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16 Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Ski (or Snowboarding) Trip

Cheap Ski Trips: 16 Tips for Saving Money Skiing (or Snowboarding)
Written by Shannon Quinn

Skiing and Snowboarding are a lot of fun, but doing these winter sports on a regular basis can get expensive. If you were to buy all of the gear all at once, it would cost hundreds of dollars before you even buy your tickets to the mountain. It may seem like this is a hobby reserved for the rich, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

1. Rent in Advance

Call ahead to your local ski resort to see if they offer discounts for equipment reservations. Sometimes, tickets to get on the mountain will be discounted as well, if you plan ahead. 

Liftopia is a website that searches the web for the cheapest mountain tickets possible. In many cases, you can get 50% to 77% off retail price.

2. Purchase Used Equipment

Every spring, people decided to donate their snowboards and skis to thrift stores like Goodwill. You can also check Craigslist and your local Facebook Yard Sale Group. 

In many cases, these may have only been used once or twice; however, you need to be careful of chips that may affect the performance. Also, make sure you get the right size!

Cheap Ski Trips: 16 Tips for Saving Money Skiing (or Snowboarding)

3. Tuning Beforehand

Many newbies to snowboarding and skiing do not realize that you have to tune your equipment in order to have the best experience. Snowboards and skis should be waxed, and the blades on the sides need to be sharpened. 

If you purchase used equipment online, you can tune at home, and save the tools for future maintenance. It will be far cheaper than asking someone inside the resort’s ski shop to do it for you. If you are unsure of how to do this, YouTube is filled with tutorials for DIY ski and snowboard tuning.

4. Buy Last Season

Every ski shop will have a massive sale once the season is over. If you’re renting this year, but you really want to have your own snowboard or skis by next winter, it’s best to hold off until you can take advantage of a sale. You can expect up to 50% off retail price, which could mean saving hundreds of dollars overall.

5. Black Friday

While the prices won’t be as cheap as clearance sales in the spring, you might be determined to buy brand new equipment before this upcoming winter holiday season. If that’s the case, check out the Black Friday sales of your local sporting goods retailer. We have already assembled tips on how to save money during Black Friday.

6. Ask a Friend

You probably have hundreds of friends on Facebook, so why not use your network? You never know if anyone out there has skis or a snowboard that they would be willing to lend you. 

Most people go once or twice, and the equipment sits in their garage for years. Many people would be happy to see their investment get some use.

Cheap Ski Trips: 16 Tips for Saving Money Skiing (or Snowboarding)

7. Find a Niche Shop

Rather than buying your equipment from a big sporting goods store, smaller niche retailers like Zumiez offer the very best brands in snowboarding gear. 

You can sign up for Zumiez’ rewards program, which can be exchanged for free products and contest entries. You will also get notified every time there is a sale when you sign up for their mailing list.

8. Compare Equipment Brands

While it may be tempting to buy expensive name brands, you may actually find that cheaper, lesser known brands work just as well. If you do a bit of research online ahead of time, you can find comparable brands. 

Amazon and YouTube are excellent sources for finding opinions on experts who try out these expensive products, so you don’t have to.

9. Multi-Resort Passes

Companies like Epic Pass and Mountain Collective offer passes that are good for multiple ski resorts all over the world. There are even discounted passes for kids under 12 years old. You can purchase additional tickets at 50% off, whenever you bring family and friends. 

Don’t wait, though – prices for these passes begin to go up in October.

10. Hotel Bundle Packages

Ski.com specializes in bundling your lift tickets and your hotel if you are choosing to stay overnight at the resort. Bundling everything together helps to reduce the stress of planning a trip, and it can save you upwards of 40% off retail price. If you have a family, you can even find a package where kids ski free!

Cheap Ski Trips: 16 Tips for Saving Money Skiing (or Snowboarding)

11. Transportation

If you are flying to your ski resort, check up on the transportation options before you spend hundreds of dollars on a car rental. Many ski resorts offer shuttle bus services to and from nearby hotels. 

Hotels may also have a ride service for under $10, which can save you a ton of money, compared to calling an Uber.

12. Nearby Accommodations

Staying in a hotel that is in the same town as a famous ski resort – like Vail, Colorado, can be very expensive. Even if you save money with shuttle buses and ride services, you may find that you can save even more money by finding an Airbnb in towns that are close to the resort, but not directly next to them.

13. Find Local Coupons

The Entertainment Coupon Book offers amazing coupons in the Denver, Colorado area. Copper Mountain is a short trip from Denver, and the E-Book offers buy-one-get-one-free tickets. If you plan to go to Colorado to ski, check out our tips for free things to do in Denver

You can check to see if the Entertainment Book is offered in any area you plan to travel to.

14. Pack Lunch

Cheap Ski Trips: 16 Tips for Saving Money Skiing (or Snowboarding)

While this tip may seem like a no-brainer, many people forget to pack snacks before heading to their winter vacation. Food inside of the ski lodge can be expensive, so it’s best to plan ahead. 

Granola bars are always great, and you can even pack a sandwich to fit in the pocket of your pants. Just skip the mayonnaise and mustard. 

Every ski lodge offers little condiment packets inside, which will save your sandwich from getting soggy.

15. Ski Off-Season

In certain areas of North America, the ski season extends past the wintertime, since it can still snow into March and even April. Lift tickets, flights, equipment rentals, and hotels will all be discounted, compared to the typical ski season. Check out your desired resort’s Spring Pass programs. They are usually only $150 to $200, compared to $400 to $1,000 per winter pass.

16. Beginner Discounts

The more newcomers that ski resorts can convince to love skiing and snowboarding, the better. In order to get you hooked on the sport, many resorts, including Sugarbush in Vermont, offer discounts with their First Timer Lesson Program. You can save hundreds of dollars, all because they are trying to get you coming back in the future.

Time to Hit the Slopes!

We hope that these tips helped you plan your next ski and snowboarding trip. Check out more of our cheap and romantic winter date ideas and money-saving travel tips.

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Cheap Ski Trips: 16 Tips for Saving Money Skiing (or Snowboarding)

About the author

Shannon Quinn

Shannon Quinn is an entrepreneur and writer from the Greater Philadelphia area. If you want to see more of her work, you can find her on Twitter @ShannQ.

1 Comment

  • I’m a very active person and skiing is one of the things I love doing. I didn’t know that we could get up 40% off a retail price when we get a package or a bundle deal. I’ll remember this on my next trip. Thanks!

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