In January, we spent a weekend with another couple at a ski resort. The resort is within driving distance for both of us, so it made for a simple short getaway. The resort has downhill and cross country skiing opportunities, in addition to other winter activities like tubing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. This resort is a place we like to visit during any of the four seasons we experience. But for now, we’ll focus on winter.
Winter is considered peak season. In part due to availability and in part due to uncertain conditions (both for driving and the activities we want to do), we don’t visit this resort often in the winter. So it was a special treat to book this weekend about a month in advance.
Our friends are downhill skiers while we prefer cross country skiing. With only one day suitable for skiing, Mr. Vine and I opted to purchase a cross country trail pass and our friends purchased a lift ticket. We met back at our suite for lunch and socialized in the evenings after going out for round two of skiing. I was so glad that all of us got to spend our time doing what we enjoy most, and we each got to spend some one on one time with our spouses.
Despite owning cross country skis and often traveling to this resort for the past several years, we had never managed to bring our skis up before. It certainly won’t be the last time! Even though conditions were not ideal, the snow was much better than back home. The trails are extensive and offer every possible level of difficulty. We stayed on the easier to intermediate level trails and got a solid workout.
The atmosphere around the resort was festive and fun. The trip was low key enough and short enough that it was actually relaxing. I had little to none of my normal pre-vacation anxiety. There were so many highlights of this trip–spending time with friends, enjoying the outdoors during a challenging season, eating delicious food and not spending very much money for all of that. It’s hard to say what the best part was.
In the evenings, we checked out a few games from the resort’s front desk and played a few spirited rounds of Uno. We’d intended, but forgot to pack along a few of our favorite games from home. Using the resort’s game library turned out just fine.
One of our historic problems with weekend getaways is the cost. If we are flying somewhere, it is very difficult to keep the costs under $1,000 for the weekend. But this trip was so inexpensive. We split the already low cost of two nights in a two bedroom suite with our friends, leaving us responsible for about $75. For reasons more about convenience than savings, we split food preparation responsibilities. I was busy at work and didn’t have a lot of time to plan and grocery shop. So, we packed mostly things from our home kitchen. Mr. Vine and I stopped for fast food on our drive to the resort Friday night and spent about $15. We brought up a growler of beer to share at a cost of approximately $10 for 4+ drinks. We prepared oatmeal and our friends provided some of the toppings for one breakfast. For one dinner I made pork and lentil stew, also out of ingredients we already had at home. I’m calling all of this food “free” because it was not purchased for this trip. It wasn’t actually zero cost, but because we would have needed to eat whether we were home or away and no additional cost was due to the trip, it’s covered in our regular accounting for grocery spending. In addition to the oatmeal toppings, our friends provided tortellini soup for lunch, snacks and some beers. They also graciously covered our bill at a diner for breakfast on our departure day. Our ski trail passes were covered by a gift card we received in exchange for attending a time-share upgrade presentation (the retail value of the passes that day was $10 each). Even adding in fuel costs of $40, which is probably an overestimate, we had an amazing weekend trip for under $150.
This little ski weekend getaway made me rethink how I feel about short trips like this. January was such a long month and this time away gave us all a bit of respite and refreshment. We tend to be so focused on our big vacations and have worked to eliminate expensive short trips (for reasons that go beyond saving money). This trip was almost a hybrid staycation and we loved it. We hope to incorporate more weekend getaways like it in the future!
Have you discovered any cost-effective weekend getaways? Do you prefer to stay home instead? Any tips for not letting work concerns creep into your personal time?