Between flights, accommodations, lift tickets, and that ski jacket you just have to have, it’s easy for your ski trip budget to go out the window. That’s where we come in. The rush of cold air as you fly down the mountain or the warmth of a fire after a long day on the slopes – you can have all the glamour of a winter getaway while keeping your wallet happy. With 8 simple steps, our money-conscience tips are the easiest way to learn how to plan a ski trip on a budget.
Get the Most Bang for Your Buck on Your Ski Trip
1. Avoid peak travel times
Learning how to plan a ski trip on a budget starts with knowing when to travel. Most ski resorts open around late November to early December and remain open through March or April. In this roughly five-month span, there are several major holidays in which prices for accommodations and lift tickets reach their peak. For fewer crowds, shorter lines, and reduced rates across the board, consider hitting the slopes sometime in mid-December or later in the season. It’s the easiest way to plan a ski trip on a budget allowing you to save additional dollars and have more of the mountain to yourself.
2. Avoid popular resorts
The allure of Aspen, Vail, or Jackson Hole is undeniable. And high-end resorts like these take advantage of their reputation by charging additional dollars at every opportunity. Opting for an alternative destination instead is one of the most important aspects of learning how to plan a ski trip on a budget. Neighboring resorts with a lesser-known name offer the same incredible skiing and snowboarding conditions for a lift ticket that’s half the price of what you may pay at a higher-end resort.
3. Stay in a neighboring town
Knowing how to plan a ski trip on a budget means knowing where to stay. On-site or mountainside accommodations certainly offer convenient access to the slopes, but you’ll have to pay for this premium and others. Staying one town over or further from the mountain is the best way to keep your lodging expenses within budget. Many hotels and lodges that aren’t slopeside offer free shuttle service to the mountain along with luxurious accommodations and amenities, too.
4. Ship your skis ahead
Saving money at the airport is one of the most difficult aspects of learning how to plan a ski trip on a budget. Not only are airline tickets pricey, but baggage fees for your luggage and ski or snowboard equipment will eat up a large chunk of your budget. For added savings and convenience, plan to ship your skis, snowboard, snow boots, and luggage directly to your resort or lodge. Shipping ahead will allow you to avoid baggage fees along with long lines and crowded areas at the airport.
5. Find a ski trip package
Many ski resorts offer packages that allow you to bundle your accommodations and your lift tickets. A real bargain, ski & stay packages are an important aspect of knowing how to plan a ski trip on a budget. Planning to ski multiple days a week or at multiple locations? Ski passes may be the better option for you. Most passes allow you unlimited access to a number of top ski resorts for a flat rate. Some ski resorts also offer special promotions. For example, Aspen Snowmass offers a ‘Kids Ski Free’ deal where your child receives a complimentary lift ticket when you book at least two nights at the resort. Vail even offers a free fourth day of skiing when you purchase three days of lift tickets.
6. Travel with a group
If you’re fully committed to learning how to plan a ski trip on a budget, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices. Open to sharing a bed or crashing on a sleeper sofa? Bring some buddies along and take full advantage of the maximum occupancy at your selected destination. Traveling with a group means splitting costs and saving money at every turn. Some ski resorts also offer group rates or group packages which may be an option depending on the size of your group.
7. Purchase lift tickets online
There are several ways to save when it comes to your lift ticket. First and foremost, purchase your ticket in advance. Some resorts offer as much as 50% off pre-purchased, date-specific passes, a great tip for learning how to plan a ski trip on a budget. Some retail stores or local ski shops may also offer discounted lift tickets, but it’s best to search online before going door to door. Purchasing tickets in advance also means you won’t have to wait in long lines when you get to the resort.
8. Cut costs during your stay
Now that you’ve almost learned the ins and outs of how to plan a ski trip on a budget, we have one last tip. It’s tempting to splurge on a meal or spend a day shopping. We get it! And there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, as long as it’s in moderation. So, instead of purchasing snacks on the mountain or going out to eat for every meal, consider bringing snacks and drinks from home or staying in and cooking one night instead.