What is the one thing that stops you from snowboarding more?
If you are like me, or most of my friends, then the cost of snowboarding is a big factor that limits the amount of time we get to spend on the mountain.
You could up and leave your town and go and live in the mountains to ride every day, but for most of us that is not a realistic option. Although that would be amazing we have bosses, family and friends who may not be too happy about that.
Because of this we have to find a way to balance paying our bills and our passion for the powder.
With this in mind, today’s article is on the topic of riding on a budget. If you save money on every snowboarding trip you go on then you will be able to take more of them. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Below are some snowboarding tips to help you save money on your next trip to the mountains. Look on a trip as a group of building blocks: travel, food, accommodation etc. If you can save a little money on each of them, it will soon add up. Do this a few times and you should have enough money left at the end of the season to squeeze in one last visit to the mountains…
Depending on what time you plan on heading to the mountains, the amount you pay can vary a lot. If you go in school holidays, expect to pay through the nose and face long lift ques. Find a friend with kids and find out when the little brats are at school for a quieter and cheaper trip.
End of season is a great time to take a trip as the mountain resorts are scrambling for all the money they can before the snow melts. You can sometimes pick up deals that are half price or better. Just keep in mind that there is unlikely to be much powder at this time of year so if this is your thing then llok at going earlier in the season.
If you don’t already have a set-up or a generous friend you can borrow one off then you are left with two choices. You can either buy one or hire one. As this article is on the subject of saving money then we’ll assume that you don’t have hundreds of dollars to drop on a set-up right now. That leaves us with the hiring option.
By far the best way to save money here is to think about this in advance. If you visit a snowboard shop in your home town before your trip you are more likely to get a good deal. Shops in resort have a captive audience and because of this are often charge higher prices. I recently found myself in a city and decided to go on a last minute trip. I did a quick Google search and found a local shop to hire a board from. I was able to hire a board and set-up for around half the price that it would have cost me if I had have waited until I got into the resort. In my opinion, I got a much better board too.
Resort shops are busy places so visiting a local shop before you go will let you discuss your riding ability more with the shop staff which should help you get a more suitable board. Benefits all round!
Travel is another huge cost of snowboarding. If you’re flying to resort then make sure you watch flights in advance. Flights booked ahead of time are far cheaper than last minute flights. We all know how to book a flight so that’s all I’ll say on that. Use some common sense.
If you are driving or need a lift then a great way to save money is car-pooling. A good way to find ride share is to hit Facebook and then search for a snowboarding group in your city. E.g if you are in Calgary then type “Calgary snowboarders” into the Facebook search bar. You’ll normally have a few different groups to choose from in each city. Join in the conversation and get chatting to people. You’ll find a lot of people either offering a ride or needing a lift. Not only will you save cash by splitting the fuel costs you may find yourself with some new friends. Just make sure you let someone know your plans in case they turn out to be an axe murderer.
If you plan to stay in resort overnight then you are going to need somewhere to stay. A great way to save cash on this area is to contact the hotels direct and not through an online agent. By all means check out the reviews on sites such as trip advisor to find a decent place to rest your head but do your best to find their phone number or email and get in touch with them directly. If you do this and actually talk to someone you are more likely to get a good deal on your room.
Another way to save money when looking for accommodation is to consider resorts that may not be as high profile or well-known. Often you can stay in a sister town next to a bigger resort for a fraction of the price. Before you do this though, make sure there is access to the hill from where you are going to be staying. If it is not connected by the area lift system then there will no doubt be a free bus service to get you to the hill. Keep in mind though that the smaller towns may not be as lively, so if partying is important to you then this might not be the right option
If you plan to visit the same area a few times in the season then a season pass may be the best way to go. Many resorts offer killer early bird deals for season passes to get the business in, so if you can afford it then this is a great way to save a load of money.
Another significant cost of your trip will be the lift ticket. Good ways to save money on this is to look on sites such as liftopia.com to see if there are any discount tickets for the area you plan to visit.
Also, utilise any friends you have made through the Facebook groups mentioned earlier. Ask them for ideas on local cash saving ideas. Local people know the tricks that work on their hill and will know the best way to get tickets at a good price.
By far the easiest way to save a ton of cash on a trip is to take your own food up onto the hill. Mountain restaurants (especially in Europe) are notorious for charging extortionate prices for average food. Once in Courchevel, France a friend of mine paid 10 euros for a bottle of water. I am still laughing at the look on his face now.
Visit the local store, get some supplies for sandwiches, pick up some fruit and chuck them in your back pack or trouser pockets. It’s far better to sit outside and have a picnic of squashed sandwiches with your friends any way.
Tip: If you know what sort of area you are going to be in at the end of the day then bury a fruit juice box (or beer, if you are old enough) in the snow and dig it up hours later for ice cold refreshment. What better way to finish a hard days riding?
Snowboarding and partying go hand in hand so if you are old enough to drink it is likely that you plan on hitting the bars at least once on your trip. If this is the case then a bit of planning could really save you some money. Bars often have happy hours or promotional nights. Keep an eye out for this.
Local mountain bums are expert at saving cash. Find out what bars they drink in and you should get a better deal than the expensive tourist traps. You will get a better night too. Head to the terrain park on the hill and get talking to people, find out where the best places to go are from the people who know.
The age old trick of pre drinking is also a good way to make your money go further. A few beers and a drinking game at the apartment will get you in the party mood and help stop you from coming home with empty pockets. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and wake up the next day without even making it to the bar.
So there you go. A few snowboarding tips to make the money in your wallet go a little further the next time you want to hit the mountains. If you have any tips to share then let us know in the comments below. We’ll be coming up with some more tips throughout the season so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.