Buy This, Not That: Save Money This Ski Season

Buy This Not That
Photo: © Stellar Propeller Studios

Skiing is expensive—we all know this. For those of us who skied 38 days last winter (shameless humble brag), we view our gear as an investment not to skimp on. We spend $500 on a jacket, and let’s not even start on the ski boots. At the resort, we fall under the spell of the mountain. The fresh powder, the altitude; it all makes spending nine bucks on a hot chocolate seem insignificant. That is, until the season ends and we realize the extent of just how much we spent.

Of course, when you’re packing in ski days every weekend and using your sick days to hit up that 2-ft of fresh powder, you’re eventually forced to compromise and figure out a way to avoid breaking the bank. Us die-hards… we have it figured out. We know what to save on, and what to splurge on and today, we’ve come to share our a few of secrets:

SAVE: Food

Unless you really like those mushy chili cheese fries at the restaurant on the base of the mountain, and are willing to spend $15 on them, then avoid the resort restaurants at all costs. Seriously, you really aren’t missing much. Trust me, I’m a foodie. I love exploring the local cuisine. What I’ve found? You won’t find anything worth your time or money at the resort. You’re much better off saving your shekels for a night out on the town. For the mountain, pack a sandwich, a protein bar, some ramen. Trust me, you’re better off.

SPLURGE: Apparel

Nothing is worse than heading out to shred up the fresh powder and losing all feeling in your limbs because of the wind chill. Or, on the flip side, overheating and having to bomb down the run like a madman to try and get some airflow. Once, I bought a crappy jacket for $80 and got it caught on a branch through the trees. Half of the jacket and my $80 were lost forever. All of this is why you should view your gear as an investment. Sure, a jacket with all the bells and whistles (PitZips, GoreTex, water-protection, etc.) can be expensive, but trust me—it’s worth it. To avoid paying full-price, keep your eyes peeled for end-of-the-season deals or discount sites such as The Clymb or Sierra Trading Post.

If you aren’t a regular skier and only go on occasion, consider renting your gear. GetOutfitted is a web-service that rents premium ski apparel from high-quality brands such as Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Marmot and more. Rates start at around $30 for a 3-day rental. They also rent goggles, gloves, and GoPro’s! All you have to do is pick what you want and they’ll ship it directly to your doorstep, resort, AirBNB—wherever! After you’re done, just put it in the pre-labeled package and drop it in the mail.

SAVE: Lift Tickets

If you plan on skiing more than a few days in the year, you’ll be best off buying a season pass. These can be expensive, but if you grab yours early, you might save a few bucks. Most season passes pay for themselves if you plan on skiing more than 5 days. If you’re buying day-passes, check out Liftopia. You might have to be flexible on days, as a lot of their discounted passes fall on weekdays, but you’ll be saving a hefty amount of green.

SPLURGE: Beer

Because you can’t put a price on good beer.