Black Ski Weekend in Canada, who’s down?
By Lauren Floyd, Honeycomb Moms
Remember I made fun of my line sisters and my inability to commit to one vacation destination?
Just as a refresher: We planned, replanned and planned some more due to indecisiveness. Well, I refused to let all that research go to waste.
Instead, I’m gifting it to you. Just think of me as your travel agent. Only, I’m more of the take-this-info-and-run-with-it-kind than the I’ll-be-on-call-for-you-day-and-night-kind.
I know it's July, but I couldn't resist throwing a skiing option out first. It's one of my favorites. And thanks to the three-day weekend that the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. gifts us each year, there will be an MLK Ski Weekend in Canada’s Blue Mountains Jan. 18-21, 2019.
I know it's a ways away, but people like to plan early and save their pennies.
In this case, even a six-month-start wasn't early enough to catch most the lodging options on the MLK Ski Weekend website. All but one are sold out, and for good reason. Booking on the site gives travelers a 50 percent discount on the $300 event wristbands trip organizers are offering.
But not to worry if you missed out on that discount. That’s where I come in, and it’s not to be your sugar mama. Remember, I’m just your generally unattached travel agent.
My plan could help you save hundreds of dollars, and I included all the necessities — food and drinks, lodging, flights, car rentals, ski equipment rentals and ski lessons.
By my calculations, you can budget between $605 and $685 per person. Just be sure to bring the whole crew.
Each person in a group of 10 can expect to pay about:
- $300 for a round-trip flight to Toronto Pearson International Airport;
- $30 for liquor and food;
- $60 for a 90-minute group ski lesson; https://www.bluemountain.ca/plan-your-trip/lessons-and-rentals/snow-school/private-lesson
- $50 to rent ski equipment each day; and
- $40 to rent two SUVs, the cheapest way to get between the airport and your lodging, but you’ll otherwise keep them parked most the trip.
Yes, that food and drink estimate was intentional.
Part of the fun in traveling with a big dumb group of people is bonding over food and drinks. That doesn’t have to be in a restaurant for every meal. Have everyone pitch in. Make your travel day your meal prep day too, and stock up on frozen pizzas, sandwich stuff, a crockpot meal or two and snacks like fruit, chips and muffins.
For drinks, get plenty of prosecco and orange juice, ingredients for a plentiful spiked punch and a few bottles of your premium liquor of choice for shots. Bring those flasks, and scoff at those overpriced restaurants and bars.
Lodging is where you’ll save major bucks.
Location is key. You want to be near the area of Mill Pond to be able to forego driving, so I found a few options that meet my standards. I require a walkable location and something of similar quality to a standard room in a four-star hotel.
One condo I found is $511 less than a similar one listed as booked on the MLK Ski Weekend site.
My option, from the good people at Airbnb, sleeps 10 people and has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and six beds for a total of $1,369 for three nights.
Another Airbnb option sleeps 10 people and has four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and seven beds for $1,261.
Another walkable Airbnb option that accommodates 10 people and has three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and six beds is a little more expensive at $2,034, but it also seems to have more open areas.
If you’re wondering why there are no hotels or resorts on this list, it’s because unless you’re booking blindly through a site like Hotwire or Priceline, with hotels you often get a good price or nice quality, not both. I require both.
Now, if location is less of a priority and you have a bigger group, you can get closer in quality to a standard room at a five-star hotel.
Check out these babies:
- Pretty and roomy for $1705 total, and it sleeps up to 10 guests.
- A real log cabin for $2003 total, and it sleeps up to 11 guests.
- Chalet? Don't mind if I do for $2085 total, and it sleeps up to 14 guests.
- Golf at the crib for $2310 total, and it sleeps up to 16 guests.
- Snuggle up waterfront for $2736 total, and it sleeps up to 11 guests.
And if you want to completely ax this plan and just go to Cabo like us, that's cool too. Unforgettable vacations are about the who not the where.