How to Have an Inexpensive Ski Day

Skiing and snowboarding are fun and challenging sports that people of all types and skill levels can enjoy. Unfortunately the price of a ski day continues to rise, but there are many ways to combat this and make skiing and snowboarding more accessible for everyone.


Launch your web browser and use the internet to find out if the mountain you are going to has any coupons or special deals for lift tickets (or if season pass holders get a discount on buying tickets). Use keywords in your search like discount lift tickets and the state you are trying to find them in.

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    Eating on-snow is really expensive. It will cost $20 on a ski-area burger, fries and drink, let alone any snacks during the day. Buy groceries to make lunches for the next day or next few days and ideally for a few people so as to share the cost. Shop below the mountain or resort as that will be much cheaper. Buy bulk bags or boxes of snack bars and chocolate bars as snacks. It's surprising how hungry you'll get on the mountain.
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    Find budget accommodation with access to a kitchen. You'll save heaps of money preparing your meals rather than buying meals three times a day. Cooking your own meals is cheaper than take out from Maccas, not to mention, healthier.
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    Always have a hot hearty breakfast at your accommodation, to fuel you up for the day. Hot oats with dried fruit and honey is an ideal quick breakfast. Breakfast burritos are highly recommended as breakfast food, they are inexpensive and heavy in protein. If you want to save money on-slope, eat lots at breakfast.
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    Carpool or use the internet to find if your mountain has any bus service to it. Try to find a group where several people have cars and rotate driving responsibilities. This makes paying for gas less of a hassle.
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    If you do not have ski/snowboard gear, seek out a local rental place and rent your gear ahead of time, it is much cheaper than renting at the resort. Other cheap rental options often lie in towns near resorts or on the road up to resorts.
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    Arrive early! The earlier you arrive the more value you get out of an all-day ticket. Many mountains have highways and interstates leading up to them that tend to get very slow with high-volume ski traffic.
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    Stop at some sort of quick breakfast food establishment on the way up. This is very inexpensive compared to resort food and will fuel you well through the morning. This also provides a nice stop for the driver and passengers and allows everyone to stretch their legs and wake-up for the day.
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    Try to find people who ski/board similarly to your level. By going with people who are similar in ability to you, you will progress on runs at the same speed and not end up waiting for slow group members very often.
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    Try cross country skiing. Trail fees are much cheaper than downhill lift passes and the hire cost of cross country skis and poles is a fraction of the cost.


  • In addition to lunch, snacks like granola bars or candy bars are great for staying energized throughout the day. Pack enough for morning and afternoon snacks.
  • Be sure to pack bottled water.
  • Food and drink easily fits into a "bum bag"
  • Use the frontage roads alongside the highway/interstate to avoid some ski traffic.

Things You'll Need

  • Skiing/snowboarding gear: Skis, ski boots, poles, ski coat, ski pants, gloves, goggles, hat/helmet and other accessories.
  • Thermals. Always dress in layers, so you can peel off if the weather gets too warm.
  • Snowboard boots, snowboard.
  • A car or a friend who has one and is willing to drive.
  • Around $60-$120: $40 for rental gear; $40-$60 for discount ticket; $20 for packed lunch, breakfast, if you shop wisely - Can be split amongst parties going up.

Article Info

Categories: Snow Skiing