The City Slicker’s Guide to Ski Travel:

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by JD on December 28, 2012

The City Slicker’s Guide to Ski Travel:

City folk - we tend to be in a hurry, a little demanding, and in desperate need to short circuit potential hassles. Logistically smooth processes are at a premium so that the allure of the mountains is fully realized.  Our experience as a Chicago based family of 5 who regularly travel to Park City can serve as a benchmark for our fellow metropolitan travelers.

Transportation Options to the Airport:

In my married without kids days we schlepped ski gear on the “El” many times for $2.25 per ride /per person ; however, let’s be honest, the idea of kids, ski gear, and luggage on the train to O’Hare - probably ain’t happening.  More realistic options include:

  1. A Private Car (SUV or Van) for a family of 5 to the Airport $95-$100 (one-way).
  2. Parking in a remote lot near an airport and shuttling to the airport anywhere from $55 to $85 a week.
  3. The friends or family drop-off:  the implied promise of a bottle of Kistler Cuvee Elizabeth ( ) for the trouble.

Gear Transport Options:

OK, the Volkls and your perfectly dialed-in Lange boots are along for the ride.  Most airlines generally accept one item of ski equipment per customer as checked baggage as long as it is securely encased in a suitable container. 

  1. A reasonable assumption for a family of 5, counting skis and boots for the adults, (each counts as 1 checked bag) might generate 7 checked bags and amounting to $245 in baggage fees.
  2. Alternatively, one could forward skis with a service like Luggage Forward which runs about $168 (roundtrip) from Chicago to Park City.
  3. Ok you are bringing your Lange boots but leaving the Volkls at home.  Why not demo a new pair of skis every day!
  4. Finally, if your family has settled on a go-to destination that you intend to ski every year then renting a storage unit is the long term winning option.  We keep every shred of our family’s gear in a good size storage locker at Summit Storage ($42/month) dramatically reducing logistics issues and yielding untold matrimonial harmony.

Transport from the Airport to Park City:

If you have ideas of traversing all parts of the Wasatch outside of Park City then a rental car makes sense. 

  1. Premium rental car companies Hertz and Avis will run $600-$900 a week whereas some of the smaller companies you can secure a small SUV fitting 5 from $400-$500 a week. 
  2. If you plan on staying with Park City and frequenting any or all of the 3 resorts then a roundtrip  shuttle service (Luxury SUV up to 5 people) runs about $360 .
  3. Park City has a free bus service ( that gets you and your family in and around the 3 resorts easily. If you do not rent a car we highly recommend this resource.

Lift Tickets:

If avoiding lines, advanced planning, or finding excellent deal appeals to you then getting a jump on tickets with PCMR’s lift ticket channel ( where saving up to 35% is within your reach. Also within the Chicagoland area Costco offers excellent multi-day passes for PCMR.

Choose wisely and within parameters that fit your family’s tolerances and patience and enjoy your vacation.






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Comment posted by Kristen on December 28, 2012 12:28 PM MST

Great tips, J.D.!!!

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