"I've not purchased a pair of skis or boots for anything close to list price since 1973."
Ski for a lot less with these great suggestions!
- Make It Your Job
Providing you're close enough: work on the mountain = family passes + other bro deals. This may, however, cost you your day job so you'll have to do the math...or decide what's really important.
Work at your local ski shop for discounts and employee deals. Most are looking for enthusiastic and knowledgeable people for full and part time workers.
Look into being a mountain host, joining ski patrol, or some other activity that connects with the ski area.
- Do It Yourself
Tune your own skis. Buying all the right stuff to tune the skis is expensive at first but you'll save money in the long run and it is more enjoyable than paying someone $10-$20 for a job that can't have the TLC that you would give it.
If you don't know how to tune skis and don't want to learn, you can at least wax your own skis.
Bring your own food, use the drinking fountain, eat before and after skiing, purchase food and beverages away from the resort.
Put your favorite beverage in a cooler full of ice in the car for when you're done.
Take care of your gear, especially clothing. It will last a very long time if you do. Well-made ski clothes can last forever.
- Buy Early
Buy tickets in bulk before the season starts through sites like www.skinh.com. Each region has a similar site.
Buy season passes early.
Take advantage of preseason deals. Some areas are selling deeply discounted passes for next year right now.
- Buy In Bulk
Buy multi-day passes even if you may not use all of the days. Calculate the cost per day you expect to use the pass and compare to the daily rate.
- Shop Smarter
Buy demos. That way you also get rental bindings. Easier to sell and/or loan out to friends when the time comes. You save $$ up front on skis that are usually in pretty good shape; the shop is trying to make a sale based on that ski's performance so they keep them up pretty well.
Eddie Bauer is cheaper than Arc'teryx for jackets and layering systems are ultimately cheaper for both jackets and pants.
Buy off-season. Don't buy equipment from November through February for the most part.
Buy seconds at Sierra Trading Post. Look for end of season close-outs at shops that sell ski clothes.
Never, ever, ever buy something that isn't at least 50% off...if you look you can do a LOT better than that.
Keep your eye out for screamer deals, they happen.
- Go Green
Use public transportation.
No one needs more than two pairs of skis. Last season's equipment is fine. Equipment lasts far longer if you are salary-impaired.
Get over having to be in style. Buy good clothing that lasts and isn't trendy and then use it for a long time.
Drive a small, economy car. They plow the roads.
If you drive, bring a friend to share the ride and buy the gas. This logic is obvious.
Turn the heat way down in the house during one of the cold months and go skiing!
Hike for your turns.
- Travel Tips
On trips don't stay at the resort. In many places you can travel a little farther home each day and stay in less expensive lodging.
Use VRBO when staying a week or more. (They rent by the week.) Stay farther away from the slopes (12 miles or so) and rent a condo for the month rather than weekly if staying that long
Accumulate points on credit card rewards programs for discounts on skiing-related purchases
Stay at a hostel. It may not be fancy, but if your goal is to ski yourself to sleep then who cares. Besides, you meet interesting people
Travel off peak. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR DISCOUNTS!
When possible, fly Southwest Airlines. Rarely will anyone else beat their price three weeks+ before departure. If you want to cancel, do nothing and your reservation ID is active at full value and can be used for any other ticket (or combination) for 365 days. The best reason to fly Southwest is that they are the best at arriving on time. This allows you to plan to ski the day you arrive (reliably) which saves the most.
- Instruction Tips
Take lessons at your local mountain.
Sign up for "group lessons" midweek. Nine times out of ten it is a group of one. So I get a private lesson for less than half price.
- In General...
Ask family and friends to give you ski-related presents no matter what the season. Never again suffer the complaint that they don't know what to buy: you can give them a list or ask for a gift certificate to an online ski shop.
Spend money on stuff that counts like ski boots, footbeds, and bootfitting and otherwise look for ways to save big. Your ski boots will last for many, many years, so buy them right once and hang on to them.
Stay away from seductive Internet deals on equipment.
Please add your suggestions to the list!