As you might know, skiing has become more than a bit expensive, to the point that some middle-income families are no longer able to make their traditional trips. Just one weekend often costs a family more than $1,000. With that in mind, here are five ways to save on ski trips and hopefully, you and your family can put skiing back in the budget.
1. Buy Lift Tickets in Advance
When you purchase your lift tickets from a ski resort or a discounted-tickets website, you could see savings of 25 percent. Stay flexible on where you’re going; ski resorts in areas such as New England and the Midwest just might give you a 50 percent discount. Another way to save on lift tickets is to buy them in area ski shops, many of which offer package deals for lift tickets and ski gear rentals. Several grocery stores such as Safeway will also sell area lift tickets at a discounted price. If you frequently ski at one resort, see if a season pass helps save on your lift tickets.
2. Reserve Ski Gear in Advance
The same concept applies to ski gear. Resorts love when you request rentals early and show their gratitude by saving you as much as 25 percent. Check with individual resorts for their policies; for example, at some places, the discount applies if you reserve at least 48 hours in advance. For potentially bigger savings, rent at area ski shops that are not on the resort.
If you ski or board regularly, or are taking an extended trip or multiple ski trips, it may be worth your while to invest in your own gear. Have kids who love to hit the slopes but seem to grow out of their equipment each year? Consider a “ski lease.” Kids will lease their equipment for the season, allowing you to pay less than buying new equipment or renting skis throughout the season.
3. Brown-Bag Lunch
If your ski destination is nearby, and you’re not flying, pack your lunch. Ski resort food is average, but the prices are way above average. You could save as much as $20 per person. Along these lines, don’t splurge on bottled water. Instead, bring along refillable canteens or a hydration unit such as a CamelBak. If you’re staying at the resort (or nearby), get accommodations that have a kitchenette. Better yet, book a vacation rental, hit nearby grocery stores and prepare your own meals.
4. Time Your Trip to Score Deals
One of the best money-saving tips is to forget about peak season; aim to go on your ski trip in fall or spring. In addition, if you can go during the week, you will save . Also, bypass vacation weeks when kids are traditionally out of school.
5. Bundle Your Trip
Travel sites such as Expedia and Priceline will bundle flights, hotel, and even lift tickets, discounting your vacation even further. If you plan ahead and stay away from major holidays, there is no need to break the vacation budget.