How To Do A Ski Trip On The Cheap


So you probably aren’t looking to fly to Switzerland to hit the slopes if you’re on a budget. But your dream of wooshing down a picturesque snowcapped mountain isn’t dead.

Here’s you can cut down on costs and maybe even afford to spend a little bit more on a plane ticket to escape to the mountains.

1. Find some hand-me-downs.

The biggest expenses for a ski trip are the actual skis, coats, boots and anything else that’ll keep you warm and winter-sport ready. Ideally, you’d adopt some old or discarded gear from a well-skied acquaintance, but you could also borrow some for a couple days or check second-hand stores.

Don’t have any ski bunny friends? You can still choose to rent your equipment instead of buying brand new gear. Do some easy math to see what your cost per wear would look like compared to buying it fresh off the shelf.

2. Sleep off the mountain.

It might be cheaper to buy a day pass to the slopes and stay in a nearby Airbnb, rather than shell out for a pricey hotel.

Whether it’s worth it to stay away from the resort really depends on if you have your own transportation. If you’re driving to your destination, it makes a lot of sense. If you’d be relying on public transportation or ridesharing services, the extra cost of staying in the resort might be worth it.

3. Cut down on food costs.

Fancy ski resorts are often home to fancy restaurants. As tempting as it seems to ski right up to the dinner table, plan to eat your meals away from the mountain. Make a grocery store run and stock up on easy meals you can cook in your hotel room or Airbnb.

But be careful: Your body burns a lot of calories cruising in the snow. So before you end up hangrily chowing down on an overpriced hot chocolate and holiday cookie, make sure to bring some trail mix or snack bars.

4. Make it a group trip.

Splitting costs is the way to go. If you share expenses (such as those for transportation to and from the slopes, lodging and food), you can save more for the lift tickets and some post-ski splurges. Carb-loaded dinner plus winter cocktails, here you come!

5. Choose destinations wisely.

You don’t have to go all the way to the Swiss Alps, you can find great skiing nearer to home.

If you’re on the east coast, try New York’s Catskills or Berkshires, or Killington, Vermont (the biggest resort in the area). West coasters, hit up California’s Mammoth Mountain or Lake Tahoe. In the Rockies? We like Aspen and Breckenridge, Colorado. Midwesterners, go to Michigan’s Upper Penninsula or Lutsen, Minnesota.

Deadset on going international on a budget? Canada is the answer. Quebec’s Mont Tremblant and, of course, British Columbia’s Whistler offer world-class slopes.