Skiing is a fun and thrilling winter sport, but it can also be expensive. From the ski gear to the accommodations, the costs are often too steep for most holiday-makers. Nonetheless, this does not mean that ski vacations are exclusive to those who are rich. Skiing on a budget is possible, you just have to know how to do it right!
Want to know the cheapest way to ski? Read on and we’ll give you tips on how to save money while having a lot of fun!
1. Find the Right Destination
The best thing to do is to be wise when it comes to your choice of holiday destination. It is exciting to explore the best ski resorts in France or go skiing in Switzerland. However, the more popular the place is, the more expensive it will be. So, try to stay away from well-known destinations.
If you are looking for cheap skiing destinations, some of the best resorts worth checking out include Borovets (Bulgaria), Poiana-Brasov (Romania), Livigno (Italy), Vogel (Slovenia), and Crested Butte (Colorado). These destinations remain under the radar, so you can expect not only cheap prices but also a smaller crowd.
2. Pick the Right Time
Skiing on a budget is not just all about the destination but also timing. Like taking a vacation, avoid the peak season as this tends to be the most expensive time of the year to ski. The peak of winter may be great in terms of snowfall. However, the prices can be too high for the average skier. Avoid going on a ski vacation during Christmas and New Year. Historically, these are the times when the prices are at their peak.
It is best to ski from mid-January to March if you want to enjoy huge savings. This is when you can enjoy great last-minute deals. Resorts may slash their prices by as much as half, although, this still depends on their location and popularity.
Speaking of timing, another great idea for the cheapest way to ski is to go on weekdays or the middle of the week. This is the time when there are more vacancies and a lesser crowd, which also increases the chances that the price will be lower.
3. Rent Equipment, or Buy Used
The bulk of the expenses when skiing go-to equipment, especially if you decide to buy a brand-new one. From ski goggles to ski poles, the prices can quickly eat up your budget. Those from the top brands are known for being expensive, although, their quality makes them worth every dollar.
For the cheapest way to ski, consider ski equipment rental instead. Most resorts will have an outlet where you can rent the essential gears. Especially if you are a beginner, the wisest thing to do is to rent gear. This allows you to try it out and see how it fits and feels before you decide to buy one for yourself. If you are undecided, read this guide on buying vs renting skis to help you.
If you are renting ski equipment, however, there are some important things to remember. For instance, carefully inspect every item, making sure that there are no damages. Otherwise, when you return the gear, they will assume that you damaged the gear and you will have to pay for it. See to it that you have complete documents, including a receipt. Try out as many options as possible and see which one you are most comfortable with.
Aside from renting, you might also want to consider buying used skiing gear. Go online and you will surely find lots of choices. Ask out from a friend who might be selling skiing gear that he or she no longer uses. Whether it is ski pants, ski hats, winter boots, or insulated jackets, among others, you can enjoy huge savings by buying used items.
4. Go as a Group
Skiing on a budget is also possible if you go as a group. This is not only a lot more fun, but this is also a good opportunity to cut down the costs. Going out as a group means that you will have more people to share the expenses with.
It is also cheaper to take lessons as a group instead of doing it on your own. One group only needs one instructor. However, for those who are just learning how to ski, group lessons can be challenging since the attention of the instructor can be divided.
5. Pick the Right Accommodation
For the cheapest way to ski, it is also crucial that you mind your accommodations. Nothing beats the feeling of being in a luxurious and well-appointed ski resort with every facility that can make your vacation epic. There’s just one problem – it’s often expensive. If you want to save money, skimp on your accommodation.
Rather than staying in an expensive hotel, consider a self-catering apartment as an alternative. Especially if you are traveling as a group, this will incur huge savings. If there’s a fully-equipped kitchen, you can cook your food in the apartment instead of eating out three times a day!
You might also want to pick accommodation that is outside the main area of the resort, especially if it is in a well-connected location. However, if you have to drive far just to enjoy cheap accommodation, the hassle may not be worth the amount you will save.
6. Cook Your Food
As mentioned above, huge savings will be possible if you cook your food. If you have a kitchen in your apartment, take the time to cook even just once a day. Especially if you are skiing for a couple of days, this can help you to save a lot.
If you are too lazy to cook, another good thing to do is to bring food and drinks. Sneaking them in will be easy in most hotels. This does not only help you save money but also time. No need to wait in long lines. Sandwiches, fruits, chips, and juices are some of the must-haves to bring on your trip, aside from the usual gears that are in your skiing checklist.
7. Find the Right Lift Passes
Be familiar with the ski lift types that are available in the resort and find the most affordable one without compromising your convenience. Purchase multi-day passes if this will allow you to save more.
It is also best to book your lift tickets online and in advance. Not only that you won’t have to be in a long line, but you can also take advantage of great deals. If you often ski, it may be smart to get a season pass instead. You can also save if you just ski on the lower mountains where lift tickets are usually cheaper.
8. Take Advantage of Discounts and Points
Be a frugal traveler and take advantage of every possible discount that is available. For instance, if you are traveling as a family, there are many instances when kids will be eligible for discounts, as well as students. From ski equipment to food in restaurants, there are often special prices for the little ones.
You can also save money by making the most out of your credit cards. Some banks may have partnerships in the hospitality industry, which will allow you to save in hotels and restaurants, even on flights. You can also use your credit card points or miles for purchases made during your skiing trip.
9. Book a Packaged Deal
Ski packages will be another great way to save money on your next trip. The best thing about these packages is that you can customize them depending on your needs, such as the number of days, accommodation choices, and other inclusions. These bundles are often cheaper compared to making separate bookings for everything you need.
One of the most common ski packages includes a free night for booking a certain number of nights. Some packages will allow you to add a person for free, enjoy complimentary meals, and take free lessons.
10. Avoid Private Lessons
Whether you would like to learn how to turn on skis, how to ski steep slopes, or stopping on skis, among other skills, avoid private lessons. While it is a good thing that you have the full attention of the instructor, this is only for those who have the money to spare. If you are skiing on a budget, avoid this.
Attending a group lesson is not only a good way to save money but also great to meet other people, especially if you are traveling on your own. However, as we have noted earlier, if you are taking group lessons, keep the group as small as possible.
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Skiing on a budget is possible with the tips shared above! Picking the right destination, choosing the right time, going as a group, booking packages, taking advantage of discounts, bringing your food, and taking group lessons are some of the best ways to ski without going broke!
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