Table of Contents
- 1. Save on equipment and gear
- 2. Save on tickets
- 3. Save on destination
- 4. Save on lessons
- 5. Save on travel
- 6. Save on stay
- 7. Save on food
- Think outside the box
Skiing and snowboarding are definitely fun winter activities. The thought of how much you will have to part with to have a complete memorable holiday for some is unthinkable. Considering that you could be paying dearly for literally every element be it a lift pass, accommodation night, flight ticket to your destination, food, and even parking especially around the holiday season. However, you don’t have to spend all that much money. You’ll part with some, yes. But not necessarily much if you take your time to trim your costs a bit.
Here are seven ski-holiday items that if you save on, you could still have your dream ski vacation but at a much lesser cost.
1. Save on equipment and gear
Buy your gear off-season
Buying skiing equipment at the start of spring is certainly different in terms of price, from buying them at the heart of winter. The difference in price is as significant as 50% and it only takes a little planning ahead to take advantage of low prices. In spring, the hype is on bikes and workouts so much that dealers of winter sports equipment will literally be wooing buyers with offers and discounts that are hard to come by if the same equipment were to be purchased in season.
You certainly don’t need the best of the best
You are on vacation period. Leave the best top-end equipment to the pro skier hoping to win the national championship. For your skiing holiday, an intermediate ski set will perform just as fine as the advanced ski gear along the black run and save you some $30 or more.
Consider renting equipment
If you are not a professional skier, you are merely holidaying so you don’t need equipment that will stay tucked away in the garage more than they will be used. Renting equipment saves you some valuable bucks and space too.
Renting on-mountain is costly
It’s definitely convenient to pick up your skiing gear and equipment right before hitting the snow trail. However, this comes at a premium. The downside of renting your equipment off-mountain is that much as it will be cheaper, you will have to drag the bulk along to the ground and back to the dealer shop at a cost. With good planning of transportation, this should be pretty much manageable. Also check out available services from dealers, which will help you get your equipment to the mountain with ease.
No-harm thinking pre-owned
If you are seriously on a budget, there is no harm getting yourself pre-owned skis and bindings. There are sites and dealers offering a good bargain on second-hand skiing items. What’s more, you may land quality gently used equipment which may be way better than the cost of renting them your entire vacation.
2. Save on tickets
Season’s package discount
Whether you are getting your discount on tickets or on your entire package, you will be cutting your budget big time. As a marketing strategy, hotels, restaurants, and transportation service providers will often partner with ski resorts to offer discounts to tourists. Such deals hardly come last minute so you need to book your package well in advance to take advantage of some of the best deals. Check out sites like Liftopia which list some great discount codes for lift tickets and ski packages. Alternatively, check out local clubs or check with your association if you belong to one for discount listings.
For instance, a 4-day Epic pass at $ 389 will grant an adult unlimited skiing in several ski resorts including Beaver Creek, Vail, Breckenridge, and Keystone in Colorado as well as Park City in Utah, and Perisher in Australia among others.
Lift ticket discounts
If you plan to purchase your ticket at the resort ticket window you will be making the most expensive purchase. First, lift tickets on the check-in day are up to 9% more expensive than the previous year and only 3% more expensive online. Point? Consider purchasing your tickets online.
Secondly, you may be saving up to 50% purchasing your ticket well in advance. Thirdly, you do not have to have scheduled a season’s package to have access to lift ticket discounts. Sites like Liftopia and GetSkiTickets have amazing offers on tickets if you check early enough.
Half-day tickets offer some savings
Families, especially those with young children may benefit from half-day tickets since they wouldn’t practically ski the entire time. Consider afternoon hours skiing for up to 20% or more discount and schedule your mornings and evenings for other vacation activities.
3. Save on destination
A destination is all about where you intend to spend your skiing vacation. High-end resorts like Vail, Jackson Hole, Deer Valley, and Aspen are obviously more expensive compared to resorts like Arapahoe Basin and Wolf Creek. Agreeably, this is the first and most important decision you will make about your vacation, which determines several other things. Consider the following;
Deciding to go to local ski resorts will save you a great deal of transportation and accommodation cost.
You don’t have to go to the ‘Big Name’ resorts to have a memorable vacation. There are plenty of undiscovered smaller resorts that will give you as much thrill. You get cheaper tickets and packages while enjoying less traffic on lift queues and on ski runs. The Colorado Gems Card, for instance, will accord you access to 10 small ski resorts including Echo mountain, Hesperus Resort, Sunlight Mountain Resort, and others at just $25.
The savings you make doing advanced bookings cannot be underestimated. Plain and simple.
4. Save on lessons
If you are on vacation as a family, you don’t have to pay for instructor-led instruction every day of your vacation, which may cost as much as $ 100 every day. Pick a few days for the lessons and leave the others for some family ski time together. The instructor you will select for your kids will also determine how much you pay for the lessons. A certified professional ski instructor will definitely charge more for their services. Take your time, you may end up getting a really good upcoming instructor on a lower level who will charge much less.
Private lessons could be expensive
It is a good option if you want to learn in a short time. However, if a private lesson will feature into your vacation package, it could end up being very expensive for you. Group lessons are way cheaper and also fun. After all, interacting with others could also spice up your holiday.
Kids ski free plans
Some ski resorts offer free lifts and lessons for families that sign up for longer vacations. Vail Resort, for instance, has on offer the Epic SchoolKids Program whereby children ski free or at a discounted rate. This could make a significant saving on your budget.
5. Save on travel
The cost of travel has two aspects, the cost of a flight and the cost of transfers.
As it is with other vacation elements, time is a determining factor when it comes to how much you will pay for your air ticket. Early planners will avoid last-minute season’s rush as it comes at a cost. In addition to choosing a flight that’s fair to your pockets, you need to consider baggage charges.
Specific flights like Virgin Atlantic and Swiss Air have some amazing cuts on baggage fees for those who own equipment and have to travel with them. Others will charge up to $50 for excess load. If it will be cheaper for you to rent ski equipment, by all means, consider this option, particularly if you will be there only a few days.
Secondly, consider off-peak booking, for instance, booking midweek or way before winter. This way, you will take advantage of the best offers.
Cost of transfers
There are several options for moving around your destination. You could opt to come with your own car or get a rental vehicle which happens to be convenient options but could cost you more in terms of gas, the rental, and parking fees. On the other hand, you could check out the city’s transit system. For instance, you only need to plan around the free city shuttle system times to move around freely.
Consider deals on gas, although there are not many of these. Shell gas station has been running the 2-for-1 lift ticket deal for the purchase of 10 or more gallons of gas in several gas stations.
6. Save on stay
Accommodation usually takes up a big chunk of the budget, therefore, any saving on your stay will certainly have a significant impact on your budget. Here are some money saving options to consider.
Consider away-from-the-mountain accommodation options
Consider this, a hotel right at the base of the mountain may cost you between $300 and $400 per night whereas another one roughly 20 miles away, down the road or the next town will be over 50% cheaper in exchange for a little inconvenience. Along these lines, you may opt to use the resorts free shuttle services to move around.
Deals on accommodation
Just like air tickets, hotel rates vary with time. Look around, you may land some weekend offers or early booking discounts. Another great option is putting up with residents in their space. Airbnb has good resources for rental homes, hotels, dormitories, and other accommodation options.
7. Save on food
Depending on the kind of accommodation you get, you should be able to fix something to eat for the day. Sandwiches, fruits, and other quick-fix snacks shouldn’t be that hard to pack up for your trip if you stay in a condo with a kitchen. Especially for families with kids, this could be a safer and cost-effective option. Again you’ll be saving yourself precious time on the often long queues at eateries during lunch.
If you really have to eat out, don’t settle for the fine dine restaurants, they will cost a bomb. Think about cafeteria-style restaurants which are way cheaper.
The time factor
As we might already know, time is a crucial factor when it comes to pricing. The holiday around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year are definitely high peak seasons, therefore, tickets tend to be most expensive. Off peak season is either the time to book your tickets or, if you are an ardent skier, the best time to ski to avoid crowds. Generally, off-peak timings are at the start and towards the end of the season.
Off-peak can be:
- Before the month of December
- Mid to late January
- Late February to early March since this is a time nearing the end of the skiing season
- During Spring in the months of March and April
- During the week mostly Tuesdays
The only disadvantage of being at the resort earlier in the season is that you may not predict the quality and consistency of snow. There is A need to be extra cautious during this time. Some resorts will have some of its runs closed off.
Purchasing tickets online in advance could also make a huge difference in your budget compared to purchasing at the resort window.
Finally, some resort offer discounted lift tickets for night skiers.
The number factor
There is a way in which numbers move sales for ski resorts and other institutions. You’re likely to land some amazing offers if you are checking in as a group rather than an individual. Better if you do this early in advance. Some ski resorts even have an offer for ticket-holders who bring along friends.
Another opportunity pegged on numbers is if you intend to ski for a long period, say more than a week. Typically, the more your skiing days the lesser you pay per day. A practical example is skiing at the high-end Jackson Hole resort. A 10-day package goes for $965 while a one day ticket goes for around $98. The first option costs less per day compared to the second.
Thirdly, if you intend to explore a number of skiing resorts, an amazingly discounted package is likely to come your way. A multi-mountain season pass is the best idea since it will cover pretty much many ski trails at a lower fee. Good examples include the Epic Pass, the Ikon Pass, the CO Ski Country Gold Pass, and The Mountain Collective. These passes will offer discounts, free skiing days, or discounts as high as 50% on extra tickets purchased by the pass owners.
Finally, if you book a family package comes with several vacation elements you will have an upper hand negotiating a discount. For instance, if you book a ski package that includes accommodation, skiing lessons for your kids, food, and apres-ski services, you will have stronger bargaining power. One or two items may be on the higher side but the discount you get from the others will significant.
The location factor
As a rule of thumb, local is definitely cheaper since it saves you the cost and hassle of traveling a distance to the ski destination of your choice. It is important to know that for every ‘Big Name’ resort, there is a moderate, fun, less crowded, and substantially cheaper resort that the local residents are fond of. For instance, rather than checking in at Park City Utah, you could opt for the nearby Alta Ski area at a significantly lower fee.
The second advantage for alternative smaller ski areas is that as a beginner, you have the advantage of some quietness and friendlier runs to ski on. You may just as well have some parking space for free.
If you intend to fly to a destination, it can be much less hectic for you (and your family) if you booked a resort near the airport. Getting around, especially if it is an area new to you, will be less frustrating. Bear in mind that some smaller airports have seasonal ski flights, therefore be sure that flights will be available during the time that you will be there.
Think outside the box
It is not cast on the stone that a skiing vacation should be all about skiing and nothing else. Activities like hiking or cross-country skiing can be great past times to venture into in the middle of your vacation. They are great workouts and cheaper options too! Consider a $15 $20 Nordic ski fee compared to a $120 lift pass. You still have access to some epic runs only in a different way.
An all-inclusive package scheduled well in advance could be way cheaper than a decentralized package. However, this depends on a host of factors so do your math to see the option that comes in cheaper. Check out sites like ski.com and see if there is anything in it for you.
Heck, the tourist!
Sometimes, if you are really good at it, you may trade your skill for free access. Think of it, ski bums still get to enjoy the services that others pay for dearly.
At the end of the day, your holiday counts but you don’t want to leave your wallets too dented for another holiday. Just a little caution and you have it fun all the way.