There’s no denying it, skiing isn’t the cheapest sport to embark on. But sometimes in life, the special things require some money. It’s not like you’re throwing on a pair of trainers and going for a run in the countryside.
There are a lot of factors to consider when planning a ski trip, and often a long way to travel. It’s a great privilege to be able to go skiing or snowboarding. Like most things in life, there are cheap and expensive ways to do things. This purely depends on your lifestyle and your finances.
Maybe you’re the luxury skier who settles into a three-course meal on the mountain every day, or maybe you’re the kind of person who buys food from the supermarket and makes sandwiches to take up the mountain with you each day.
Either way planning a ski trip requires some planning and budgeting. In this article, we’ll go through a complete breakdown of the costs to go skiing or snowboarding.
First things first, you need to get to the ski resort. A huge amount depends on where you are flying from and where you are going, and if you are flying at all.
You may get lucky if you are travelling to a mountain range within the same country as you. It’s possible to find return flights under 200$ or less! The time of season you are travelling will also affect the cost a lot. Christmas ski trips tend to be significantly more expensive.
If you are driving then you’ll have to account for the fuel.
Many all-inclusive ski holiday packages help you save money on travel and accommodation whilst including various other perks to help keep the cost down on your holiday.
It’s hard to be specific with costs when it comes to travel, whether you are flying to Europe or the USA to ski. I would suggest staying as local as possible if you are new to skiing or snowboarding. Skiing in a nearby resort will help you keep the costs down.
There are some companies I’d suggest looking into for package holidays such as:
- New England Outdoor Center
- American Ski Classics
- Skiing in USA | Ski holiday USA | American ski resorts | Igluski.com
Once you’ve arrived at the resort you’ll need to get your equipment prepared. Maybe you brought your skis or maybe you’re renting.
Either way is fine, although in the long run, owning your skis works out to be cheaper. It’s also good because you become familiar with your skis instead of always skiing on different skis.
If you are a regular skier or snowboarder then it makes sense to have your equipment. If you go very occasionally, once a year or less then renting is probably the way to go.
Rental Costs For Skis & Boots (USA)
- Per day: $35 – $55
- Per week: $250 – $450
Rental Costs For Skis & Boots (Europe)
- Per day: €30 – €40
- Per week: €100 – €150
Costs For Buying (USA)
- Skis: $350 – $500
- Boots: $250 – $300
- Poles: $50 – $80
Cost For Buying (Europe)
- Skis: €200 – €500
- Boots: €150 – €300
- Poles: €30 – €70
Back in the day, ski clothing was mainly made up of woolly materials that itched you all day long whilst gathering unpleasant amounts of sweat.
Luckily times have moved on and we have more advanced technology to keep us warm on the slopes. However, ski clothing isn’t the cheapest.
It is very important to be warm enough on the slopes which requires quite a few layers. Getting your clothing right is something that can easily be overlooked but shouldn’t be because getting too cold can ruin the day.
Items you need to consider when skiing are :
Buying Ski Clothing
- Thermal socks: $15
- Long John’s (warm tights): $30
- Ski Pants: $150 – $200
- Thermal under layer top: $30
- Thin thermal jumper: $50
- Ski Jacket: $100 – $200
- Gloves: $30
- Helmet (If required): $50 – $100
- Goggles or Glasses: $50 – $100
Renting Ski Clothing
- Jacket & Trousers: $30 – $60
- Gloves: $10 – $20
- Goggles: $10
- Helmet: $15 – $30
I’d advise bringing your own base layers if you plan on renting top layers when you get to the resort. But the essentials mentioned above can be rented easily. In general, I’d advise buying all clothing if possible.
Your lift pass is essential. And more expensive than you’d expect.
This pass allows you to access the mountains within a certain area, depending on the pass you buy determines how much of the nearby mountains you can access, in smaller resorts it’s simply one pass, but in bigger resorts that adjoin other resorts, passes can be bought to travel between them with a higher cost.
You purchase a pass for the amount of time you’re on holiday, maybe it’s one week, maybe two weeks. It’s cheaper booking the entire duration in one go instead of buying a daily pass which is a hassle and more expensive.
Just be sure to keep your pass in a safe pocket at chest height. Make sure it’s not in a pocket you use often as it’s very easy to flick out onto the slopes without realising when grabbing something else, then you have to buy another one!
I’ve been there many times, this is golden advice, trust me…
- Per day: $60 – $80 (Resort dependant)
- Per week: $150 – $300 (Resort dependant)
- Per day: €20 – €50 (Resort dependant)
- Per week: €120 – €300 (Resort dependant)
Food & Drinks
This is where ski holidays can add up. In most resorts around the world food on the slopes is extortionate. Quite simply because it can be, it’s not like you have many other choices if you get hungry on the mountain with no food in your backpack!
If you’re staying in a hotel then you’ll have your breakfast included in your stay, but lunch is usually up to you. And if you’re like most, that means a restaurant on the slopes.
If you are one of those super organised types with great forersite, you can buy sandwich material and drinks from the supermarket and make up sandwiches the night before and put them in your backpack.
This is the cheapest option but requires a little more planning and brainpower.
Here are some approximate restaurant costs on the slopes:
- Breakfast: $20 – $50 per head
- Lunch: $40 – 60$ per head
- Breakfast: €15 – €40 per head
- Lunch: €20 – €50 per head
Ultimately if you are in a position to eat out on the slopes then enjoy the luxury, often you have lunch with a spectacular view!
If you are on a budget then you can still have a packed lunch and sit somewhere with potentially an even better view, whilst knowing you’ve saved yourself some money! Both options are great.
This is hard to be specific about when it comes to costs, this is purely dependent on your needs and wants. Most resorts have options of hotels, private chalets and shared accommodation.
Look online to find the best results to suit your budget. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it’s also worth looking into package ski holidays which offer discounted rates on accommodation and ski hire, passes etc.
If you are a beginner and you want some ski lessons to find your feet then this can be a great way to build up your confidence.
Also if you have children this can be a great way to get your children up and running whilst being looked after so you can go off and enjoy the slopes whilst they are in class.
US Ski Lesson Costs
- Per hour (Solo): $70+
- Per hour (Group): $40+
- Per day (Solo): $500+
- Per day (Group): $150+
European Ski Lesson Costs
- Per hour (Solo): €40+
- Per hour (Group): €20+
- Per day (Solo): €300+
- Per day (Group): €100+
Car Parking Costs In Ski Resorts
Parking at ski resorts can hit you hard at $35 / €25 per day is not uncommon in most ski resorts, where space is hard to come by. This is an extra charge at many hotels too.
So check in advance if you’re not sure. If you’re flying abroad and planning to rent a car to drive to the resort. If you only think you’ll need a car to get to and from the airport then it’s worth weighing up the costs between a taxi or public transport instead to save you some money.
Otherwise, you’ll be pouring money into the car park whilst the car sits there unused for your entire trip. If the resort is big and you think you’ll need a car to move around at times then maybe it’s worth renting a car.
Ski Health & Accident Insurance
Accident insurance is important when on the slopes. Although we don’t like to think about it, if you hurt yourself or someone else, the costs for being picked up off the slopes are incredibly high.
They will often offer you accident insurance when buying your ski pass and are well-advised to use it. Some premium US and European banks will offer travel insurance within the service so it’s worth checking if you are already covered by your bank.
The costs of cover vary depending on where you are skiing and there is often a debate over whether it’s better to get separate travel insurance cover or buy it with your pass when you get there. This is a personal decision.
Skiing is undoubtedly an expensive sport. The nature of it being set in some of nature’s more extreme conditions means that you need the equipment to endure these conditions and the means of getting there.
Naturally, you are isolated in a snowy mountain range so businesses can get away with charging through the nose for things that in other walks of life are more reasonable, such as food and drinks.
All things considered, skiing is a very special thing to be able to do. An experience you will never forget if you haven’t been before. You are amongst some of nature’s finest beauty, with mind-blowing views and incredible white slopes crisscrossing as far as the eye can see.
Sharing this experience with family and friends is truly special, and if you can afford it, well worth it. Be sure to plan as much as possible so you aren’t hit with surprise expenses when you get there. Once you have all this covered it’s time to relax and enjoy the slopes.
Wake up to your first day in the mountains, the sky is blue, there has been fresh snow overnight. You enjoy an omelette, croissant and coffee for breakfast as you marvel over the white daggered mountains towering over you.
You gather your things and head off up the slopes with your friends to enjoy a truly special experience. Gliding down nature’s purest playground.