Nothing caps off the holidays quite like powdery turns on a snowy mountainscape followed by hot chocolate and a crackling fireplace. Ski resorts and mountain towns are perfect for enjoying the season’s magic. There’s just one proviso, ski resorts and mountain towns are especially popular this time of year and the entire world has vacation time from about Dec. 20 through January 2. For the skier or snowboarder who waits to plan their Christmas ski vacation, this means that they’ll have trouble pinning down ideally situated accommodations which equates to more time spent parking rather than skiing. It also means you could end paying more than you have to.

As 22-plus-year ski travel veterans, our Mountain Travel Experts have to give the unfortunate news to late Holiday bookers year after year that their preferred accommodations are not available. To help you experience a flawless and efficient Christmas ski vacation, we compiled some insider recommendations.

1. Take advantage of early-booking Holiday deals

Right now, several top ski accommodations across the U.S. are offering limited-time discounts during Holiday travel periods. These lodging deals start at 25% off and destinations include Aspen, Snowmass, Beaver Creek, Vail, Steamboat and Squaw.

2. Save money and time and purchase your lift tickets, Epic Pass or Ikon Pass in advance

If you’re planning to ski five or more days over the holidays at one of the Epic Pass or Ikon Pass resorts or at multiple resorts, you’ll save money by purchasing one of these passes in advance. But don’t wait, the pricing will go up as ski season approaches and the sale typically ends mid November. In addition, you’ll avoid waiting on the long lift ticket lines since both the Epic Pass and Ikon Passes are mailed out or in the case of previous Epic Pass holders will become activated as soon as payment is received.

3. Make advanced dining reservations

Experiencing world-class dining during your Holiday ski trip is must, but like everything else, availability will be limited the longer you wait. Our Mountain Travel Experts advocate for making advanced restaurant reservations and can provide recommendations on where to eat, too.