As the calendar turns to winter and temperatures drop, some people can think of nothing but sitting inside next to the fireplace with hot chocolate and a good book. Others however start planning their winter sports getaway. Whether your passion is the ski slopes, snowboarding or snowmobiling, winter sports can get expensive. If you’re looking to play in the snow, here are a few tips to save on winter sports.
Buying vs. Renting Equipment
Winter sports equipment can get expensive, no matter what type of sport you’re looking at. Skis, special snow boots, snowboards, snowmobiles can make your budget really feel the pain. One way that you can save on this equipment is to buy used. Paying top dollar for new equipment will be the most expensive, and many times you can find used equipment that is just as good for a fraction of the price. Just think of all the friends who bought a snowboard, used it one or two times and let it sit in their room for a couple years. Search offerup, Facebook Marketplace and other similar sites to find user gear and save.
Another thing to consider is renting your equipment rather than buying it. Of course whether renting is feasible depends on a variety of factors, including what equipment you’re talking about. You’re much more likely to rent a $2,000 snowmobile than a $100 pair of boots. One factor to consider in the buy vs. rent decision is the cost of transportation. Many of the equipment we’re talking about (snow skis, boots, snowboards) are big and bulky and if you’re flying to your destination, the bag fees will start adding up. Renting may be expensive, but if it’s something that you don’t use that often, it may still be cheaper for you.
Creative Ways to Save on a Ski Trip
A traditional ski trip where you fly to your location, stay in a lodge on the mountaintop and ski out of your hotel room onto the slopes is convenient, but pricey. The more convenience that you opt for on your trip, the more money it will cost. And if paying for those conveniences is what you have budgeted for, then go for it!
But if you’ve got more time than money, you might be looking for a few creative ways to save on winter sports. A few ideas might be:
- Drive to your skiing location instead of flying
- Pool your money with other families to rent a house instead of each paying for hotel rooms
- If you do rent a hotel room, you can save money by booking your room further away from the actual lodge itself
As with everything in life, you can decide how much time you want to trade off for a higher cost.
Use Credit Card Rewards to Save On Your Trip
Another way to save money on your trip is to maximize your credit card rewards. Many credit cards offer not only rewards for ongoing spending but initial welcome offers worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Many airlines and hotel brands offer credit cards that give rewards and miles or points that you can use for free travel.
Take a look at the different rewards credit cards that are out there and see which ones might work for your trip. If you plan on flying Delta to your destination, look at one of the Delta co-branded airline cards from American Express. If you want to stay at a Hyatt resort, there is a Hyatt hotel credit card issued by Chase. Signing up for some of these credit cards might give you elite status or rewards that you can use towards free flights or hotel nights.
Be Creative in the Outdoors
If you’re looking to save on winter sports, you can also consider how you can incorporate other winter sports into your leisure time. There are many different sports that you can do in the winter time, and not all of them have to be expensive. There are many national parks that offer plenty of activities that you can do in the winter time.
If you are a ski nut that just can’t get enough of the mountains, consider interspersing your ski days with days where you do other activities. Or you may want to incorporate rest days during your ski vacation. That will help stretch out your vacation time but keep you under your budget.
The Bottom Line
Ski passes, equipment and traveling in the winter can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You are in control over how much you save and like most things, the important thing to remember is to budget for the things that are most important to you. Spend your money where it will bring you joy and save money in other areas. These tips can help you make magical winter memories to remember.
Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a site that helps families to travel for free / cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids.