9 Tips for Saving Money on Ski Trips

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My husband and Jett are getting ready to go on their first snowboarding guys trip together! I’m so excited for them, but kind of jealous, too! This is one of my favorite winter activities, but often times it’s our most pricey trip of the entire year. I am sharing our top tips for saving money on your next ski/snowboarding trip!

1. Book Early

Such a dreamy ski lodge!

This is one of the best tips I can share when it comes to saving money on your next ski trip. We often have our lodging package booked by September for travel in the upcoming winter. Most ski resorts start offering discounts on lodging packages in the summer! Take advantage of these discounts and secure your stay early, it’s one less stress to worry about. To find out about these discounted packages, sign up for emails from different ski resorts that you’re interested in visiting. You’ll begin receiving emails when the resorts start offering sales.

2. Don’t Book Peak Dates or Weekends

Traveling over school breaks and on holidays are considered peak dates and rates will be the most expensive at this time. If you can, try booking your trip in January, it’s often the most affordable month for skiing and snowboarding. It’s also best to book your stay midweek and not over a weekend. I know this can be tough when it comes to kids missing school. Before we had kids, we used to go on our annual trip in early December every year. Now when we go over the Christmas break, we are paying more than double for the exact same trip!

3. Look for Ski & Stay Packages

Expired advertisement provided as example of deals to look for courtesy of Bend Vacation Rentals.

Expired advertisement provided as example of deals to look for courtesy of Bend Vacation Rentals.

There are many resorts that will offer free lift tickets with a lodging package. These will usually not ever be offered during those peak dates or on weekends. Some places also offer packages that allow kids to stay and ski for free! Again, I recommend signing up for email notifications from different ski resorts to learn more about discounts and packages that are offered!

4. Go as a Group

A ski trip is the perfect trip to take with friends! There are so many condo options available with several bedrooms and bathrooms that are very affordable when you split the cost!

5. Lift Tickets

This is our first ever family ride on a ski lift!

Besides lodging, purchasing lift tickets is typically the next most expensive item on a ski trip. I have a couple of different tips for this. First, purchase your lift tickets in advance. They will always cost more if you wait and purchase them at the ticket window. You can use websites like liftopia to pre-purchase and save money!

There are several different options for saving money on your child’s lift tickets! I recommend looking into an Epic School Kids Pass if you’re traveling to Colorado, Utah, or Whistler. If you’re only considering a trip to Colorado, check out the Kids Ski Passport for kids in third through sixth grade. This passport is $59 and includes 80 days on the slopes!  

Jake and Jereme on the bunny lift at Granby, CO!

Skiing or boarding at smaller resorts will also save you money! If you’re going to a bigger resort, look into purchasing an Epic Pass!  Keep in mind, lift tickets are usually cheaper on Mondays-Thursdays!

Finally, consider purchasing just a half-day lift ticket instead of a full day ticket. This is usually the ticket that I get for myself and my youngest. Jereme and Jett like to board all day long, so it makes more sense for them to have a full day ticket.

6. Invest in Gear

Jereme and Jake boarding together!

Since we like to go boarding every year, it made sense for Jereme and me to invest in our own gear instead of renting each ski season. We both have our own snowboards, helmets, goggles, and boots. This has saved us tons of money over the years! It’s a little trickier when it comes to kids’ gear since they are constantly growing. We still rent for our boys at this time.

If you need to rent gear, renting right at the base of the mountain is always a more convenient option. But with that convenience comes higher costs. If you want to save money on ski or snowboard rentals, try renting from an outfitter off the mountain.

7. Driving vs. Flying

We prefer having our 4 wheel drive once we get up to those mountain passes!

For us, driving is always the cheaper option. For one, we have our own gear so that’s an additional luggage fee. Plus, winter clothes are just way bulkier and take up more space. So, we save money by not having to pay for a rental car or shuttle to the resort, not having to pay luggage fees, and not having to pay for flights!  We also like to take our own groceries, and that’s easier when we’re driving!

8. Get a Kitchen

We loved this condo in Crested Butte & returned to the same unit 3 years in a row!

Continuing on about groceries, I highly recommend booking a room or condo with a full kitchen. Cooking some of your own meals is a huge way to save money! Since we like to stay for a full week when we go snowboarding, it would cost a ton to feed all four of us, three times a day! We usually travel with a lot of our own food, too. That saves some money because everything costs a little more at the mountains, including the groceries!

We have a really good routine at the mountain. On the days that we are going to hit the slopes, Jereme and Jett get up early and are at the lifts as soon as they open. Jake and I sleep in and then I cook breakfast when we get up. The boys make a few runs on the mountain and then come back for breakfast. We eat together and then all four of us will head back out and board until we get hungry again! We’ll return to the condo for lunch and make a few more runs if there’s time. Then, we go out for dinner… if we aren’t too tired after being on the mountain all day!

Jett doing his thing before Jake and I are even awake!

We also cook meals that we can eat on for a few days, like spaghetti, chili, soups, and more! When I’m on vacation, I like to be on vacation and not do too much work. However, if we want to stay a week or longer, we have to make some sacrifices and often cooking a few meals is one that I’ll gladly make!

9. Shop Amazon

My last big tip is to shop for ski clothes on Amazon. I know, I know. We all want to look like the cutest little ski bunnies on the slopes! You can find super cute waterproof gear online, I promise. Everything my boys wear at the mountains has come from Amazon and it’s all held up very well. In fact, Jake has been wearing Jett’s previous ski gear year after year!

My favorite winter gear purchases from Amazon:

All gear from Amazon! Besides the rentals.

Below you will find the top five most affordable ski resorts in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico!

5 Affordable Ski Resorts in Colorado

5 Affordable Ski Resorts in Utah

5 Affordable Ski Resorts in New Mexico

Ski trips are always a fun time! If you’ve never been, I hope you’ll give it a try sometime. And just remember, these trips don’t have to break the bank. With the right planning, you can have an epic adventure! If you have any more tips for saving money while traveling, I’d love for you to share them in the comments! Happy travels, my friends!