Walking up to the ticket counter at your ski resort of choice isn’t just time-wasting, but there’s a near 100 percent chance that you’ll find a better deal if you do the research ahead of time. Small-scale stores like REI will sell bundle tickets at times, and even just planning ahead and buying from the resort’s website weeks or months prior to your trip will save you some dollars. You can also check out sites like Liftopia for any deals they may be running.
Be flexible with your timeframe.
The long weekends that pop up in the winter will entice you to get to a resort during that time, but if you travel mid-week or even, say, during the last week of the season, you’re bound to find thinner crowds and cheaper deals.
Staying slopeside may not be the best bet.
Sure, the ski-in/ski-out option is super attractive, but first of all, the smaller (cheaper) resorts may not even have it, and staying overnight on the property will cost you more than finding an Airbnb or Holiday Inn in the town over will. Your room is just for sleeping, anyway -- don’t throw all your income into it.
Bring your own water.
I’m convinced that Disney World visitors spend more money on water than anything else. Any kind of resort is going to charge way more for bottled water than is necessary, and if there’s one thing you need while sporting it up on the slopes, it’s to stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle and leave it in a locker; drink up when you need it and refill at a bubbler or tap. Pack sandwiches and other snacks that will cut your trips to the lodge’s cafeteria down, too.
Get the accessory gear on your own time -- don’t rent it.
Accessory gear like gloves and goggles can be used again and again and aren’t worth renting every time you hit the chair lift. Even if you’re only skiing twice a season, it’s a money saver. You also, honestly, could hit up friends that may be avid skiers and borrow (or loan) some gear for less.
For other rentals, go local.
While renting your skis and poles from the resort equipment shop is convenient, shops in town may be more affordable. Shmooze up the locals and find yourself a deal, you bargain-hunter, you.
Bring hand and feet warmers.
You know the ones -- a pack of dozens costs, like, pennies and dimes at any drugstore, and they’ll go far in the way of warmth while you’re on the mountain. There will be no buying of extra sweatshirts or thicker socks in your family!
Embrace the half-day lift ticket.
You should definitely already be using these tickets for your arrival and departure days, but if you’re looking to spend a good amount of time at the lodge or playing card games by the fire in your room anyway, commit to just half days of skiing and save. There are also sometimes lower mountain tickets if you already know you’re not going anywhere near a black diamond.
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Have you gone skiing this year yet? What's the best resort to hit?