DNC Parks & Resorts
Stay in an unheated tent cabin at Yosemite's Curry Village and pay what the previous night's low was as your rate. If low is below zero? They pay you.
HOW COLD CAN YOU GO: The hospitality industry is a business that needs long-range information on the books. It can't necessarily turn on a dime or even a dollar; rooms are priced at certain levels because companies want to hit certain goals in certain quarters. So when the Curry Village wintertime deal rolls around each year, we always pause and marvel a little. That's because the Yosemite National Park stay-over spot lets Mother Nature set the price on rooms in the chillier months. Not an accountant and not a committee but rather the climate, the weather, and the change in the wind. Nope, this is definitely not typical of the hospitality industry.
BUT IT IS MEMORABLE: Here is how the Curry Village Temp-RATE-ture offer works: Book a night in one of the camp's unheated tent cabins during a specified period (usually falling the late autumn and winter). The cost of your overnight will be equal to the low of the night before. Make sense? So if you stay on a Tuesday night, and the Monday night low was 9 degrees, you're paying nine bucks.
A FEW FROSTY FACTOIDS: You'll need to put a deposit down to reserve, and that's $39. But you won't pay over that, for your overnight, even if the low the night before tops out at, say, 42 or 43. You're paying 39. If the low is below zero, Curry Village pays you. Brrr. And the National Park Service is the weather data-collector here, so the low will be determined by one sole outfit (and not a bunch of guests vowing that their thermometers are correct).
It's frigid tradition in one of the heartiest, hale-est landscapes on the planet, and the rugged and aspiring rugged bundle up to give a Curry Village winter night a try. Those thick wool socks that Aunt Susan made you last year? Pack those, for sure.