16 Mar Ski Vacations Are Expensive!

This past weekend I headed out to Breckenridge, Colorado to take part in one of my favorite kind of vacations – skiing!

The trip was part of a 16-man bachelor party… that’s right, 16! It was a relatively tame weekend all things considered. Mostly because the bulk of our party doesn’t get out skiing much and wanted to get our money’s worth out of the 2 ski days we had!

Speaking of Money… Skiing is EXPENSIVE!

Not only outright expensive, but also notoriously difficult to travel hack for us points and miles enthusiasts! You have the typical travel costs – airfare, lodging and rental car – but then must compete for these limited resources with everyone else in the country that enjoys skiing just as much as you do!

The flights are more expensive – both in dollars and points (if you can find award availability, that is)!

Hotels and rental properties are booked well in advance – at a premium during the ski season, of course…

And rental cars out of Denver are a limited resource! All the quality slopes require a trek from DEN – meaning rental car fleets deployed!

How I (kinda) Travel “Hacked” the Trip

Flights –

Booked 2 one-way flights direct between Tampa & Denver.

Note the 3 gift cards cutting down the one-way ticket cost!

While a Rapid Rewards redemption was an option, I opted to utilize Southwest gift cards purchased with my wife’s American Express Platinum and Gold cards (which triggered the annual $200/$100 airline reimbursement fees).

$ Saved = $300

Car rental –

Set up alerts via Autoslash.com. I am a big fan of this site. You can set up alerts and then will receive emails when the rates decrease. If/when that happens, you can go back to cancel and re-book as needed! Just make sure you pay attention to any cancellation terms prior to repeated cancelling & re-booking!

$ Saved = $50

Ski Rentals –

I am from Tampa, Florida and ski once every 3-5 years or so… meaning I do not have my own ski gear.

At least I didn’t have to pay for the helmet rental!

I had to rent, and while I tried to shop around a bit, I ended up booking at the rental shop less than a quarter mile from our rental house. For some reason my dad does have a ski helmet, so I borrowed that and saved there! To the tune of $10 per day!

$ Saved = $20

What I could NOT save on…

Lodging –

Booked a rental house large enough to sleep 16 grown men. And by grown men I mean physically, rather than maturity… No savings here as I was subject to the decisions of the group lead by the best man.

                $ Saved = $0

Lift Tickets – The biggest croc of them all!

Guys… lift tickets are so expensive! It’s price gauging! It’s ridiculous! I could not believe the cost when I initially searched and I was certain that I would be able to find cheaper alternatives on discount sites.

Nope.

Cost me $310, plus another$18 in fees for a grand total of $328 for JUST 2 DAYS!

Every site I searched to depart from the premium cost eventually led me back to where I began. Very circular, very frustrating! No discounts to be had for (let me know if anyone has a good discount lift ticket site link)!

            $ Saved = $0

Final Thought

I love skiing. It is one of my favorite vacations to take! I always find myself asking why I don’t take more of them?

Then I add up all the costs detailed above and it all makes sense! These trips are EXPENSIVE! And very tough to discount or “hack” for cheaper prices!

Have you found any substantial savings when it comes to your ski trip costs? DO SHARE!

Happy Travels!

DW

13 Comments
  • Andrew
    Posted at 11:38h, 16 March Reply

    Go to Salt Lake, things will be cheaper. Or get a pass. Epic 4 day passes are cheaper even than buying regular lift tickets. Or find your local ski bum and try to bum a buddy pass off him, throw a $10 at him, and he will gladly give you a discounted ticket. But even that ain’t a huge savings.

    • DW
      Posted at 11:43h, 16 March Reply

      All good tips! I visited Park City/Deer Valley a few years back and I do remember the price tag being more manageable!

  • A
    Posted at 12:03h, 16 March Reply

    I did a similar trip during grad school. We found a great way to save money. My best friend signed us up for a time share tour at the Grand Timber Lodge. We ended up both getting a 2-day lift pass, plus heavily discounted hotel stay. Our other friends lucked out as they didn’t have to do the time share presentation and stayed in the room for free.

    It ended up being a great long weekend, but I don’t think I’ll ever come back. Breck is grossly expensive.

    • DW
      Posted at 12:25h, 16 March Reply

      Grossly expensive is right… grossly, jokingly, ridiculously expensive! I’ll definitely plan better next time

  • RyanK
    Posted at 12:21h, 16 March Reply

    Check out liftopia, they sometimes have good deals but typically not at a VailResorts Property. Vailresorts price gouges for day ticket prices, The best way to get around that is coming up in a few months, buy a different type of epic pass in the spring for the 18/19 season ont he vailresorts website. for other mountains look in the summertime at the MAXpass or Mountain collective if you plan on going skiing multiple times in a year.

    • DW
      Posted at 12:24h, 16 March Reply

      Great tips! I’ll be sure to follow that advice in the future!

  • DaninMCI
    Posted at 13:08h, 16 March Reply

    Lift tickets are too high. Next time consider flying into Grand Junction and doing Western Colorado or SLC area. I think you would find Western Colorado much more laid back and maybe cheaper. Rental cars certainly aren’t a big issue for most dates out of Grand Jct.
    Nice post btw.

    • DW
      Posted at 13:12h, 16 March Reply

      Thanks for the advice! I think I will definitely look into that for the next ski trip. Avoiding the big names (like Breck) is KEY!

  • henry LAX
    Posted at 15:16h, 16 March Reply

    You can save while going for the biggest and best …. it’s called Whistler-Blackcomb

    • DW
      Posted at 15:19h, 16 March Reply

      Canada, eh!? Added to the list, thanks for the note!

  • Lee @ BaldThoughts
    Posted at 01:37h, 17 March Reply

    They totally are. The lift ticket is expensive in most places… and that’s BEFORE you buy or rent all of the gear and clothes. That being said, the views from atop the mountains are totally worth the price of admission.

    • DW
      Posted at 06:10h, 17 March Reply

      So true! The views always keep me coming back!

  • Free $10 Uber, World's Biggest Water Park, Chase 5/24 Frustration - BaldThoughtsBaldThoughts
    Posted at 06:51h, 17 March Reply

    […] Ski Vacations Are Expensive! – They totally are.  The lift ticket is expensive in most places… and that’s BEFORE you buy or rent all of the gear and clothes.  That being said, the views from atop the mountains are totally worth the price of admission. […]

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