Useful Tips No Matter Where you Ski or Ride this Season
In this Issue:
- Airline Baggage Rules & Surcharges: Don’t be Clubbed at the Counter!
- Cool New Whistler Blackcomb Videos!
- Get Your Free Exclusive Whistler Activities & Services Perks
- Blast Furnace Turkey & Other Turkey Resources for Skiers & Riders!
Whistler's base is at 95 cm/37 ins. It's really cold, the snow machines are blasting, and more snow will roll in on Saturday and Sunday.
Today's issue will help you out no matter where you ski or ride this year.
Start your airfare search on the new breed of “flight sites”: Aggregators.
These airfare search engines save you time by simultaneously checking airfares on hundreds of different airline and travel agency sites. They also offer web tools that allow you to:
- Compare prices
- View & compare fares on sites like Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity and Orbitz in a single search
- Research current AND historical fares
- Discover the cheapest fares to your target destination as identified by other savvy fare searchers.
- Automatically track & alert yourself to lowest fares 24/7 while you sleep
Kayak.com is our favorite aggregator site for its simplicity, speed, vast selection and smart tools.
We also like the fact that the airlines aren't paying them a commission, which could save you some money. Be sure to check out Kayak's Fare Alert, and Buzz. They also have great Low Fare Search Tips.
Other useful aggregators include:
- Farecast : has excellent predictor tools, as well as historical fare statistics. Use this in addition to Kayak.
- Sidestep: gets an honorable mention because it searches 200+ sites.
Still Don't like Aggregators? Make Your Beloved Online Travel Agencies (Expedia & Travelocity) Work for you While you Sleep
If you're love-bound to online travel agencies and won't check out aggregators, then make your favorite sites work harder and better for you:
Simple 4-Step Strategy for Finding the Best Fares
- Step #1 - Check the aggregators mentioned above.
- Step #2 - Then check individual online agencies like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com or Orbitz.com.
- Step #3 - Before you book, check airline sites directly to confirm that you are getting the best deal. Sometimes you can get better pricing by booking directly and avoiding the booking fee that some online travel agency sites charge the airlines. In addition, some independent airlines do not offer their fares up to aggregators.
- Step #4 - Check baggage allowances before you book! What you save on airfares could bite you on ridiculous baggage rules, as we demonstrate in the next section!
Once you’ve found that irresistible airfare, check the baggage allowances.
Many discount airlines will clobber skiers and riders on baggage fees.
I recently paid the equivalent of 2 extra seats worth of extra baggage costs on a discount airline. The fare was a bargain on Expedia, providing that you weren’t bringing more than a purse. This unfortunate fact only became apparent at the check-in counter, where the only option was to pay.
We assessed baggage restrictions and punishments for Air Canada, West Jet, United, American and the new cool Asian upstart, Oasis Hong Kong. Also included are some handy links to get the most up-to-date information.
Bottom Line Findings
- Check baggage allowances carefully before booking your flights. Weigh your bags and pack strategically.
- What you save on airfare may require payment on baggage fees. Do the math and figure out whether to bring it, rent it or pay more on another airline.
Grab and Go Airline Summary: What You Need to Know Now:
- Oasis Hong Kong isn't skier/rider friendly due to their small baggage allowance and hefty overweight fees, which are per kg, not per bag. Either rent your gear in resort, or buy it when you arrive and ship it back through another method than via baggage.
- The Rest of the Pack waive oversize restrictions & fees for your gear, but overweight restrictions still apply.
- American & Unitedhave the most generous baggage allowances.
- WestJet has great fares , but smaller total weight allowances. If you're a light traveler or renting your gear in the resort, it's your best bet. Alternatively, they have the cheapest overweight fees, which are per bag. It may still be cheaper to book with them and pay their fee if you exceed their total weight allowance.
- Air Canada may be dodgy because when we started our research, full oversize fees applied to everyone with no skiier/rider concessions. They recently changed their policy and started waiving oversize fees, but only for tickets purchased before December 12, 2007.
- Air Canada Warning: If you buy your ticket after December 11, 2007, you must register your oversize gear prior to check-in. If you don't surrender your email address and subject yourself to their marketing, you must pay full oversize fees for your gear. Not cool in our books.
- Check the weight and size restrictions on your airline just before you pack!
- It's not good enough just to check their web site. Check the fine print on your ticket too! You may need it to make your case against extra fees at the check-in counter.
- Try to choose airlines that waive oversize restrictions for skis and snowboards.
- Do the math and figure out what makes more sense: rent your gear, pay the extra baggage fees, or pay higher airfare for better baggage allowances.
- Weigh ALL your bags before you leave for the airport. Rearrange bag contents if necessary.
- Pack skis, poles & boots into the same bag if you can. If it weighs too much, put your boots in your luggage bag & stuff them with socks & other clothing. Move some lightweight, puffy clothing to your ski/board bag. It will also soften any blows on your boards.
- Put your helmet in your luggage & stuff it with clothes.
- Remove old baggage tags.
- If you have lots of gear, arrive 2.5 hours early for check-in.
- Don't use bungee cords to secure your bags.
- Secure loose handles, hooks and straps.
- Photograph your gear before you check it.
- Label each piece with your full contact information. Put a copy of this information INSIDE your bag, as well.
- Pack your keys, valuables, lodging check-in information and other vital stuff in your carry-on bag.
*Disclaimer: this information can change on the airline sites at any time. Be sure to check directly on your airline site AND ticket just before packing to get the most up to date information.
# Bags/Person & Excess Bag Fees
Maximum Size (length+height+width)
Weight Limit & Overweight Fees
# Bags/Person & Excess Bag Fees
Maximum Size (length+height+width)
Weight Limit & Overweight Fees
One checked bag is defined as:
Whistler opened early on Nov. 17th. Blackcomb opened Nov. 22nd. The videos below showcase the current excellent skiing conditions:
November 14th Conditions
Whistler Blackcomb Snowcast: Preparing for the Official Opening Day
Whistler & Blackcomb Mountains-November 22, 2007
Cool Independent YouTube Video: Shot November in Harvey's Trees in Harmony Bowl on Whistler Mountain (we think....!)
Other Independent YouTube Videos
This shot was taken above Bagel Bowl on Whistler Mountain:
Whistler ProRide Reports on Opening Day: Nov. 17th!: Check out Whistler Pro-Ride for Top=Rated Snowboard Camps
Footage on Whistler Mountain: Nov. 17 2007:
More Whistler Mountain on Opening Day:
Rip TV's Birth of the Twin Tip Skis
Book directly with our local activity partners to save a bundle on popular activities like ziplining and snowmobiling.
Here is how:
1. Visit the secret newsletter subscribers discount page
2. Download the discount customer code sheet using the password: ilovesnow
3. Book directly with our partners & claim your rewards by quoting their associated customer code.
Instead of paying us a referral commission, our partners pass on the equivalent value to you as direct booking discounts!
Turkeys are running scared for the next 6 weeks.
Renting a vacation home means that you can create a fantastic holiday roast, even while you are on vacation.
Here are some tested turkey techniques to get you out skiing/riding or enjoying your friends/family on the same day that you pull the feast out of your tuque!
Secret: This strategy helps me get on the slopes on the day I have to deliver the feast. It delivers the juiciest roasts I have ever had. A sympathetic butcher recommended this fail-safe method to me the first time I had to do a feast without Mom. Here are 4 additional secrets:
- Rinse the outside and fill the cavity with a kettle full of boiling water - let it sit for 1-2 minutes & empty the cavity. This rapidly seals the meat and gets the bird cooking from the inside-out.
- Stuff the bird with warm stuffing.
- Rub canola oil on the outside of the bird
- Keep the bird covered up until the last 35 minutes-the skin will brown, not burn. Let the bird rest for 30 mins after taking it out of the furnace.
Remember, it doesn't really matter where you're skiing/riding this year, just as long as you do it, and have a blast.
If you're coming to Whistler, check out our community of 565+ independently-managed and top-located Whistler vacation homes. If you don't find what you want right away, check back daily-6 more homes with open availability will be added shortly.
Vacation homeowners & small local managers are regularly adding their vacation homes to our community so that they can serve you personally. That means that your ideal retreat and personal service are never out of reach.
You can also score some discount lift tickets on the site.
If you're not coming to Whistler, renew your mountain love at another hill.
You'll feel better, laugh more and maybe even see the world and your life through a better lens!
After all, isn't that what vacations are for?
Until next time,