Prices for enjoying the Colorado sport/pastime of skiing is become more and more outrageous! One of the quickest way to “go broke” is to take your family skiing! With lift prices cresting $100 per person per day, equipment rentals around $30-$50 per person, and the cost for food making you think you are eating at a Five-Star restaurant, your single-person cost for the day can easily exceed $200! And that’s AFTER you get there. Traffic to the mountains can be horrendous … especially on the weekends and school holidays … and the expense for lodgings are ridiculous!
Try this … plan. That means budgeting and saving for the event. Spontaneity may be a thing of the past in some cases (if you don’t have a hefty slush fund from which to draw), but skiing doesn’t have to be eliminated from your list of winter activities.
Lift Tickets: Many local establishments (department stores and gas stations) have daily deals for the mountains. Keep an eye and ear open for deals! Keep a lookout, too, for those coupon books being sold by fund-raising events like schools and charitable organizations. Sometimes you can grab some great deals there, too. Look for those deals at the mountain when there are special events. Equipment manufacturers may offer two-for-one deals if you try their gear.
Food: The easiest and most economical is to “brown bag” your meals. Another option is to share and meal! Unless you are really hungry, it can work the best as you won’t need to haul your food up to the hill!
Lodgings: Perhaps one of the toughest to wrangle is lodgings if you are planning on staying overnight. I like being able to get there in the morning, ski, then plan on staying the night and get a leisurely drive home (avoiding the local traffic). Doing it the other way works, too, but you still get the going home traffic to contend with when you are tired. Of course, the cheapest way is to drive up in the morning and drive home after skiing.
Travel: Make sure you have a full tank of fuel, blankets in case your heater goes out, charged up cell phone, and good tunes for the ride. You might also consider food for the ride home or a planned stop for dinner … this can also help your sanity as it will avoid the homeward bound traffic.
The true bottom line is that this is an expensive activity. Plan on spending money. You can budget the expenses and save toward that, but make sure to have a little extra for the unexpected need. Use the tools … track your money, bring your cash or debit card, and don’t use any unsecured credit. It is a doable thing, just remain cognizant of your needs and plan accordingly!