Article | 3:58 min read

4 Cost-Saving Methods to Enjoy a Ski Trip

Budget and Save

Skiing has long been a favorite hobby for individuals seeking breathtaking views and exhilarating moments. But like other trips, skiing or snowboarding getaways will cost you money.

Here are four ways you can enjoy a future trip on the slopes without spending too much.

No. 1: Travel in the offseason

During the 2015-16 season, the National Ski Areas Association reported skier visits increased to 53.9 million [1]. This total was a slight uptick from 53.6 million visitors the prior season.

Some of the more popular destinations included the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest regions.

Given the sheer number of skiers, it's important you avoid peak travel times in order to save money. According to Time Money, Christmas, New Year's Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day are some of the busiest times of the year [2].

However, you'll have to research the opening and closing dates of individual resorts. A good source for this information is Colorado Ski [3]. Most resorts open their doors in November and welcome visitors until the spring.

Try scheduling a ski trip before or after the holidays and during a weekday. Another option is to wait until the tail end of the ski season to hit the slopes. Booking a ski trip toward the end of the season and at less popular resorts will save you a good chunk of change.

You should start planning early. Some resorts may offer discounts if you finalize plans one to two months in advance.

No. 2: Rent your gear

If you go skiing once or twice every year, you'll want to rent most of your gear. You aren't helping yourself out financially by spending hundreds of dollars on equipment that will sit unused in your closet.

However, you should at least buy a pair of boots. Try to find ones that fit well and can handle any conditions. Owning a pair of boots means you can easily carry them around and rent other gear as you see fit.

Another perk of renting equipment is you'll avoid paying baggage fees. Skis are a hassle to carry around, and airlines may charge you extra money depending on how many bags you're bringing. Additionally, every airline has specific policies regarding ski or snowboard equipment, Snowpak explained [4].

No. 3: Look for deals

Planning your ski trip in advance will also help you spot deals elsewhere throughout your itinerary. 

You of course need a place to stay on your trip. Yet, you don't always have to stay in a hotel close to a ski resort. To save money, consider lodging at a hotel or even a home a few minutes away.

Airbnb and other home-sharing applications are a viable alternative, particularly if you're part of a larger group. Evenly splitting the total cost ensures everyone pays their fair share. There's not a big incentive to spend a lot on lodging because you ideally won't be inside most of the time.

The internet is also helpful for finding deals and promotions. These can range from packages that include a hotel and ski pass to a resort or savings on gear rentals. Timing is your friend when looking for deals.

For instance, now is when you want to keep your eyes open for savings on ski trips around President's Day, Spring Break or other popular spring holidays. And if you really feel adventurous, consider heading to South America for a ski trip. The month of May is usually when trips to Chile or Argentina are discounted.

You may be surprised to find the number of companies offering ski promotions. Take Shell gas stations: Starting in early 2017, you can claim a voucher from some Shell locations and receive one free ski day at a participating resort [5]. You'll just need to purchase 10 gallons of gas or more.

No 4: Choose the right pass

According to The Penny Hoarder, choosing the right type of pass is important [6]. Common passes include:

  • Single-day
  • Multi-day
  • Half-day
  • Multi-mountain
  • Season

Single-day passes are ideal if you visit many slopes and only plan one trip annually. If you're an avid skier, a multi-mountain or season pass is suitable. You'll want to tally up costs and benefits to decide which pass is right for you. Keep in mind that some resorts offer additional amenities to season pass holders. Common perks include cheaper food, merchandise sales and free ski lessons.

Skiing can very easily drain your wallet if you don't watch your spending. But if you plan ahead and look for deals, you can enjoy the slopes and save money.

[1]. Skier Visits Up to 53.9 Million in 2015-16

[2]. 6 Ways to Save on Your Ski Vacation

[3]. Resort Season Dates

[4]. Airline Ski & Snowboard Bag Fees

[5]. Ski Free

[6]. 8 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Ski or Snowboard Trip


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