A family eagerly looking forward to a snow sports vacation shows up at a resort, walks up to the registration desk with pre-paid paperwork confirming accommodations and learns they've been robbed.
It has happened two or three times at Snowshoe, said David Dekema, marketing director of the east-central West Virginia resort.
"A family member had gone on Craigslist, saw an offer or package they liked and thought they were dealing with an honest person," he said. "It's no way to book a ski/snowboard vacation. We did what we could for them, but the money they had paid was gone. It was an expensive lesson."
Mr. Dekema advises guests to deal directly with a resort or do their homework by confirming the existence of any offer with a resort before paying for a snow holiday that could be nonexistent.
He said Snowshoe reservationists work with callers to customize their visit, a practice that pleases guests and results in return visits.
Here's a sampling of packages available at local and regional resorts for the remainder of the season. Ask about money-saving Sunday through Thursday midweek packages. Weekdays are a great time to be on the snow with little to no waits for the chairlifts.
Its Snowstorm Special includes one night in a Four Seasons Lodge standard room that includes a microwave and mini-refrigerator, a Highlands ski/snowboard lift ticket, continental breakfast and access to the indoor pool and fitness center. The Sunday through Thursday package starts at $99 per person, per night, based on double occupancy.
The Valley Family Memories Package starts at $216 per person, double occupancy. Up to two children age 11 and younger receive free lodging, free skiing/snowboarding and free inclusion package when sharing a room with paying adults. It's an opportunity to introduce children to snow sports or have them practice their skills on comfortable beginner/novice terrain.
The package includes two nights accommodations in a Four Seasons Lodge standard room, unlimited skiing/snowboarding at Hidden Valley the day of arrival until close the day of departure, continental breakfast, one family-size one-topping pizza and one $15 gift card per adult.
Information: www.hiddenvalleyresort.com; 1-814-443-8000; One Craighead Drive, Hidden Valley, PA 15502.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
"Our best lodging package is back," resort officials said, referring to the "Simply the Best Package." They said it offers the best rates and the best opportunity to enjoy Nemacolin's many amenities with a $150 Resort Spending Credit.
The package, which runs through May 29, includes one-night accommodations in a lodge, chateau or townhouse, breakfast and the $20 a day resort fee. The fee covers valet parking, on-property shuttle service, Fitness Center, WiFi, local and toll-free calls, in-room coffee, newspaper, daily art tours and access to hiking and winter trails.
The lodge package starts at $299 midweek, $399 weekend. The chateau or townhouse package starts at $399 midweek, $529 weekend.
Information: www.nemacolin.com; 1-866-344-6957; 1001 Lafayette Drive, Farmington, PA 15437.
The Winter Family Memories Package, available Sundays through Thursdays, excluding holidays, costs $299 per adult, based on double occupancy. Up to two children age 11 and younger receive free lodging, free skiing/snowboarding and a free inclusion package when sharing a room with paying adults.
The package includes two nights of accommodations in the Main Lodge; unlimited skiing/snowboarding from 4 p.m. day of arrival until closing the day you check out; breakfast each morning; dinner buffet one evening; one family-sized one-topping pizza per room; one snow tubing session per person; one round of miniature golf per person; one game of bowling per person; one roller skating rental per person; one Bear Trap Fun Zone game card per child and access to the indoor swimming pool and fitness center.
Information: www.7springs.com; 1-800-452-2223; 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs, PA 15622.
The resort's standard Stay and Ski/Snowboard Free package includes lodging, lift tickets for two adults and two children (17 and younger who share their parents' room), use of the indoor/outdoor heated pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna and fitness room and continental breakfast.
Weekdays start at $311 per night; weekends start at $411 per night with a two-night minimum. If there are more than two adults in the room, the rate will increase by any lift tickets needed. The lift tickets are valid from 4 p.m. on arrival day until 4:30 p.m. on departure day.
The resort upgraded each of its 102 guest rooms at the Inn at Holiday Valley with new bedding, artwork, lighting and bath fixtures.
Holiday Valley has a three-lift guarantee. If fewer than three lifts are operating on the scheduled arrival day, guests may cancel with no penalty.
Information: www.holidayvalley.com; 1-800-323-0020; 6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville, NY 14731.
Peek'n Peak Resort and Spa
The Peak, as it's commonly known, has two Stay'n Ski/Snowboard Packages. Both provide lodging at the Inn at the Peak.
The first starts at $239 and includes four two-day lift tickets (two adult, two junior), a $30 dining credit and swimming passes to the indoor pool.
The second begins at $149 and includes two adult lift tickets and swimming passes to the indoor pool. Upgrades are available for most packages.
Information: www.pknpk.com; 1-716-355-4141; 1405 Olde Road, Findley Lake, NY 14736.
The Midweek Madness Package includes lodging at the Wisp Resort Hotel, a ski-in, ski-out venue, and a one-day lift ticket. It starts at $79 per person, per night, double occupancy, taxes included, and is available Sunday through Thursday, non-holiday.
The Slide & Ride Weekend Package starts at $159 per person, per night (with a two-night minimum), double occupancy, taxes included. It includes lodging in the hotel, a two-day lift ticket and one mountain coaster ride.
All hotel rooms have a refrigerator, coffee maker, individual climate control, high-speed wireless, cable TV, pay-per-view and other amenities. Each room also has a conveniently located ski/snowboard and boot locker.
Information: www.wispresort.com; 1-301-387-4000; 296 Marsh Hill Road, McHenry, MD 21541.
Canaan Valley spent $32 million to retrofit its 160-room new lodge into its old lodge, a two-year project that included the addition of an atrium-style lobby and more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space. The rooms feature luxury beds and linens, oversized bathrooms, flat-screen televisions and micro-fridges.
The Super Saver Ski/Snowboard Package includes a standard queen or king room, breakfast, a lift ticket, privileges at the Beech Club's heated pool, whirlpool and sauna, and all taxes and fees. It costs $84 per person, per night, double occupancy.
The Stay & Ski/Snowboard Package costs $99 per person, per night, double occupancy and includes a standard queen or king room, breakfast, lift ticket, a complete ski/snowboard rental package, Beech Club privileges and all taxes and fees.
The College Break Students Package includes all of the Stay & Ski Snowboard Package. It costs $89 per person, per night, double occupancy. Valid ID required.
The resort also has Midweek Cabin & Cottage Deals. Pay the regular rental rate the first night and get the second night at a 50 percent discount. Pay the regular rental rate for two nights and get the third night for free. A minimum two-night stay is required.
Information: www.canaanresort.com; 1-800-622-4121; 230 Main Lodge Road, Davis, WV 26260.
The Inn at Snowshoe, a full-service hotel just off Route 219 near the entrance to the six-mile road that leads up to the resort, provides a free daily shuttle to and from the mountain village.
The midweek/weekend rates are $104 and $126, respectively. Click on Hot Deals at www.snowshoemtn.com for last-minute lodging specials. The website also takes users to www.liftopia.com for discounted room and lodging deals. Look for wallet-friendly end-of-the-season deals on lodging and lift tickets in March.
Guests who go online at least three days in advance to purchase single or multiday lift tickets at ticketsale.snowshoe.com can save up to 63 percent.
Expedition Station, which has studios and multi-bedroom condos, has direct access to the slopes. The per-night cost for a junior studio deluxe with one queen bed ranges from $155 to $268.
The resort is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season. The Spa at Snowshoe opened in December with a salon, a "top of the line" fitness center and men's and women's locker rooms.
Information: www.snowshoemtn.com; 1-877-441-4386; 10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, WV 26209.
Lawrence Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.