Winter Fun on a Budget


Life Tickets and Passes

One of the most expensive parts of skiing and snowboarding is purchasing lift tickets; which may be priced at upwards of $100 for a single day. To get a better deal, there are a few strategies that you can use. One way to get cheaper lift tickets is to purchase the tickets ahead of time online through a ski resort’s website. Using this method, you could save over $50 on a single ticket. Another way to get cheaper lift tickets is using Ski Free voucher; which will allow you and a friend to get one free lift ticket with the purchase of one full priced adult ski ticket. When you purchase over 10 gallons of fuel at a participating Shell gas station, you present your receipt at the cash register inside the building to receive the Ski Free voucher. The current participating resorts include Copper Mountain, Crested Butte Mountain, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn Mountain, and Sunlight Mountain.

Purchasing a pass to a ski resort is another method to reduce the cost of getting on the lifts. While passes do have a high up-front cost, they will pay for themselves if you hit the slopes enough. Season passes allow you to ski and snowboard at designated mountains as many times as you want, within a season, without having to pay for lift tickets. Usually, passes even include a few free days of skiing at other mountains, guest passes, and even deals on food and beverages. College students even get special deals on many ski passes, making them even more affordable.

Ski and Snowboard Gear

In order to go skiing or snowboarding, you will need the proper gear. With any trip, you will need a pair of skis or a snowboard, boots, bindings, a jacket, pants, gloves, and goggles. Each of these is vital to having the most enjoyable time possible while skiing or snowboarding. There are a few ways to purchase these items without breaking the bank. One method is to shop at discount sporting goods retailers such as Big 5 or Play it Again Sports. Another way is to purchase gear is during Labor Day sales such as Ski Rex through Colorado Ski and Golf and Powder Daze through Christy Sports. Beyond physical stores, you can purchase gear through online retailers such as Amazon or Evo. However, to ensure the items fit and feel comfortable, you should try them on at a local sporting goods retailer and then purchase them online. This will save you money because some retailers do not offer returns and some will force you to pay return shipping on gear that does not fit or feel comfortable.

Not everyone is ready to purchase their own gear; including skis or a board, boots, or a helmet. For these people, renting is the best option. You may rent these items for a single day or more before returning them back to the rental shop. Renting at the mountain may be a little more convenient; however, renting at local shops is usually much cheaper. Stores such as Blindside and Christy Sports allow you to pick up rented gear before a trip and then return them after with little hassle.

Food and Lodging

While it may seem like the lift tickets and gear are the most overpriced parts of skiing and snowboarding, the food and beverages at resorts takes the cake. To reduce the expense on food, you have a few options. The cheapest option is to pack your own food and drinks. However, if you take this route, you will need to pack something that does not require a microwave, as ski resorts do not usually have one available. If you don’t want to pack a lunch, you could also purchase food from outside the resort where prices are a little more reasonable.

Those who plan on spending more than one day at a resort will need to find lodging nearby. Many resorts offer lodging very close to the base of the mountain, but this convenience costs a pretty penny. In order to find cheaper lodging, you should try to stay at a hotel or motel in a nearby town. For example, if you wanted to go skiing at Copper Mountain, you could stay at a hotel in Frisco. This town is only about 15 minutes away from the mountain and offers lodging at a fraction of the cost as lodging closer to the resort. According to the Copper Mountain Resort website, the cheapest lodging available is $146 a night for 1 bedroom. However, according to TripAdvisor, there is lodging available in Frisco for as low as $105 a night.

Skiing and Snowboarding may seem prohibitively expensive for most college students. However, using these tips, you can make it a little more reasonable to enjoy these iconic winter sports.

Disclaimer: The information contained is intended for general informative purposes. It is not a substitute for advice from an appropriate, licensed professional. Opinions stated are my own, unless otherwise stated. I do not assume liability for financial decisions based on this material.


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