Uncrowded skiing and boarding are as easy as taking a few midweek vacation days!

More than one skier or snowboarder has called in sick during the week to savor uncrowded slopes at reduced lift ticket prices. Some ski areas have gotten into trouble encouraging people to do just that.

"We'd never go that far," says Wright Tilley, executive director of the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, " but it's definitely worth taking a midweek vacation day or two to have Boone-area ski slopes to yourself. And if saving money is your goal," Tilley says, "midweek skiing is a recession-savvy strategy."

The average skier in NC spends $131 a day, according to a study of the 2009-2010 ski season conducted for the NC Ski Area's Association. Midweek skiers can significantly chop that total with substantially reduced rates for lift tickets, lodging, lessons and more.

The price of daytime adult lift tickets drops up to 50% during the week in the High Country!

Ticket prices for students and children, for night skiing or afternoon sessions, all see similar cuts. Better yet, multi-day tickets dip even more substantially.

Lodging is another cost that declines when competition for accommodations thins out midweek. Rates at the wide range of Boone area hotels and motels drop an average of 40% during the week. In general, weekday rates at Boone area B&Bs also decline up to 20% from weekend highs. Take a few or more days off during the week and a real escape from the routine can be inexpensive and invigorating. Or romantic-especially if you target Valentine's Day.

The same kind of midweek price declines occur with ski lessons, a critical factor in the fun and affordability of skiing.

"No one would suggest making a habit of keeping children out of school," Tilley says, "but school schedules vary, especially for college age students. With proper planning, many teachers understand the value of family time on the slopes, especially when you consider the importance we're starting to place on healthy outdoor exercise."

Tilley says, "Skiing is often at its best midweek, especially if you have the flexibility to watch the weather and come up when slope conditions are perfect. Add cost savings to that, and you come close to skiing three days for the price of two."