How to Choose an Affordable Ski Vacation

Downhill skiing isn’t for the faint of heart. A business acquaintance of ours traveled to Big Sky Resort in Montana and a simple fall by one of them landed him in the ER with a broken shoulder! The cost of going to such a resort is astronomical, so in this post we’ll give you a heads up for what to look out for.

A day at the slopes can easily run you thousands of dollars if you’re not careful. Before you hit the powder, do your research to find the cheapest ski resorts at your destination.

How to choose an affordable ski vacation


If you’ve been skiing before, you know that the cost of a lift ticket is just a fraction of what the whole trip will cost. There’s transportation to the resort and back. Accommodations if you’re from out of town or planning to stay for a few days. If you don’t have your own gear, you’ll need to pay to rent some. And of course, food and drinks before and after skiing.

When comparing ski resorts, make sure to consider these ancillary costs. A cheap lift ticket can become an expensive weekend if you’re stuck staying at a plush 5-star resort when you’d be just as happy in a hostel.


Hotels are nice, but they’re one of the more expensive ways to enjoy a ski vacation. Ditch the chalet and instead look for other affordable accommodation options.

Airbnb can give you the privacy of a chalet without the price tag (but be prepared to rent a car if your Airbnb isn’t close enough to the slopes). Most areas with great ski hills are hotbeds for other outdoor activities, and a budget-conscious skier may be just as happy sharing a dorm in a hostel for a few nights instead.


The further afield you travel, the more you’ll pay to play.

Looking for ski resorts closer to home will not only save you on airfare, but you might also be able to afford a more luxurious ski experience than if you were penny-pinching in another country.

For instance, if you’re a resident of Colorado, why not get bored of some of the local slopes before converting those greenbacks for euros in the Alps.


Most resorts offer discounts if you make a group booking with friends, or reserve your accommodation with your ski pass at the same time.

While these paltry discounts won’t make much of a difference to your budget at the fancier resorts, they can be the difference between a ski vacation and staying home at smaller, more affordable resorts.


Ever heard the phrase “Champagne taste on a Bud Light budget?”. That applies to cheap ski vacations too. If you’re looking to save money, temper your expectations accordingly.

Many resorts that bill themselves as “family-friendly” tend to be more affordable but probably won’t have the back to back black diamond routes you may be craving. Instead, expect to find more moderate hills, fewer perks, and more straightforward facilities.


Once you’ve found a few resorts that fit your budget and expectations, get friendly with them to see if you can’t score more savings. Sign up to newsletters and their social media, then follow them for exclusive deals and discounts. If you don’t see any advertised, just ask. You may be surprised.

Remember that while you do get what you pay for, you can almost always find a good deal. If you’re willing to look for it.


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