We’re here to tell you that you thought wrong! Deciding not to ski because you think it is too expensive is like deciding not to eat out because it’s too expensive and that’s just silly. Just like you can choose to go to different tiers of restaurants and get an entrée for $10 or $100, ski resorts are exactly the same! You can ski at a wonderful local hill for $20 or jet off to an extravagant resort for $200—the choice is yours!
FINDING A MOUNTAIN
- Start Small. If you’re just starting out skiing, don’t count out the little guy. You might be excited to say that you’re going to a mountain with 5,000’ of vertical—but don’t cheat yourselves because as a beginner you might not even be able to ski half of that. Why pay for something you won’t use? Plus smaller hills not only have that terrain to allow for learning and excitement, they oftentimes have a fantastic ambiance for après ski which is part of the fun of the sport!
- Ski Local. And we mean literally—stick with something close to home. Especially with gas prices dropping, being able to drive to your destination instead of flying saves you bucko bucks! And not only are you saving on the cost of travel itself, but you also have more options for bringing food to snack on or things to do when you aren’t skiing (instead of spending that money elsewhere).
- Buy Online or in Advance. The ski industry is one of many industries where guests are rewarded for purchasing in advance. When you plan ahead you can usually save up to 50% off the “window rate” of a ticket. Nervous about having to change your mind? It’s fairly common for most ski resorts to have new flexible online options that allow you to change the date of arrival one time or even unlimited times, depending on what you purchase.
- Get Exactly What you Want. Ten years ago you walked up to the ticket counter and bought the ticket that they gave you. Nowadays the options for both new and advanced skiers is almost limitless. Do a search online (where you can ultimately buy too—see above) and decide if you want to have an all-mountain pass or a learning hill only pass. Do you want to ski the entire day or only at night? Are you skiing one day or multiple in a row? Again, get the most out of what you actually intend on doing.
- Bundle It. This means everything! Get your lift ticket and hotel room together. Or your lift ticket and rentals. Or lift ticket and food vouchers. Or gas cards. Get the picture? The added beauty to this is it also saves you time!
- Check Resort Specials. Sometimes resorts have specials for new skiers and riders. Or for veterans. Or service personnel. Or college students.
- Dress Warm. It’s way easier to take layers off than add them on. Having to purchase an extra shirt or scarf at the resort can get pricey—especially when you know you had the exact thing sitting at home in your closet. On the flip side, however—sometimes it’s worth it to invest in ski gear so make sure if you are purchasing at the resort to ask their opinion on what you should get for your skiing ability, body type, etc.
- Decide Where to Rent. Going skiing for the first time you probably don’t have the gear. Do a little bit of research and see if bundling your ticket with on-mountain rentals, renting off-mountain, or getting a season-long rental is the best investment.
- Enjoy the Après. Half the fun of skiing and riding is the Après scene. Most mountains have live music, entertainment and the like—with no cover charge! See if you can pick up deals on their food and beverage scene too.
- Get Lessons. While they might seem more expensive than going out on the hill and winging it, a lesson is not only a wise investment but will save you money in the long run as well. Lessons enable you to ski safer (think less money on heating packs or Tylenol), progress faster (get more for your money on that all-mountain pass), and overall enjoy the sport more!
- Buy Gear Second-Hand. Especially for children, gear is grown out of fast so there is tons of gently used equipment out there. Or look into season long rentals—many local sports stores offer that option and then give you a discount when you’re ready to take the step to owning your own gear!
- Invest in a Season Pass. While it might seem like a huge up-front cost and you might think to yourself “but I really don’t know how often I’m going to get to the slopes,” a season pass not only pays for itself in a few short visits, it often comes with many perks that have added value such as gear tuning discount, gift cards, or local shop offers.
See you on the slopes!