, 2020.

2 Based on HomeToGo internal data observing number of US bookings taking place between May 12 - Oct 12 with a check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021, compared with the same period in 2019. Data collected on Oct 16th, 2020.

3  Based on HomeToGo internal data measuring number searches coming from US states between May 12 - Oct 12, 2020 with a check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021, compared with the same period in 2019. User location determined by Geo IP address, data collected on Oct 15th, 2020.

4 Based on HomeToGo internal data representing the average distance to search for US domestic trips, based on user origin, and a check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021, and compared to the same period in 2019.

5 Based on HomeToGo internal data representing the share of rural and urban travel searches in the United States, check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021 and compared to the same period in 2019.

6 Based on HomeToGo internal data measuring the average booked nights and average number of guests on HomeToGo in the last 6 months (May 12 - Oct 12, 2020) with a check-in between (Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021) compared with the same period in 2019.

7 Based on HomeToGo internal data measuring the share of US searches for rural and urban destinations from September 1 - 30, 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

8 Based on HomeToGo internal data observing the most searched US locations in the last 6 months (May 12 - Oct 12, 2020) with a check-in between (Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021) compared with the same period in 2019.

9 Based on HomeToGo internal data representing the average distance to search for US domestic trips, based on user origin, and a check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2 2021 and compared to the same period in 2019.

10 Based on HomeToGo internal data observing the number of US searches with amenity filters and a check-in between Nov 26 2020 - Jan 2, 2021 in the last 6 months (May 12 - Oct 12, 2020).

Note: Prices, availability, and bookings are liable to change. Please contact [email protected] with additional questions.

Ski Price Index 2022 - HomeToGo
Ranking the Best Ski Resorts in North America, Based on Affordability

Ski Price Index 2022


Where are the best ski resorts in North America? From Powder Mountain to Park City, HomeToGo has researched the price of a ski vacation at the best winter resorts that the continent has to offer. With information on the updated prices for the 2021-22 season, HomeToGo's annual Ski Price Index allows you to compare the cost of skiing in Colorado, California, Québec, and many more! We've included the best ski resorts from coast to coast in the USA and Canada, to help you carve out the perfect winter vacation without having a financial meltdown.

This year's ranking includes the cost of ski rental, a daily lift ticket, lunch, and overnight accommodation at the top 60 ski resorts in North America. Lift ticket prices for the 2021-22 season were provided by the resorts, while HomeToGo used its own data to calculate the average price of accommodation (per person, per night) to stay in a vacation rental in the respective resort. With so many resorts to choose from, the ski's the limit!

Blue icons of skis and poles

In 1932, Lake Placid in New York was the first resort in North America to host the Winter Olympic Games.

Blue icon of a skier on a drag lift

Park City Mountain in Utah is the largest ski resort in North America, with 41 lifts and 7,300 acres of skiable land.

Blue icon of a gondola

The Slide Brook Express in Sugarbush, Vermont, is the longest chair lift in North America, measuring 11,012 feet.

Blue icon of a downhill skier

Breckenridge in Colorado is the highest ski resort in North America, with a top elevation of 12,998 feet.

The 60 Most Affordable Ski Resorts in North America

Introducing: The Top 10 Ski Resorts for 2020

#1: Marmot Basin, AB

#3: Lake Louise Ski Resort, AB

#2: Bolton Valley, VT

#4: Silver Star Mountain, BC

#5: Mont-Tremblant, QC

#7: Schweitzer Mountain, ID

#6: Mission Ridge Ski Area, WA

#8: Revelstoke Mountain, BC

Mapped: Where Are North America's Best Ski Resorts?

When to Book a Ski Vacation?

Sam Collentine black hoody smiling

Sam Collentine, Meteorologist

Planning a trip for deeper into the season (February & March) is better, especially for the popular areas in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. The snowpack is deep, most of the terrain is open, and the temperatures become milder thanks to the higher sun angle.

Even though it would be great to plan for the best conditions months in advance, there are just too many short-term weather patterns throughout the winter season that can't be forecasted more than 1-2 weeks out. Your best bet is to always stay tuned to the latest weather forecast, especially from the team of local forecasters at OpenSnow.

How We Produced This Guide

Total Cost = Equipment Rental + Lift Pass + Lunch + Accommodation

The 50 ski resorts in our ranking provided information on the price of ski rental and daily lift passes for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The ski rental price includes intermediate skis, boots, and poles for one person for one day. The lift pass price is for a full day’s skiing for one adult on 02.22.2020. These prices were researched in fall 2019 and may include discounts that are offered to customers who buy in advance.

The lunch price includes a regular cheeseburger and fries at a restaurant on the ski slopes in the Yelp $$ category. Yelp's online menus were used to obtain these prices. The accommodation price is based on HomeToGo's own metasearch data: It is the average price per person, per night to stay in a 4-person vacation rental found on HomeToGo close to the resort, between 11.16.2019 and 04.11.2020.

All prices are in USD. Please note that this is a forecast and that prices may fluctuate between now and the start of the ski reason. When prices for 2019-20 were not available from the resorts, we based our price forecasts on last season’s prices. Prices do not include sales tax. For any additional information, please email [email protected]

Ski: Explore More Top Destinations

Top Vacation Ideas

Explore More Vacation Ideas

Top Ski Areas for the Non-Skier - HomeToGo base64Hash Top Ski Areas for the Non-Skier - HomeToGo
40 Ski Towns That Won't Give Non-Skiers the Cold Shoulder

Top Ski Areas for the Non-Skier


Where are the best ski resorts for non-skiers? Every ski season, thousands of travelers plan a winter vacation to the mountains, purely to enjoy après entertainment, fresh mountain air, stunning landscapes and great local food - without intending to hit the slopes while they’re there.

This study identifies the largest ski resorts nationwide and scores them based on 8 key indicators related to each destination’s affordability and experience. From the price of an après ski warmer to the number of mountainside spas, this study finds the best winter destinations that won't leave the non-skiers out in the cold!

Rank
Ski Area
State
Food Score
Après Score
Spa & Wellness Score
Accom Score
Weighted Average
1
Breckenridge
CO
10.0
9.0
10.0
7.3
8.74
2
Sun Valley
ID
9.1
8.9
6.3
9.3
8.58
3
Steamboat Springs
CO
7.8
7.8
8.7
8.7
8.32
4
Mammoth Mountain
CA
7.6
8.3
8.3
8.6
8.27
4
Telluride
CO
9.6
10.0
7.4
7.2
8.27
5
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
CA
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.5
8.19
6
Crystal Mountain Resort
WA
6.9
7.0
8.7
9.1
8.17
7
Winter Park Resort
CO
7.5
8.8
5.7
9.3
8.12
8
Vail
CO
8.0
9.7
9.1
6.8
8.09
9
Heavenly Mountain
CA
8.9
7.6
5.7
9.2
8.08
10
Jackson Hole
WY
7.9
9.6
7.2
7.8
8.03
11
Park City Mountain
UT
8.6
8.4
7.2
7.8
7.96
12
Snowbasin
UT
7.3
5.5
8.0
9.4
7.94
13
Okemo Mountain
NY
7.9
8.5
6.5
8.3
7.90
14
Alta Ski Area
UT
9.8
5.7
7.0
8.4
7.87
14
Northstar California
CA
7.5
6.5
7.0
9.2
7.87
15
Sugar Bowl
CA
6.8
7.3
5.2
10.0
7.86
16
Killington
VT
7.6
8.8
6.1
8.4
7.85
17
Copper Mountain
CO
8.0
9.2
6.1
7.8
7.77
17
Stowe Mountain
VT
7.9
8.4
6.1
8.3
7.77

What could you buy for the price of a lift ticket?

Apres Ski Cost Comparison

Daily Lift Ticket: $128.35

Winter Cocktail: $10.89

Meal at a Restaurant: $17.51

60-minute Massage: $138.43

One Night's Accommodation: $134.02 (per person)

(Estimations based on the average price, see methodology below)

Mapped: Where Are The Best Ski Resorts for Après Ski?

Methodology

Categories: In order to select the categories for this index, we took inspiration from a survey conducted by h2\, a market research and marketing consultancy. The survey included responses from 400 participants who travel to winter destinations at least once every two years. From this survey, several common considerations and motivations emerged: mental health and wellness, food and drink, and spending time with family and friends were all found to be key motivators, while price and low-perceived affordability was found to be one of the key deterrents.

Ski Areas: We examined more than 100 ski resorts from the most popular ski regions in the U.S. to see which destinations best satisfied the criteria. The shortlist is comprised of the largest and most popular ski resorts from the major ski regions throughout the USA. To decide on the top 40 Ski destinations for this study, we used online mapping tools, ski publications, social media, and user review websites to understand the quality and popularity of the ski resorts as well as the surrounding area’s activities, number of restaurants, and nightlife potential. The top 40 were selected for our final shortlist

Calculations: After obtaining the raw data for each of the indicators, we assigned each data point a representative numerical value between 5 and 10, with 5 representing the lowest data point and 10 representing the highest data point. We used the following equation in order to calculate this for every indicator.

Score(i) = 5* ( ( (x(i) - x(min) ) / ( (x(max) - x(min) ) ) + 5

After calculating the numerical values, we determined each ski resort’s weighted average across all the categories, assigning double weight to Accommodation scores to account for a higher standard deviation in the data set.

How Each Factor was Calculated

Food Score (Full-weight): This category is equally weighted on two indicators - affordability and quality. Quality of the restaurants on the mountain and in the ski village are based on the average customer ratings sourced from reviews left on Yelp. Affordability is based on select prices for common items (regular cheeseburger and fries) collected from online lunch menus from two restaurants located on the mountain or at its base. These prices did not include taxes or additional service charges.

Après Score (Full-weight): This category is equally weighted on the affordability and quality of the bars located near the mountain and in the village. For the quality indicator, we collected the total number of 4+ star bars and pubs listed on the mountain or at its base. Data was sourced from reviews on Google Maps. For affordability, prices were collected from from online food menus from at least 2 bars located on the mountain or at its base for the following items:

  • 16 oz. domestically produced beer.
  • 8 oz. glass of house red wine.
  • Bloody Mary cocktail and a Mimosa.

These prices did not include taxes or additional service charges.

Spa and Wellness Score (Full-weight): This category is equally weighted on the availability and quality of spas and wellness facilities near the mountain and in the ski village. Availability is based on the number of day spas, hotels with spas, and swimming pools and quality is based on the average guest review. Data was sourced from reviews left on Google Maps. 

Accommodation Affordability Score (Double weight): Based on HomeToGo's own metasearch data this is the average price per person, per night in a vacation rental found on HomeToGo close to the resort, with a check-in between 01.30.2019 and 04.01.2020. The per-person prices are based on the maximum listed capacity of the rental.

Average cost of a lift ticket is based on the average lift ticket price at the 30 ski resorts featured in this index. The lift ticket includes a full day’s skiing for one adult on 02.22.2020. Prices were researched from the ski resort websites in fall 2019 and may include discounts that are offered to customers who buy in advance.

Average cost of a massage is based on the average price of a 60 minute Swedish massage from a 4+ star rated day spa located at the base of the mountain or in the nearby village. Prices were collected from the day spa websites for 10 ski resorts featured in the study and do not include taxes or additional service charges.

For additional information and interview requests, please contact [email protected]



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