So this is my first *actual* full-length post. Hopefully it won’t be my last. Enjoy!
As I kid, I always envisioned the snow sports, skiing in particular, as the realm of the uber rich. I’d picture families on their all luxury, all inclusive ski vacations to Aspen, matching winter outfits abound.
Who knew that years later, I’d be one of those people, albeit board in hand, heading on my own snowboarding vacations? The major differences? I’m not going to Aspen. And I’m not super rich.
As a broke 20-something, regular ski weekends can get expensive fast. So how’s an aspiring snow bunny supposed to pull it off on a budget? Here are some ways that I’ve managed to make the most of limited funds:
1) Local mountains don’t suck (that much). I grew up in and still live in the Northeast. So no Rockies, but Vermont and New Hampshire are nothing to sniff at. When I was in high school, ski bums I knew would spend hours at Tuxedo Ridge, a small “mountain” with just a handful of trails. Sure, it was tiny, but you could (and still can) get a weeknight lift ticket for under 20 bucks. Not a bad deal for someone who’s looking to practice and stay in shape. Now that I’m in the Boston area, I have a season pass to Blue Hills (which I will very generously refer to as a mountain) that cost me just over $200. It ain’t Killington, but I can board to my heart’s content for next to nothing.
2) Big weekends are okay (if they’re cheap). I freaking LOVE daily deal sites. They’re my kryptonite. And I especially love when Groupon or LivingSocial puts out an incredible half price deal for great ski weekend in Maine or something. Also, I subscribe to SkiMail, the Boston Globe’s site and newsletter for ski getaway deals. And don’t underestimate the power of ski bums in large groups- city specific organizations like Social Boston Sports have greater pull and can negotiate discounts, so get on their lists today.
3) Borrow first; buy later. Please, god, DO NOT BUY EQUIPMENT IN YOUR FIRST SEASON. What if it turns out, heck, you really don’t LIKE this snow sport stuff? My local spot offers equipment rental all season for $130. For just a bit more, you can take that equipment to ANY mountain all season. Your other option? Butter up a friend who has a spare board and boots in your size.
4) Buy off season and on sale. So if you have finally set your heart on skiing or boarding, like so many other seasonal sports, buying in season will all but guarantee that you get ripped off. March, April (in the Northeast) are when a lot of sport shops are looking to offload inventory and move in the bicycles, kayaks, etc. for summer. Or, if you’re lucky and live near a Burton Outlet like I do, you can score sweet deals all the time (like on the sweet half price boots I picked up last June).