Skiers love big storms that bring in big snow. That is, of course, unless you are at the airport trying to get to the slopes when said storm rolls in. Then you curse the storm and the havoc it wreaks on your travel plans.
Last winter, after years of trips to Deer Valley, we decided we should mix it up and I booked a four-day trip to Aspen connecting through Denver. The beauty of Park City/Deer Valley is that we can fly directly into Salt Lake and be at the mountain an hour after we land. Minimizing transitions is one of my chic family travel rules, but rules were meant to be broken, right?
We landed in Denver about 7:00 p.m. and when we went to the monitor to check on our connection into Aspen we were met with the dreaded "DELAYED." To make a long story short, there were no more flights on our airline (Frontier) that night, the roads were closed so shuttle/rental cars were not an option and the next flight Frontier could get us on was at 9:00 p.m. the following day. We stayed the night at an airport hotel (sadly they didn’t have a hotel in the terminal in Denver) hoping for an earlier flight the next day, but no go. So about 3:00 p.m. the day after we left home, we returned home, without skiing a single run.
Here’s the thing that really stung, other airlines were able to fly into Aspen all night. Reason? They were flying bigger planes. Who knew!? When traveling on US Airways I had deciphering their seat maps down to a science (for example, on some planes “exit row” just means there's no third seat in the first exit row), but it never occurred to me that the size of the plane would influence my ability to get to my destination.
So, the moral of the story is this: if you are flying into a small mountain airport during ski season and you have a choice of airlines, GO BIG! Book your flights on the airline that will be flying the biggest plane to your destination. It’s not fool proof, but it will increase your odds. Maybe rules weren't made to be broken after all.
Have any tips for winter travel? Share below.