There is no denying that snow travel is one of the most expensive types of travel to be tickling your fancy. A quick week-long getaway to the snow can add up very quickly. Whether it’s your first time seeing snow, or you are an experienced rider – I believe everyone has a chance to save some dollars on these trips. I’d like to share with you a few tips I have picked up along the way to keep my ski trip within a budget.
#1 – Travel with a Group
If you can trick enough friends to come along on your next snowy adventure, you could save on things like accommodation, car hire and petrol costs, and even on dining and drinking out! 🍻
It’s usually a lot cheaper to stay in an apartment style accommodation for your stay… so long as you have the right amount of bodies to fill the beds! Having an apartment also gives you the flexibility to buy some groceries to have your breakfast and some dinners at home, as you will have kitchen facilities too.
You’ll also find that you’ll need a car to get around most ski destinations across Australia, New Zealand, and North America. Splitting the cost of the car hire, as well as all the associated costs, will help to keep the overall cost of car hire down. The bigger budget of a group will also allow you to hire a bigger car, which is more likely to be suited to the snowy terrain.
#2 – Hire or Borrow the Gear You’ll Need
If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, it’s possible that you’ll be slightly taken aback by the amount of gear you will require to get yourself out on those slopes. Most experienced riders will hesitantly (or boastfully 🤷🏼♀️) admit to easily spending upwards of $2,000 bucks to kit themselves out.
Mind you, for your first few times, you don’t need to succumb to the social pressures of looking spiffy out there, meaning you can hire the basics from any gear rental shop.
The only things you won’t be able to hire will be goggles and gloves. But if you’re tagging along with some experienced riders, they’re bound to have a spare pair lying around to lend you.
Hot Tip: If you’d prefer to have your own gear from the get-go, be sure to keep an eye out for the Aldi snow special at the start of each season. Gumtree and Marketplace on Facebook are both also great platforms for finding second-hand gear.
Just promise me, you won’t get sucked in by that cute guy in the local snowboard shop whose trying to sell you $300 snow goggles for your first time! 😂
#3 – Look out for nightly dinner specials or have dinner in some nights
One of the easiest ways to keep your ski trip within a budget is to watch your dining out!
If you’ve opted for apartment-style accommodation, you’ll have kitchen facilities to whip up a family-size portion of pasta to feed the gang. I know, I know – you’re on holidays and you don’t want to cook. I get it! But trust me, this is a great way to keep your costs down.
You might be wondering how on earth you can achieve this when staying in hotel accommodation without cooking facilities. Well, don’t fret!
Most ski resorts or towns are home to plenty of establishments that offer nightly dinner specials. We’re talking $10 steak and chips, or $15 pizza and a beer… you get the gist. These specials are within certain time frames to get people dining earlier or later than usual.
#4 – Pack Some Snacks & Lunch for the Day
Are you starting to roll your eyes at me, wondering how I became such a stingy bastard? 😂 Look, I wouldn’t blame you. But, I can’t tell you how much money I’ve wasted on $12 cups of chips, and $6 bottles of water in my time. It pains me to think about it 😫.
Not only does packing snacks help you to keep your ski trip within a budget, but it also means you can stay out skiing for longer before you need a lunch break! 🙌🏼
Some of my favourite snacks to take with me on the slopes are things that are high calorie and super satiating, in small packages. I’m talking protein or muesli bars, sesame snaps, mixed nuts and snack-sized chocolate bars.
Or if you’re in Japan, 100yen sushi triangles 🍙. All of these snacks can fit nicely into your jacket without making you look like a puffy old snowman ⛄️.
For lunch, I would normally opt for a homemade sandwich or wrap, and a piece of fruit. All you will need is an esky in the boot of your car, to keep your food cool until lunch time.
Hot Tip: I would recommend chucking in some chairs to sit on too, so if the weather is nice you can sit out and enjoy your home-made, cost-effective lunch, while still enjoying the view of the slopes.
#5 – Stay in Town
I know. You picture yourself staying in a cute little ski-in, ski-out chalet on the side of the mountain, with a private hot tub on the back deck. I get it. But unfortunately, these places are not apart of our budget-friendly ski trip. 😞
Staying in town, rather than on-snow, will give you so much more room in your ski holiday budget.
Of course, this tip is not possible to follow in every destination. Sometimes, the only realistic accommodation options are on the mountain (like Big White for example). In these cases, look for the options that are a touch further away from the resort centre.
A little bit of walking never hurt anybody, and most resorts have free shuttles in place to get guests around.
#6 – Book Early!
I’m not just talking about flights or accommodation, but lift tickets, lessons and gear hire too! Many resorts will offer ‘Early Bird’ specials which can earn you up to 30% off when you book and pay 4 months (or more) out from your trip.
Hot Tip – These deals are often due to be paid in full by the early-bird expiry date and are completely non-refundable, so it’s always a good idea to take out travel insurance as soon as you start locking stuff in! 👍🏼
If you’re not early enough to take advantage of early-bird specials, you can still save money by pre-purchasing lift tickets, lessons, and gear hire, on the resort website before you go.
#7 – Don’t Buy Single Day Lift Tickets
Single day lift tickets can cost an absolute bomb 🤯.
If you are going to a place where one ticket covers the whole resort area, such as Perisher, then it’s much more cost effective to buy a ticket for as many days as you’re there.
For example, a 1-day lift ticket could cost you upwards of $120. Whereas, a 5-day pass will most likely work out to be around $90 per day (or cheaper!). It’s a no-brainer really.
The only exception to this rule applies in a place like Japan.
There are so many little resorts, that aren’t connected and require different passes. You’ll most likely only ride each resort once. The passes for these smaller resorts are so cheap, that it works out to be the same (or cheaper) to buy single tickets at each resort, compared to a multi-day, multi-resort lift pass.
#8 – Travel Mid-Week
Travelling mid-week is a pretty standard trick of the trade across all travel right?!
Look out for mid-week specials in the planning stages of your ski trip, and take advantage of the lesser crowds.
For example, check out this deal from Perisher! Stay 5 nights, and save 20% 😱… but only during mid-week. I rest my case.
Not only does the price go up over the weekend, but you’ll be waiting an hour to get onto a lift 👎🏼. It’s just not worth it in my opinion, unless of course, it’s your only option!
#9 – Take Advantage of Happy Hour!
Having a couple of drinks at the end of the day is a standard part of a ski trip, but it can also easily blow your budget way out of the water 🤯.
While Happy Hour is not really a thing here in Aus, it is pretty standard across North America. So, instead of skipping the evening beverage completely, be sure to check out the happy hour times at the local bars around the mountain, and take full advantage of these offers 🍻.
#10 – Create a Budget for your Trip (and stick to it!)
At the end of the day, you need to decide what your budget is for your ski trip, and put as many of these steps in place as you need, to help you stick to it.
I can guarantee you that there will be a few times on your trip that you say “Yolo”, and break the budget for the day… and that’s okay! You are on holidays after all.
The main reason for you to create a budget for your ski trip, is to work out what you might be up for, and to plan for that comfortably. There is nothing worse than finally being on holidays, and realising, you actually can’t afford to be there.
I am 100% speaking from experience here 😬.
In any case, I hope this post taught you a thing or two about ultimate cost-cutting in the snow, and why you don’t need a bucketload of money to enjoy a trip to the snow after all.
If you’re planning your first trip to the snow, you might like my post Your First Ski Trip – Tips, Tricks & Packing List! for everything you need to know!