If you’re considering going on a skiing holiday or taking up the sport, it is so important to understand the costs involved. For a long time, skiing has been seen as a more expensive hobby or as more of a luxury holiday destination, but if you plan ahead then you can budget smartly, save some money and avoid any nasty surprises!
This article has been put together to help you do just that…understand what costs are involved in skiing and then create a budget so you can enjoy an amazing new sport.
You will see below, a breakdown of the main costs involved in skiing, except specific types like heli or cat skiing, ranging from the equipment and ski lift passes, to food and drink. We’ve also included some advice on accommodation and travel. Please remember this is a useful guide but seasonality and location will cause price variations so always take this into consideration.
So let’s get started and explore the fundamental costs involved in skiing!
The Cost Of Ski Equipment
We truly believe skiing is a sport for everyone and if you’re reading this, then it’s likely your considering getting into the sport! One of the first questions to run through your mind is probably “what ski equipment do I need and how much does it cost?”
In reality, the question you should ask is whether to buy ski equipment or head to the ski rental shop when you get to the ski resort. There are pros and cons to each option and it very much depends on your individual requirements.
The equipment you will need varies but the basics include skis, poles and boots.
Buying Your Ski Gear
If you’re planning to ski regularly or go on multiple holidays over the next few years then purchasing equipment is a good long-term investment as there are great deals out there. To give you an idea of the average prices involved in buying ski equipment, see below:
- Skis will cost from approx $350.
- Poles will cost from approx $50.
- Ski boots will cost from approx $250.
This is an average price and it’s always important to look out for special offers. Equally, if you want to go for the very best equipment then this will be reflected in the price. Fortunately, the prices have come down a lot in recent years and there are a lot of choices to select from.
Renting Your Ski Gear
If you’re not too sure whether skiing is for you, or perhaps uncertain of how many times you will end up going then choosing to rent skis and other equipment will reduce the risk and initial outlay. Many ski resorts will offer ski rentals but it is always best to enquire before booking your ski trip.
To give you an idea of the average prices involved in renting ski equipment, see below:
- Skis and the basic equipment will cost from approx ~$25-$40 per day, but more often than not, the Weekly prices work out way cheaper than daily rentals.
The Cost Of Ski Clothing
Now that you’ve got the basics sorted, the next step is to get kitted out with all of the clothing you need to have fun on the slopes. This means ski jackets, ski goggles, ski pants and a ski helmet.
Modern clothing takes advantage of the latest technology and really does transform your ski experience, so we definitely recommend it. On top of this, you’ll want to think about gloves, thermals and any other stylish additions you want to add but these are all relatively cheap and can be purchased before you travel!
Once more, you need to decide whether you want to save money in the long term by buying ski clothing or whether you wish to rent clothing as well as renting skis.
Buying Your Clothing
If you love shopping and fashion, then this part of the process for your ski vacation is for you! Ski clothing comes in an incredible array of colours, patterns and designs so you can ski down the slopes in style. On top of that, a good quality ski jacket can be used in the winter months at home so you will get plenty of use out of it.
To give you an idea of the average prices involved in buying ski clothing, see below:
- Jackets and Trousers will cost from approx $200.
- Gloves will cost from approx $30.
- Goggles will cost from approx $50.
- A ski helmet will cost from approx $60.
Please do bear in mind that you will need to buy the other clothing items mentioned above, such as the thermal base layers. The prices for these really do depend on how much you’ve got in your budget but expect to spend another $100 or so on extras.
If you invest in the correct clothing and equipment and look after it then you will get many years of happy skiing holidays out of it, saving a lot of money in the long run.
Renting Your Clothing
Once more, if you’re new to the world of skiing and want to understand if it is the right thing for you, then renting equipment and clothing is a great option and you’ll often get great deals at the ski resort or as part of package deals.
New skiers will need to buy their base layersbut you should be able to go to a ski rental shop and get jackets, trousers, gloves, goggles and ski helmets. It may cost a few bucks more over the long term if you keep renting but it can be significantly cheaper to rent clothing if you don’t end up going back!
To give you an idea of the average prices involved in renting ski clothing, see below:
- Jackets, trousers and gloves will cost from approx $40 per week.
- Ski goggles and helmets will cost from approx $25 per week.
The Cost Of Ski Lift Passes
When it comes to budgeting for a ski pass, it very much depends on the type of ski resort and ski town you go to, as well as the season you travel in. You can then look atwhether you just need a ski lift ticket for a particular day or want to invest in a week or season pass.
Now, for the uninitiated readers, the idea of paying for a ski lift ticket may seem strange. However, what these represent is a way to cover the costs required to run the ski resort. This includes staff costs, preparing the runs and generally keeping everything going so you can have a great time.
As mentioned, you can buy a range of ski passes and these lift ticket prices will vary depending on location. As an average price, you should expect to pay approx $75 for a day pass and $200-$300 for a week pass.
So What Affects The Price You Will Pay For A Lift Ticket?
Let’s break down what affects the price you pay and where you can potentially save money for your trip.
- Regions: Depending on the state and country you visit, each will have its own pricing structure for skiing. Again this will fluctuate depending on if it’s the high season or not.
- Seasons: If you travel in the peak ski season then you will most definitely pay more money but you can a good deal if you go for off-season passes.
- Ticket type: Some locations offer a multi-resort pass which gives access to a wider range of slopes and for those in a group with a range of skill levels this is a great way to get something for everyone.
- Type of slope: Many ski resorts are keen to embrace new skiers and this means they will have beginner slopes and beginner resorts for you to visit. This is a perfect option for those new to the sport and will save you money.
- Family lift tickets: Keep an eye out for kid’s ski passes and family passes as they will often work out a lot cheaper for you and your family.
How Much Does It Cost To Have Ski Lessons?
So you know you definitely want to start skiing? For those new to the sport then ski lessons are very much a recommendation. Whilst there are those who may argue you don’t need to learn or there are ways around this, the fact is you will get so much more out of your experience if you have at least some basic lessons.
For those who really want to take advantage of the entire experience then the more lessons you can do the better.
When it comes to ski lessons, you pretty much have two options: individual 1-2-1 sessions which are the most costly option or group sessions. Clearly, the benefits of solo sessions are that you get a more intensive, supportive experience but this comes with an added cost. Group sessions can actually be a lot of fun, working with a group of people at a similar skill level and it also brings the price down.
As an average price, you should expect to pay approx $70 per hour for 1-2-1 sessions and approx $30 for group sessions.
The number you require will depend on your existing skill level and budget, so we recommend doing a bit of research and speaking to some instructors to see what they recommend for you. It will take at least a couple of days to really embed the knowledge you’re developing and build up your confidence to tackle the slopes without the safety net of an instructor.
If you’re going on a ski vacation and wish to learn when you get there, most ski resorts will have their own professionals but do be aware this can mean paying a premium price. If you’re fortunate to live near a local mountain or ski club then this is often a cheaper option and will prepare you as a relatively competent skier before you travel.
Ski Resort Costs
The costs involved in travelling to/from a ski resort, as well as staying there can be pretty high. Fundamentally this is because they know you want to stay as close to the slopes as possible and this means they can add a premium on everything for your trip from room rates, to dinner and refreshments.
However, if you consider alternatives, such as staying a little out of the resort and travelling in, or finding a self-catering flat then you can save a few bucks which very quickly add up to significant savings.
Accommodation And Parking
Even the smaller, more boutique ski resorts will offer a range of accommodations from cheap hostels all the way up to luxury hotels. The closer you get to the slopes, the greater the cost but these can often include benefits like free transfers from the airport. This removes the need to worry about rental cars.
When thinking about accommodation, reflect on what your requirements are. For example, do you value the location over the quality? Or perhaps you’re happy to stay further away and spend the extra money on things like food and drink.
Parking can be a challenge and isn’t always freely available, due to the nature of the locations you’re travelling to. Many ski resorts will have shuttle buses and if you go for a ski vacation with transport included this can be a cost-effective approach. Always be careful to check with your hotel about parking charges as you don’t want to get stung with an extra daily charge of $20-$30 for your car as it soon adds up!
Food And Drink
Just like any other popular city or travel resort, you will pay a premium for food and drink on your ski trip if you plan on eating at the resort. This is okay for the occasional celebration or special treat but it can quickly build up to a significant amount.
A great way to save money is to look at whether you can find accommodation that has a kitchen. This means you can cook the meals you want, when you want and save a few bucks at the same time!
If you’re just going skiing for the day or not travelling too far, then bring food from home or a local supermarket. Skiing is thirsty work, so make sure you have a reusable water bottle with you at all times. It will save you money and help the environment all in one go.
Travelling To And From Most Ski Resorts
In most scenarios, you will need to pay for flights to travel to and from your chosen ski resort. For domestic flights across the US, the price will vary and right now prices are going up but plan to budget approximately $300-$500 per person for this. Always search for stopovers, shuttle buses or even rail services to see what the most affordable option is for you.
For those that have bought their own ski gear, there will be added baggage fees involved and each airline has its own rates. On average, this can be around the $50 mark per ski bag. Consider as well, getting from the airport to the resort as you may need to rent a large enough van, pay for a taxi or if you’re lucky, take advantage of the shuttle buses that most resorts offer that should have space for baggage.
We hope this guide has provided a really useful overview of the potential costs involved in skiing and how to budget accordingly. Skiing is a relatively expensive sport, even if you go for a quick day trip or rent used skis. However, by planning ahead you can make significant savings on travel, buying your own gear and the total cost.
The final words we want to leave you with are ones of optimism. If you try out skiing, we genuinely believe you will love the experience and never look back.