In the past, many people regarded skiing as a sport that “other people did.” There is a perceived lifestyle that skiers lead on and off the mountain, but is skiing a rich person’s sport?
The answer to this question isn’t as clear-cut as you may think. Skiing is very varied, and so are the people that do it.
But before going into the differences, let’s look at what you need to be a skier or snowboarder.
- Costs Associated With Skiing
- Skiing Style And Attitude
- Reducing The Costs Of Skiing Equipment
- Buy Used Ski And Snowboard Equipment
- Managing The Cost Of Ski Clothing
- Destinations And Accommodations
- Living The Lifestyle
- Final Thoughts
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When you look at all the things you need to pay for, you can see how the numbers start to add up.
Skiing is one of those sports where you need a lot of equipment. It is physically impossible to ski without all the gear, so what do you need?
First of all, you need skis, boots, and poles. The price will differ depending on the type of equipment you buy.
The next thing you need is the appropriate clothing. Jackets, pants, thermals, gloves, and ski socks can all be quite expensive.
We recommend that you protect yourself when skiing and snowboarding. Therefore, you need to wear a helmet, but snowboarders can also opt for a range of protection from wrist guards to full body armor.
Not everyone is lucky enough to live near or in a ski resort. Therefore, there are costs associated with staying away.
Many people need to drive or fly to the mountains, which can be pricey, depending on how far you have to travel. But, you will also need to pay for a hotel or some other type of accommodation.
Once you arrive at the ski resort, you will need to feed yourself and your family. Also, you need to be able to get up the mountain, so you will need to buy lift passes.
Ski resorts are not known for being cheap places to eat and drink. Also, lift passes can be very expensive, especially in North America.
All this may suggest that skiing is a rich person’s sport. But, with some careful planning, skiing can be much more affordable.
There are many different disciplines of skiing and people have different styles and mindsets. For example, do you like to ski easy runs during the morning and stop at lunchtime? Or do you hit the backcountry powder until the sun goes down?
By this, I mean if you take your skiing seriously, you will spend lots of money on the necessary equipment and the time to do it. If you are more of a casual skier, you may not be too bothered about having the best stuff or spending all your time on the mountain.
It all depends on what you want to get out of skiing. If you want to use it for fitness, you could choose Nordic skiing, which is relatively inexpensive compared to other disciplines.
However, there is more expense involved with alpine skiing, thanks to all the things you need, including your ski pass.
With the amount of stuff you need to go skiing, there will always be some expense involved. But, how can we reduce what we need to spend?
The ski equipment you choose to buy will depend on your ability, experience, and your preferred style. Therefore, there is a big difference in equipment costs.
As a beginner, you won’t want to buy the best of everything. High-end equipment won’t be suitable for you, so rather than buying it, you could rent your equipment.
But, if you buy ski or snowboard equipment suitable for beginners, you will outgrow it pretty quickly. Your skills will develop beyond your gear, so you will have to upgrade quite soon to keep progressing.
Ski resorts all over the world are filled with ski rental shops, which are ideal for lowering the costs associated with a ski trip. They benefit beginner skiers the most, as they don’t have to buy skis, boots, and poles straight away.
You can hone your skills on rental gear and buy your own when you feel that you will benefit from it. By renting in the early days, you will be able to get a good feel for what you want and need.
Many people continue to rent ski and snowboard equipment throughout their winter sports career and never buy their own. The benefit of renting is that you can use new gear every season.
Good rental shops get a fresh batch of equipment every season. They have a wide enough selection to suit your skill level, but you can also try different stuff out during your trip.
Other benefits of renting are that you don’t have to maintain and transport your own gear.
An alternative to renting is to buy used equipment. The price of used skis and snowboards is much cheaper than buying new.
When you buy used skis and snowboards, there are a few things you need to check. With a careful inspection, you will be able to decide if they are in good condition or worth what the seller is charging.
The first thing to check are the edges of the snowboard or skis. Around the edges of a ski or snowboard, you will find metal strips.
The condition of the metal makes a difference to how the board or ski performs. Therefore, you should buy only if the edges are well-maintained.
It is easy to check the condition of the edges by running your fingernail along them. There should be no burrs or rust on the edges.
Look along the edges carefully to make sure they are straight. Avoid buying if the edges are wobbly, have bulges, gaps, or if they are loose.
A ski that is quite old and has been tuned a lot during its life will have very thin edges. The reason for this is that they get ground down, and if the edges are too thin, you won’t be able to tune them much in the future.
You should also check to see if the edges are the same thickness. If one ski’s edges are thinner than the other, it could have been damaged or skied more than the other ski.
The condition of the base of a ski or snowboard is very important to its performance. Over time, the base can get scratches and gouges when they hit rocks and other hard objects.
You can easily fix scratches and gouges yourself, or a good ski tech will do it for you. If the base has damage near the edges, avoid buying the skis or snowboard. Water can get into the construction and de-laminate it as it freezes and thaws.
The top sheet of a ski is the area on the top of the ski where the fancy graphics are. The top sheet can get damaged, but most of the time, it isn’t serious.
You need to check the top sheet for delamination, which is when the layers of the ski or snowboard start to come apart. You will see delamination along the edges and at the tail. Closely scan the length of the top sheet for delamination at the edges.
Ski bindings can get damaged over time, so they are worth paying attention to. Check for loose parts, loose screws, and cracks while looking to see if the DIN settings are the same front and rear.
If the DIN settings are different, the spring may be worn out, causing it to release the boot too easily. A good ski shop will be able to measure the spring tension to see if it is safe.
On used snowboard bindings, check for any cracks in the chassis and that all the screws can be tightened. Also, look at the condition of the straps and ratchets.
You can replace snowboard binding straps cheaply, but you want to know that they work before you get to the top of the mountain.
Used skis or snowboards with a good layer of wax and sharp edges demonstrate that they have been looked after. If the base is dry and the edges are blunt, they have not been maintained and will perform poorly.
Your choice of ski clothing will depend on where you ski, the type of skiing you like to do, and your personal style. For example, if you ski in high-altitude resorts, you will need thick clothing or lots of layers.
If you only ski on the groomed slopes and don’t tour into the backcountry, your clothing choice will be different. Also, if you have expensive tastes and like specific brands, you will need to pay a premium.
All of these will make a difference in how much you pay for your ski clothing and equipment.
But, you may be able to benefit from buying your clothing at the end-of-season sales. Ski and snowboard shops always have clothing and equipment left over.
If you time your visit to the shops well, you can get your stuff at a heavily discounted price. You may get lucky at the start of the season, too, as there are often discounted unsold items. As long as you don’t mind wearing last season’s colors, you will be fine.
Parents can be reluctant to buy their kids ski clothing. Therefore, you can rent clothing in some ski resorts.
Renting kid’s clothing is beneficial, as you don’t have to keep buying new things each season as your child grows.
Staying in a flashy hotel in a high-end ski resort is going to cost a lot of money. You get what you pay for, though, as excellent service, stylish design, and convenience are all included.
You can easily keep the costs down by picking a less glamorous resort or a different accommodation option.
Lower altitude ski resorts tend to be cheaper to stay in. They are less snow-sure, but that will only really affect you if you want to ski powder all the time.
Before booking your accommodations, check to see what the lift passes will cost you for the duration of your trip. The lift pass prices in some North American ski resorts can cost you thousands of dollars just for a family ski weekend.
If you are a beginner or are going away with kids, check out the different lift pass options. Some ski resorts will have family discounts or cheaper options that don’t include the whole ski area.
Some people that visit the same ski resort multiple times a season will buy a season pass. Season passes may seem expensive initially, but they are much cheaper than buying individual passes each time you visit.
When It comes to accommodations, you don’t need to spend lots of money on posh hotels. Ski resorts have many accommodation options to choose from.
By staying in an apartment, or other self-catered property, you can keep the costs down. These are often cheaper than many ski resort hotels.
If you are in a self-catered property, you don’t have to eat out for every lunch or dinner. By cooking for yourself and taking a sandwich with you on the mountain, you can save lots of money.
But going out and enjoying what the ski resort has to offer is often a big part of the experience. Therefore, to stop yourself from overspending, do what the locals do.
Look for bars with happy hours deals. Many of the best bars will offer lower prices on beer and food to entice people off the mountain as the lifts close.
Skiing and snowboarding are a lifestyle for many people. They will make many sacrifices to live in a place where they can regularly do the sport they love.
Most people that live in ski resorts are not rich at all. They will take pretty much any job they can to pay for their season pass and survive the season.
Those people who wash dishes, serve drinks, and service skis are on a very low wage. They often share expensive tiny apartments with several other people.
People in ski resorts will find cheap ways to live while being able to afford all their equipment. There are always exceptions to the rule, but these people’s dedication to the lifestyle is admirable.
Some people arrive at a ski resort with the goal of just doing one season. These people are often on a gap year before going to a university or into the corporate world.
However, some people get the mountain bug and never want to leave. The draw of untouched powder and incredible social life is too much to pass up.
If you spend long enough in a ski resort and don’t make a fool of yourself, you can get to a point where you can lead a relatively normal life. You can earn reasonable money while having access to the mountains.
This is a lifestyle that doesn’t come easy, though. Most of the jobs in ski resorts are not very well paid, and they often end when winter does.
Some ski resorts have a summer scene, which caters to hikers, mountain bikers, climbers, and anyone who likes the outdoors. Work can be a bit limited, as summers tend to be less busy than winters. However, many hospitality jobs are still available.
But, there is always a break between summer and winter. During these times, ski resorts are virtually empty apart from a few locals.
People who want to stay in the mountains during this time can work, but they will usually need to take what they can get. Often they will need to work on building sites as laborers. If there is no work, people will tend to travel until the season starts again.
There are many costs involved with skiing and snowboarding, but if you take some time to consider your options, you can reduce the costs associated with winter sports.
You don’t need to go to the glitziest resort and stay in the poshest hotel. Neither do you need to buy the very best equipment and clothing, but as long as you have what you need to stay comfortable and have fun, that is all that matters.
You can accumulate the equipment over time rather than buying it all in one go. Many people start off by buying clothing to suit the areas and conditions they ski in.
Often, when new skiers and snowboarders decide that it is time to start buying equipment, they start with a good pair of boots. When you own boots that are the perfect fit for you, you know you will have the comfort and control you need.
As you start to progress, you can discover the perfect setup and ski resort for you.