Ski Vacations On the Cheap

Let’s face it; skiing is not one of your more inexpensive hobbies. It’s not like hiking where you can buy a pair of hiking shoes, perhaps a walking stick, and just start hiking a trail. With skiing you have your special clothes, your special equipment, lessons, accommodations, lift tickets, etc. It can get quite pricey. But, you’d be amazed at what a little scaling back or research can save you. What are some of the ways you can cut down on the cost of your ski vacation?


Let’s start with the location. You don’t have to go Aspen. You don’t have to go to Park City. You don’t have to go to Tahoe. If skiing’s what you really want to do, try skiing in your own back yard and save some change. There are numerous lesser-known ski areas in many states that don’t have the bells and whistles or the status attached to them, thus they’re cheaper. And, if you can drive to them you can save yourself costly airfare.

For example, if you live in Southern California, save money by going to one of the fine ski areas within driving distance, such as Mountain High in Wrightwood, just a 90-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles, or just over 2 hours from San Diego. That’s right; you can ski all day in the mountains, and have dinner on the beach. Another close ski area is Mt. Baldy. And that’s just a 45-minute drive from Los Angeles.


Scour the internet for ski vacation packages that include your lodging, lift tickets, lessons, rentals, and, if possible, some meals.


Yes, it’s really nice to ski all day and feast at night on filet mignon and a nice bottle of Cabernet. However, if you’re on a budget and you just gotta ski, skip the expensive meal and go for a cheaper diner or fast-food restaurant. You can probably pick up a tasty burger for the cost of the tip at the fancy restaurant. And, if you want an inexpensive bottle of red wine to go with that burger, try picking up a less-expensive bottle of wine at home and bringing it with you.


Yes, there’s nothing like a condo at the ski resort where you can practically begin skiing from your back door. But, talk about sticker shock! Lodging at ski resorts can be expensive. Try staying at a hotel or motel a few-minutes-drive away. Or, cheaper yet, consider staying at a ski hostel.

There’s an abundance of hostels across America near popular ski resorts at incredibly low prices. While it’s true many of the rooms are dorm rooms with shared bathrooms, if it’s a cheap ski vacation you want, hostels are the way to go. And, with many hostels, you can have family rooms or private rooms for a few extra dollars.

Hostels allow you to go to the prime ski areas on the cheap. For example, if you want to take a Ski Vacation to Breckenridge in Colorado, but can’t afford the expensive lodging, you can stay in the dormitory at the Fireside Inn Bed & Breakfast (970-453-6456) for only $36 per person. You’re only 5 minutes from the Breckenridge ski area, and 20 minutes to Keystone. And, during ski season, the bus to Breckenridge peaks stops at their front door. Not bad for $36 a night. If dormitory life’s not for you, you can spend $80 for a private room with bunk bed.

How about a ski trip to Taos? You might want to consider the Abominable SnowMansion, a 60-year-old adobe lodge with dorm rooms, private rooms with shared baths and private rooms with private baths. You can have a bunk and a breakfast for only $20 per person or $36 per couple. A private room with a shared bath can be had for only $45 per couple or $33 for a single person, while a private room with private bath goes for $52 per couple or $45 for a single person. You can call them at 505-776-8298 for more information.

These are just two examples of hostels near great ski areas. There’s sure to be one near your favorite ski resort. A quick search of “ski hostels” will reveal many inexpensive lodging choices.

Taking an inexpensive ski vacation often times requires a little thinking and a little sacrifice. But, the experience of skiing down a mountain makes it all worth it.