SKI BUMS :: Gay & lesbian skiing and snowboarding club
DECEMBER UPDATE: our trip to Telluride is now SOLD OUT. The Telluride add-on is no longer available for new signups. If you are already signed up for Telluride, you may still add the Vail trip while space is available for Vail. We've designed this trip with the option to combine it with our trip to Telluride, Colorado -- which ends on the day this trip begins. Although Vail and Telluride are not exactly close to one another, they are two of the very best ski resorts in the USA, and they make for a wonderfully impressive duo.
We are providing a complimentary ground transfer for those who sign up for both trips. If you're taking both trips, we recommend booking your flights with United Airlines; it'll give you the most flight times and schedule flexibility. It's probably best to pick up the phone and give them a call; we recommend a multi-city itinerary that follows the following pattern:
+ Weds, Mar 4:Fly into Montrose (MTJ) + Sun, Mar 8: Take a ground transfer for a 4.5 hour drive from Telluride to Vail. We'll help coordinate this complimentary transfer for all who take the combined trip. + Fri, Mar 13: Fly out of Vail Eagle (EGE) to your destination
If you can avoid the drive from Vail to Denver, you'll be glad you avoided the notoriously horrible traffic along the I-70 corridor.
We reserve the right to cancel, reschedule, or make changes in the trip itinerary as a result of weather or safety considerations or as otherwise deemed necessary or advisable. If your trip is cancelled or rescheduled due to weather, snow, or mountain conditions, or circumstances beyond our control, you will receive a full credit for a future trip. All trip credits may be applied to any trip in the SKI BUMS future. There is no expiration date.
SKI BUMS is not responsible for the cost of any additional expenses that you may incur as a result of trip rescheduling or cancellation (airline ticketing fees, etc.).
To use a credit for a future deposit or payment, please contact us directly.
Through September 1, you may cancel your spot at any time and receive a full refund. After September 1, the following cancellation fees apply:
For cancellations received from September 1 - 30, $200 fee. For cancellations received from October 1 - November 31, $500 fee. After December 1st, 2014: no refund.
In order to obtain our bulk group discounts, we must agree to a very strict cancellation policy. It's the nature of group travel. Think of your SKI BUMS booking as you would an airline reservation; even we find someone to take your place, the cancellation fees still apply.
If you buy travel insurance, you can still receive a refund for a cancelled SKI BUMS trip.
Buy travel insurance. We cannot stress this enough.
A travel insurer can provide a refund even when SKI BUMS cannot. In the circumstance that you need to cancel your trip because of work or health reasons, you should purchase travel insurance within 30 days of your initial trip deposit.
Even if you purchase travel insurance after this date, some coverage is much better than no coverage at all. Our cancellation policy is strict, and after cancellation fees kick in, a travel insurer may be your only chance for a full refund.
There are many travel insurers, and policies are very affordable. We especially recommend travelinsured.com, and suggest you add the sports package to cover skiing & snowboarding activity.
You may pay with any major credit card, cash or check. We use PayPal to process online credit card payments. PayPal is the internet's most trusted online payment portal, and you do not need to be a PayPal member to submit a payment.
If you would ever like to use PayPal to send a manual payment (from a smartphone, for example), our account address is: payments (at) ski-bums.org.
The Sebastian is Vail’s newest and most stylish boutique luxury hotel. A member of the Preferred Hotel Group, this high-end property knows how to keep its cool -- its low-key style matches chic design with outdoorsy charm. It may have world class art on its walls, but no one here is stuffy and pretentious -- a perfect fit for a fun-loving group like the BUMS. If a great hotel is high on your priority list, this trip is one of our very best to choose -- it's where Michelle Obama brought her daughters when they vacationed in Vail not long ago. Read the hotel's rave reviews >
Located in the heart of Vail village, you'll rest your head just steps away from Vail's best restaurants, shops and galleries. When it's time to head out on the mountain, the lifts are about an eight-minute walk, or you can hop a ride in the hotel's complimentary shuttles. The hotel offers a complimentary ski valet right at the snow's edge -- simply hand off your skis or board before enjoying some après!
The hotel features a beautiful outdoor heated pool and four hot tubs, an on-site spa with a sauna and steam room, two excellent restaurants and a workout facility. Rooms enjoy free WiFi, a well-stocked mini bar, complimentary welcome refreshments and nightly turndown service.
Your trip includes a four day lift ticket for Vail and Beaver Creek.
Because Vail and Beaver Creek are owned by the same corporation, our lift ticket will work for both ski resorts. On the official group itinerary, we plan ski / ride for 3 days at Vail and 1 and Beaver Creek, but you'll have complete flexibility in terms of where you'd like to go each day. If you have season tickets (or the Epic Pass), contact us to remove your lift tickets (-$375).
Our trip includes two prepaid dinners at some of the area's best restaurants, including a return to the delicious Terra Bistro. For our group meals, we can easily accommodate those with special diets. We'll have group dinner reservations on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday is a free night for you to make dinner plans with new friends, or take an evening to relax and order in.
As always, we'll name a meeting spot for lunch each day. Breakfasts are easy to come by; the Sebastian has a great on-site cafe, and there are numerous breakfast cafes within Vail village.
We are happy to arrange roommates for you. Typically, half of our participants ask us to match them up with a roommate. We'll ask a few easy questions and accommodate your preferences.
If you prefer your own room, you may sign up for the trip in a single occupancy category. Please note: there are a very limited number of single occupancy slots available.
About a third our participants rent skis or snowboards -- in part to avoid traveling with extra bags. Rentals are not included in our trip price; you should budget about $160 USD for a 4-day rental. There are many rental shops at Vail; we'll email all participants with a specific rental shop recommendation. Our on-mountain days are Monday through Thursday.
SKI BUMS designs our season for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, but we make specific recommendations for each trip. On ALL SKI BUMS trips, we begin by dividing into skill level groups so you can identify those who enjoy the same terrain that you do. See how our groups work > Beginners: We highly recommend this trip for beginners. Unlike many ski resorts, Vail's got green circle runs at the top of the mountains. You can take a gondola to the peak, then enjoy a special beginners area with some of the most majestic views in Summit County. Beaver Creek is similarly great for new skiers and riders, and the ski school here is especially good. If you've got questions or could use some extra assistance while signing up, please contact us.
Intermediate:We can't recommend this trip any more highly. About a third of Vail's 5,289 skiable acres are marked with a blue square, and it's some of the most varied, fun-loving terrain anywhere in the skiing and snowboarding world. You'll go gaga for Blue Sky Basin, a gently sloped natural playground that's dotted with trees and rolling hills -- it'll make you feel like a kid again. If you're ready to push yourself toward steeper terrain, the wide open bowls are awfully exciting. Advanced:We very strongly recommend this trip for advanced skiers and boarders. The terrain variety within the Vail valley is impressive, with every kind of terrain feature you can imagine: bowls, glades, chutes and wide-open slopes with eye-popping vistas. For many people, Vail's Back Bowls are the best place on earth to be on a powder day; you might never want to ski or ride anywhere else. Beaver Creek's home of one of the most famous black diamond runs in the USA, the famous Bird of Prey run, where the USA's most prestigious world cup skiing race is held annually.
Expert:Although Vail isn't as famous for its steeps as, say, Jackson Hole, there's more than enough terrain here to thrill the highest level skiers and snowboarders. The Front Face features a handful of double black diamonds that run right beneath the chairs; you'll have an eager audience when you're ready to show off.
Air transportation is not included. Read these recommendations closely before buying airfare. Vail-Eagle (EGE) is the airport we recommend for this trip. If you'd prefer to fly into Denver and drive (or take a shuttle), be sure to allow extra travel time for traffic (although you'll be going against the normal traffic flow!). Budget $200 for a round-trip shared shuttle from / to Denver.
If you are combining this trip with our trip to TELLURIDE (March 4 - 8), see below for specific recommendations.
PLANNING YOUR AIR TRAVEL
You'll want to be smart about buying your airfare, keeping our itinerary and potential winter weather delays in mind. Many winter flights haven't been scheduled yet; we recommend waiting until late October to purchase your flight. View the flight schedule to / from EGE > RECOMMENDATIONS |ARRIVAL: to make sure you don't miss our meet & greet, please plan to arrive in EGE by 3 PM. It's about a 45-minute ride from the airport to Vail Village, and ideally, you'll want to give yourself some time to rest, hydrate, eat dinner, pick up rentals, etc. before our 8 PM gathering. | DEPARTURE: Friday is a travel day; book your flight at whatever time seems best for you, but keep this in mind: ground transfers usually pick up at our hotel about 3 hours before your flight time. In Vail, an early departure makes for a very early alarm clock.
Some participants may choose to stay in Colorado through the end of the weekend; connect with the other BUMS on Facebookif you'd like to coordinate travel with others. See "Trip Extensions," below.
+ Sun Mar 8: Travel day; aim to land in Vail-EGE by 2 PM. 8 PM meet & greet at our hotel.
+ Mar 9 to 12: Ski and ride Vail and Beaver Creek (4 days)
+ Fri Mar 13: Travel day; depart for home
It's about a 45-minute drive from EGE to Vail village. About 3 weeks before the trip, contact Colorado Mountain Express to arrange your ground transfer and tell them SKI BUMS sent you. You should budget about $90 for a round-trip transfer. They also offer transfers between Denver and Vail, (about $200 round-trip). View rates >
In 1962, the Vail valley was completely uninhabited; just ten years later, Vail was on its way to becoming one of America's first ski resorts with iconic status. Today, Vail welcomes more than 1.75 million visits per ski season, making it one of the most-visited ski resorts in the nation.
Thankfully, there's more than enough room to spread out. It's America's largest ski resort, with a gargantuan 5,289 skiable acres (2,140 hectares). There are three general areas here; the Front Side, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin, each with their own unique terrain features (and even, on some days, their own unique weather)! There are 31 lifts, three terrain parks, and terrific snowmaking and grooming. The Back Bowls stretch seven miles (11km) across, offering up some of the world's most expansive powder skiing and riding. This is a resort where there's truly something for everyone, and even beginners can enjoy terrific terrain with gorgeous 360° views.
At the base of the mountain, Vail’s village is the largest and most extensive of any in the USA, with dozens of shops, restaurants, galleries and gear outfitters. It's a great year-round destination.
About twenty minutes away, Beaver Creek offers up its own exciting adventure while avoiding many of the crowds that stick to Vail. It's classy in the best way, winning accolades for its grooming, and enjoying a lofty perch at #8 on Ski Magazine's list of the best North American ski resorts.
This trip probably isn't the best choice for non-skiers / non-boarders, but any chance to be in the mountains can make for a great getaway, and there are lots and lots of things to do here. If you've got a partner who doesn't ski or ride -- and they're cool doing their own thing during the day while we're on the mountain -- we say go for it. Contact us for a $375 discount and we'll remove lift tickets from the package.
Who's coming on the trip? Find out by joining our special Vail Facebook Group.
Whether you're simply curious about signing up or you're already on board, everyone's welcome to join our Facebook group. Feel free to invite friends, too -- it's a cool way to begin learning names of the skiers and boarders who you'll meet in the mountains!
Of course, weather is impossible to predict, but SKI BUMS plans our trips with an eye on weather history. Historically, Colorado's snowiest period is in March, and the snow storms generally continue well into April. Much of Vail's massive terrain is north-facing. When combined with its high altitude, snow preservation is particularly good here. The second week of March is a perfect time to visit Vail and Beaver Creek!
Cars aren't necessary while we're in Vail. Everything you'll need is within walking distance, and there's an excellent system of public buses which serves the entire Vail Valley. If you'd prefer to drive, the hotel offers paid parking.
Vail is the largest ski resort in the USA, but its reputation is even larger than its terrain. Talk to skiers and snowboarders around the world, and Vail is one of the best American ski resorts that everyone's heard about.
On the weekends, its popularity shows; the lift lines can really slow down your pace. That's why the BUMS requested a trip here during the week -- from Sunday to Friday -- when it's nearly empty. You're invited to enjoy a five-night stay at the Sebastian, one of the coolest ski resort hotels in the West. Not long ago, the family of the President stayed here.
Nearby Beaver Creek enjoys its own sparkling reputation. This classy resort features some of the world's best grooming, and the posh atmosphere extends from the peaks to the base areas; they hand out free warm cookies and cocoa at the lifts every afternoon.
This trip has a minimum of 20 participants and a maximum of 50 participants. If we fail to meet our minimum number of registered participants by 100 days before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. In that event, those who have signed up for the trip will receive a full refund. Update, November 2014: we have met our minimum.
Here a few quick steps to help you prepare for our trip!
GET OUT THERE | This trip is at the peak of peak season; it might be tough to make it through four days of skiing and riding if you haven't been out on the slopes yet. Be sure to get in some days earlier in the winter. PLAN FOR HIGH ALTITUDE | Vail is one of the highest ski resorts in the world; the elevation of the town (8,120' / 2474m) is higher than the peaks of many ski resorts. Start hydrating a few days before traveling and plan to rest and hydrate even more upon arrival. You may want to consider a regimen of ibuprofen or diamox before travel.
NEED NEW GEAR? | SKI BUMS members get excellent discounts at Backcountry.com. 30%-50% off! WATCH THE WEATHER |Remember that the weather at upper altitudes is very different from what's happening down in town; be sure to follow an on-mountain forecast like this one to see what's happening up at the ski resort.
+ The newest, coolest hotel in Vail + Chic, stylish design with a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere + Fun celeb factor; famous guests + Right in the heart of Vail village + On-site spa with sauna, steam room, outdoor heated pool & four outdoor hot tubs + Complimentary ski valet: pick up and drop off your equipment right at the edge of the slopes
SKI BUMS is coordinating a combined trip for those who would like to precede this trip with our adventure in Telluride. You can add the Telluride trip at a later date, provided space is available.
Aside from this combined trip, SKI BUMS cannot assist with trip extensions, and we cannot provide roommates for those who are booking additional nights on their own. We do encourage you to coordinate with other trip participants, and our Facebook page is the most enjoyable way to do so.
If you routinely experience altitude sickness when traveling to higher altitudes, we recommend arriving in Vail a day or two early to give your body time to adjust. Contact us with questions.
Our trip leaders design an itinerary that gives you the best way to explore the terrain and get to know your fellow BUMS. It's published in a printed handout and updated on a devoted Twitter feed, with up-to-the-minute announcements you can receive on your cell phone.
The on-mountain adventure begins bright and early on Monday. We divide into skill level groups that help you identify the other skiers and snowboarders who enjoy the same terrain that you do, and then we divide and conquer the mountain! Learn about our skill level groups. > Each day, the itinerary will name a meet up time and place each morning to get things started. We gather as a big group for lunch, and toast to the end of each day with après-ski... before hitting the hotel's outdoor hot tubs! In general, you'll spend most of the day in a smallish group of four or five skiers or boarders. You and your group will set your own pace, and it's common to mix it up with a few different groups throughout the week. This is your vacation, so you're always free to break away and do your own thing.
For three of our evenings, we'll dine together at some of the areas best restaurants (see "Meals," above). Tuesday night is free for you to enjoy as you like -- you may want to head out on the town with your new friends, or take a night to chill out with room service in our hotel. The BUMS who take our trips to Vail are here to ski and board, first and foremost -- and after a hard-charging day on the mountain, you'll sink into our plush hotel beds for a very good night's sleep!
Our rooms in Vail are guaranteed after 4 PM on Sunday, March 8th. If you arrive earlier, the hotel can store your bags until your room is ready.
After checking in, you'll want to explore Vail, get some grub, get acquainted and pick up any rental ski / snowboard equipment. There's a convenient ski and snowboard valet inside the hotel.
Our trip officially begins with a meet & greet welcome reception at the Sebastian at 8 PM. You don't want to miss this; our trip leaders will hold a brief welcome and info session, and you'll receive your lift tickets, SKI BUMS member tags and the official trip itinerary.
+ Four day lift ticket for Vail / Beaver Creek + Two delicious pre-paid dinners + Five night stay at the Sebastian at Vail + Welcome reception & party + SKI BUMS professional trip leaders + Optional: ground transfer from Telluride (for combined trip)
+ Air transportation + Ground transportation + Ski and snowboard equipment rental + Lunches, drinks at our dinners + Travel insurance (very highly recommended)
$2199 USD per person, for double occupancy room
-- or --
$3199 USD per person, for a single occupancy
You have two options. You may pay in full at signup, or you may pay $500 deposit at signup, with:
Those who are also signing up for Telluride may pay for both trips at one time, or pay in separate transactions. Each trip is priced separately, and you may choose different occupancy types for each.
Late payments are subject to a 5% late-payment fee. It is up to you to submit your payments on time. You may always pay early.
Space is limited, and this trip is now SOLD OUT.
Anyone registered SKI BUMS may join our wait list. There's no obligation, but only those who are currently registered members will receive an offer.
Sign up or renew your membership > If a space becomes available, we notify you on a first-come, first-served basis. You'll be given a window of time to accept or decline the offer. If you choose to accept the spot, payment is required at the time of signup.
Please do not contact us to ask us your likelihood of receiving a wait list offer; we can't predict when cancellations will come in.