Photo Source: Whiteface Lake Placid
At some ski resorts, adult lift tickets can top $100. Add in gear rentals, lodging and après-ski cocktails, and you’re talking several hundred bucks a day to slide down a mountain.
Here are a few ways to notch down the costs.
Buy online. You can buy heavily discounted lift tickets online at sites like liftopia. But that means planning ahead, since the tickets are for specific dates and are non-transferrable. That said, you can also get dining and other discounts bundled with lift passes.
Look for packages. Consider booking your lodging and lift tickets together—it’s often cheaper than arranging everything separately. If you’re headed to an area with several ski resorts, look into discounts for skiing at more than one. The official website of the destination is a great place to find deals.
Stay at home (someone else’s). It is often cheaper to rent a condo or a house than stay in a hotel, especially if you are traveling in a large group and/or are staying for a while. Try go-tos like HomeAway and Airbnb, but also Google your destination with “home rentals” to find local sources.
Take a weekend pass. Skiing mid-week, like flying mid-week, tends to be cheaper.
Go to town. The mountain is generally the most expensive place to rent skis. Get your gear in town instead. If you’re planning more than a trip or two, renting for the season at home can mean big savings.
Drive. The farther away your lodging is from the slopes, the cheaper it is likely to be.
Blizzard bonus: We found three destinations that offer up top-notch ski experiences while being a little easier on the wallet.
No Need for Wheels: Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah gets an average of 500-plus inches of snow a year and boasts 14 ski resorts. Salt Lake City receives flights from more than 75 U.S. cities so it’s easy to reach. You can choose from a slew of lodging choices and visit several ski resorts within a 40-minute drive—without a car, since public transportation can get you there. Salt Lake is offering a Super Pass that provides savings on four different resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude), plus 20% off rentals.
Luge, Anyone? Lake Placid, New York
Whiteface Lake Placid has the tallest peak summit of any East Coast resort, and was good enough for the 1980 Olympic Games. Lift tickets don’t come at bargain-basement prices ($84 a day in peak season), but they’re still cheaper than at luxury spots out west, and if you’re on this side of the country you might not need to fly. Besides, where else can you skip a ski day for an Olympic luge ride?
Lower-Priced Lodging: Alberta, Canada
Alberta is home to three world-class ski areas, Lake Louise, Banff and Sunshine. You’ll find fresh powder and thousands of acres of terrain, and a major highway makes the slopes easy to reach from Calgary. Best of all, summer is peak season, which means that you can save big on hotel rooms right now. Mid-week rates at the upscale Fairmont Lake Louise, for instance, are about 40% less in the middle of January than in the middle of August.