Paying to Ride, Rent and Fly
Skiing while living in a large city can be costly—possibly more expensive than if you lived closer to mountains. Cost and accessibility are often the more prohibitive factors in choosing to ski, but there are several ways to work around these barriers. Below, I’ve detailed major cost contributors and how you can mitigate high prices.
- Transportation—If you live in a city—particularly a city in the Midwest—you’ll need to travel further distances to access mountains. This presents a problem. If you live in a city, you likely do so for the convenience; public transportation is an inexpensive and effective tool for mitigating fossil fuel emissions and cutting down on personal expenditure. What I’m dancing around is that if you live in a city, you probably don’t have a car. That can be an expensive problem. If you don’t want to take an Uber to and from the mountain, there are a few options. Few city-centric ski resorts have shuttles from downtown, but it doesn’t hurt to check. If you’re truly in a bind, consider the following: join a local ski club and catch rides with them every weekend; ask a friend to borrow a car; or invite the car-owning friend to ski. Most cities also have ZipCar services, and annual membership fees are remarkably low. Renting a zip car will often mean adding a few dozen dollars to your day, but the convenience might be worth it.
- Gear—If you’re living in a city or otherwise mountain-less area, you likely don’t own ski gear. I moved to the Midwest with my gear, but I skied so infrequently that the upkeep felt like too much work. If you’ve held onto your gear, congratulations–you’re a better person than I am. If you sold it but still need equipment for those few weekends each year, shop do shop around on the internet for cheap rentals. I can’t say this definitively (this is from personal experience), but it feels like ski resorts in the Midwest and around cities charge more money for their rental equipment. I thought is that they understand how few people in the area actually own their own gear, so they hike the prices. Maybe that’s what’s actually happening, and maybe I’m just paranoid, but spend some time on the internet before reserving a rental. Some websites will even gather all the rental companies in the state for you to easily skim rates.
- Tickets—Lift tickets are often one of the more prohibitive costs of skiing. Though this has little to do with living in a city or without great access to mountains, this expense may dissuade you from heading out altogether. Plus, you might feel scammed by mountain rates; why would you spend the same amount of money to ski a tiny slope in Illinois as you might to ski a big resort in Colorado? Luckily, there are a few ways to cut this price down. On the whole, purchasing online and in advance, often at least seven days before your trip, is a great way to save money. Most resorts will offer 10%-15% off the window price when you do this. A lift ticket price database is another great way to find insider deals. exist, and some even have insider deals. The internet is a wonderful place for the thrifty skier; a few minutes of searching can save dozens of dollars.