How to Save Money
Money-Saving Tips for Skiers and Snowboarders
By Kristen Lummis, Brave Ski Mom
Many people think that skiing and snowboarding can be expensive, but there are also many ways to save money.
Here are some effective strategies to cut the costs without cutting the fun!
1. Take Lessons
You (or your child) will progress more quickly and have more fun with professional instruction. Lessons are a smart investment since many resorts offer amazing “first-timer” or “never-ever” deals.
*Learn in January. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, which means great deals at ski areas across the U.S.
*Get Your Child A “Passport.” Many states offer free lift tickets and lessons fro kids in certain grades with a ski association passport.
*”Real” School and Ski School. Sign up if your child’s school offers snowsports lessons. The school and ski area usually make all the arrangements for a fraction of what you would pay individually.
*Ask Your Mountain. Visit ski area websites, or call your local mountain and ask about deals for both child and adult beginners. Most include rentals and lift tickets.
Some good examples of the many deals out there are the “3-Class Pass” programs at Loveland Ski Area, in Colorado (lessons + season pass) and the “Discovery Four-Day Learn To” programs at Killington (lessons + new gear).
*Think Small . Most, if not all, ski and snowboard schools in the U.S. are certified by PSIA/AASI. Take advantage of this standardization by taking lessons at smaller, less expensive mountains.
2. Score Cheap Tickets
Thanks to the Internet, there’s no reason to pay full price for any ski ticket. Here are some websites worth checking out.
Individual resorts often offer similar advance deals on their websites, including new EpicDay discounts at each of the Vail Resorts.
*Buy Gas and Groceries. SkiFreeDeals.com has Buy 1/Get 1 discounts in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Michigan. Fill up with gas at a participating Shell station to get a coupon.
Ask your friends and look around for other Buy 1/Get 1 deals at grocery stores, Costco and ski shops.
*A 3-Pack Here, A 4-Pack There . Resorts know that consumers are cost-conscious, so many sell bundles of tickets that dramatically drop the daily price for groups and individuals. The catch? Most have to be purchased in fall, before ski season starts.
*Befriend Season Pass Holders. Many ski areas offer “buddy tickets” and discounts to their pass holders so that they can Bring a Friend for free or a discount. You could even win prizes from Head/Tyrolia, Burton and The North Face if you take the Bring a Friend Challenge.
3. Be Smart About Gear and Apparel
Snowsports take a lot of equipment, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be brand-new or bought at full price.
*End of Season Savings. While skis, gear and clothing go on sale at the end of the season, late summer/Labor Day sales are when the retail prices really dip.
*Gently Used. For used gear, look for end-of-season sales on demo and rental gear. Or, check with your ski shop for consigned skis and snowboards.
*Ski Swaps and Ski Shows. Fall ski swaps and shows are a great way to compare deals and find discounts on new and used equipment. Most are held at retail shops and not there is one online called Swappow.
*Hand-Me-Downs . Join forces with another family and pass gear down, child-to-child. Young children grow fast, but rarely wear anything out, so sharing extends the life and value of equipment and clothing.
4. Other Money Saving Tips
*Take Snacks . You’ll have more energy and fun if you refuel throughout the day. Load up with portable power like cheese sticks, granola bars, dried fruit or M&Ms. If your ski resort has a “picnic” area, take your lunch.
*Ski and Travel Off Peak . Mid-week and night skiing can cost less than skiing on weekends. If traveling, ski early and late season, before Christmas and after Spring Break.
*Get A Job. Ski resort jobs often include free day or season passes. The job can be as involved as ski patrol or ski instructor, or it might be a volunteer position as a greeter or ambassador. Either way, you get to ski free!