Skiers and riders are usually independent-minded travelers who know what they like and where they like their snow.

But tour operators often can provide bargains not found elsewhere. Spring snow vacations are just weeks away, so act now.

VacationRoost, for instance, can get you 25 percent off at North Lake Tahoe; as much as 40 percent off at Shadow Ridge in Park City; a third night free at Alta’s Peruvian Lodge; or a fourth night free at ResortQuest in [R440R] Sun Valley. 

You’ll want to move fast for these deals from Ski the Rockies, which must be booked by Feb. 15:

Ski the Rockies can get you 30 to 40 percent off at Breckenridge, with discounted lift tickets. There are no black out dates, and the deal is valid through the end of the season. A sample of the Breckenridge offer is a condominium/hotel with a pool, hot tub, elevator, and underground parking.

A hotel room for five nights, with a four day interchangeable lift ticket, would be $705 a person, based on double occupancy, for March 1- 6, 2011. The price drops to $599 a person, again double occupancy, for March 27 to April 1, 2011.

A two-bedroom, two bath condo goes for $885 a person, based on four people in the unit, for seven nights, with a five-day interchangeable lift ticket, March 1-8; again that price drops to $675 a person, March 27 to April 3.

Shari Winter, sales manager, for Ski the Rockies suggested calling their toll-free number (see below) for prices on studios, one-bedroom units, and three-bedroom units, as well as to check your preferred travel dates.

She said that shorter and longer stays are available.

The interchangeable lift tickets are valid at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, with limited days at Vail and Beaver Creek.

There are also discounts for children’s lift tickets with Ski the Rockies packages.

A tour operator with the intriguing name of Ski Daddy can even show you a video of one of its special deals (link below), this one at the Winter Park Mountain Lodge at Winter Park Resort. You get a hotel room with two queen-sized beds with lodging March 12 to 14, checking out on March 15, skiing March 13 to 15, plus ski rentals in the hotel, and all taxes and surcharges.

Ski Daddy can do this for $350 per adult 13 and older based on four people in the room; $385 per adult with three in the room; or $450 per person if you each want a queen-size bed.

Ski.com has nearly 500 specials on their website. Challenged to pick out a sample of the “best of the best,” a spokesman cited a variety:

Park City: Powderwood Resort Condos, package ID 12013, buy two nights, get two nights free, a deal which is valid through April 15. the cost is as little as $452 per person with quad occupancy for four nights' lodging, and three-day lift tickets.

Crested Butte: package 10992, gets you four nights' lodging at the Elevation Hotel & Spa, between Feb. 27 and March 10, 2011. You get four-day lift tickets. This deal must be booked by March 7, 2011, and the cost starts at $709 per person, double occupancy.

Also at Crested Butte, package 10993 provides four nights lodging at the Grand Lodge, with four days of skiing, same dates, same deadline, from $599 per person, double occupancy.

Ski.com also has a deal in Switzerland, at Grindelwald, staying at the five-star Grand Regina Alpine Wellfit, package 11754, valid between Feb. 27 and April 30, 2011 for seven nights' lodging – double occupancy, daily breakfast buffet, first class Swiss transfer ticket, and resort taxes, for $2,430 per person.

Later in the season, March 26 to April 16, 2011, the Ski.com deal in Grindelwald, package 11756, gets you seven nights' lodging at the Boutique Hotel Belvedere, a four-star property, daily breakfast buffet, first class Swiss transfer ticket, and resort taxes, from $1114 per person, double occupancy.

Jeff Citron, president of the Vacation Group at Rocky Mountain Getaways, told OnTheSnow his company can get you 35 percent off lodging at Park City or Deer Valley with fourth or fifth nights free at base area accommodations. Citron said to use their toll-free number or website to submit a vacation quote request.

Alpine Adventures is touting its Switzerland Luxury package, number 71331, between Feb.12 and March 28, 2011. For $2,439 per person, double occupancy, you get a superior double room with a Harder-Interlaken view at the Victoria-Jungfrau Spa. This deal includes a “rich” buffet breakfast, free use of pool, whirlpools, sauna, steam bath, and the fitness/gymnastic facilities,  plus service and VAT (excluding the city tax), a second class Swiss transfer ticket, and a six-day adult Jungfrau lift ticket. 

More information: Vacation/Roost 888-337-6678; Ski the Rockies 800- 291-2588; Ski Daddy 888- 448-4754; Ski.com 800-264-4006; Rocky Mountain Getaways 866-764-3829; Alpine Adventures 800-755-1330.