6 Tips to Save Money at a Ski Resort


Ski­ing and snow­board­ing are not exact­ly cheap sports. In fact, they can be incred­i­bly expensive—the lift pass­es, the hotels, meals out, trans­porta­tion costs, drinks at apres…it can all add up quick­ly. If you’re keen on doing some resort ski­ing this year but are work­ing on a bud­get, then you’ll want to check out these tips we’ve picked up over the years. Remem­ber: every dol­lar you save can go toward your next ski trip.

Don’t Buy Your Tick­et at the Win­dow
Buy­ing your tick­et at the win­dow is a clas­sic rook­ie move. Instead, start your tick­et search online. You’ll uncov­er any spe­cial rates that are avail­able (stu­dent rates, rates for in-state res­i­dents, etc.). Some resorts even offer cheap­er online rates for reg­u­lar tick­ets. With more and more resort alliances pop­ping up, check to see if you qual­i­fy for any deals with “sis­ter” moun­tains. This is a great bet for those who already have a sea­son pass some­where, but are look­ing to check out a new resort.

Skip the Hotel
Instead of stay­ing at an expen­sive hotel, check out con­do rental options. VRBO, Air BnB, Allu­ra Direct, and oth­er sim­i­lar sites offer options that are often com­pa­ra­ble or cheap­er than hotels. Best yet, they offer a ton of extra ameni­ties, like ful­ly equipped kitchens—this will come in handy for our next point.


Resort Food: Just Say No
If you’ve ever wept at pay­ing $15 for a bowl of mediocre chili at a moun­tain lodge, then you know just how over­priced resort food can be. Start by fill­ing your­self up with a hearty break­fast (usu­al­ly the cheap­est meal of the day). Pack your own sand­wich or some­thing that fits eas­i­ly into your pack or your ski jack­et pock­et. You can still warm up inside the lodge, but you won’t have to shell up the big bucks for food. You can also bring your own tea bags—most lodges will let you have hot water for free.


Decen­tral­ized Apres
For some, apres is an essen­tial com­po­nent of the ski resort expe­ri­ence. Con­sid­er head­ing off the beat­en path: bars and pubs with prime real estate are apt to offer lack­lus­ter food and over­prices brews. Those that are a lit­tle hid­den away will not only be cheap­er, but they’ll prob­a­bly have a more local vibe—a great way to expe­ri­ence a whole new side of the resort.

Plan Your Gear
Bring­ing the right gear means that you won’t have to pick up some pricey pieces out of des­per­a­tion. Check the alpine tem­per­a­ture and bring the lay­ers you need. Bring along a few gog­gle lens options so that you’ll be able to see under any conditions.

Ask Around
Fact: many of the peo­ple who live and work in ski resort towns aren’t rolling in mon­ey. They’ve fig­ured out a way to live inex­pen­sive­ly in these areas, so ask them for tips and ideas. Chat up the per­son next to your on the chair­lift or quiz your bar­tender on some of their favorite activ­i­ties and hole-in-the-wall restau­rants. You won’t get the pack­aged tourist expe­ri­ence, but you’ll prob­a­bly make some mem­o­ries that you’ll nev­er forget—and if you’re lucky, you might make a friend who’s will­ing to show you some secret pow­der stashes.