Skiing on a Budget

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

When it comes to hobbies, skiing is definitely not the cheapest one to take up. Between equipment, clothing, and lift passes, you are talking hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each season. Add to that the cost of travel, hotel, and food – since most of us are not lucky enough to live right in a ski resort town – and a week long ski holiday can very easily run you thousands of dollars. Many avid skiers save up all summer and fall for their winter ski trips and still only manage to afford at most a week on the slopes. If you are looking to enjoy a bit more of the season with more time on the mountain for your money, you just have to look beyond the ski hotspots.

Eastern Europe
A lower cost of living makes the Eastern European ski resorts a serious bargain. In many countries, a week’s worth of lessons, equipment hire, and lift passes will still only run you a few hundred dollars. Add to that the lower cost of hotel rooms, beer, and food, and a ski trip to Eastern Europe will be a bargain. Some of the top destinations in terms of both price and quality are: Jasna, Slovakia; Borovets, Bulgaria; Kopanonik, Serbia; Vogel, Slovenia; and Ellmau, Austria.

While the skiing in many eastern European resorts isn’t necessarily as good as French Alp skiing, the extra savings will hopefully help you enjoy more time actually out on the slopes, which for a skier is often the most important thing.

Beyond Europe
When many people think ski resorts, they focus on the European Alps or the North American Rockies. While these two mountain ranges do hold some of the best ski resorts in the world, there are way more places to ski in the world. All you really need is snow and a mountain which is a pretty common thing in the world. The best part? These “off the beaten path” ski resorts are often the cheapest too.

The eastern United States has a number of small, intimate ski resorts that while not as cheap as eastern Europe, still come in as a value. Vermont has a few good options as well as New Hampshire. The hills here aren’t as grand as the Rocky Mountains but they are a great place for new skiers to test themselves.

Oddly enough another great budget ski resort can be found in Kashmir, India. These are the Himalaya Mountains and skiing here can be both excellent and affordable. The flight to India might blow the budget but with the prices here, you could easily ski every day for a whole season.

And if you really want to ski as much as possible, consider heading to South America after the Northern Hemisphere season ends. Here you can find decent prices in both Argentina and Chile, with breathtaking mountain resorts that let you ski all season while friends back home are sweating through summer.

Or Get Paid to Ski
Imagine getting to ski not at the budget resorts, but on the best mountains in the world – all season! While it definitely won’t work for everyone, if you have the skills and flexibility, many top ski resorts around the world offer seasonal jobs with great benefits. You can work as a ski instructor, bartender, or lift operator and spend your days off skiing to your heart’s content. The pay is usually lousy but with perks like unlimited lift passes and discounts at the ski shop, this can be a great opportunity for any passionate skier.

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