When Flagstaff wakes up to snow in early November, you can almost hear the collective expressions of excitement from college students near and far who are already busy envisioning themselves out on the slopes. There’s nothing quite like a mid-semester ski trip to revitalize you, and the fresh clean mountain air is just the therapy you need before studying all night for end-of-the-semester exams. But soon you begin to grapple with the reality of funding a ski trip on a college budget, and before you know it, you tell yourself there’s always spring; there’s always next year.
Skiing can be a pricey endeavor. Things such as ski or snowboard equipment, lodging and lift tickets can mean a hefty financial investment, and that’s why we’ve come up with some tips for planning a ski trip on a college budget. We wholeheartedly believe that the mountains are for everyone and are simply good for the soul. So grab your gear and get ready to plan your ski trip on a budget using these four lifesaving tips!
- Shop for the all-in-one
Students, ski resorts know you’re coming and they want you to stay really, really bad. Often times what happens is that the resort will partner up with a local hotel and offer discounts on rooms or even create ski bundles to encourage you to stay longer. These offers are usually a lot cheaper than booking your room and then buying your entry separately, so make sure to keep an eye out for them. There are various deal and booking websites out there that curate these deals, including SnowPak and Budget Travel Real Deals. Don’t forget that Peace Surplus rents Ski and Snowboard packages for $19.99 a day. Going out of town? We will even throw in free travel days.
- Realize that the weekend is not the only time for a vacation
Many people fall into the “perfect three-day weekend” sales pitch when booking ski trips. But weekend rates at hotels and lodges can be pricey. Luckily, almost all places have midweek rates, or rates from Monday to Thursday, that are a great deal lower than the rates you would pay to stay on the weekend (Arizona Snowbowl is one example). While weekend skiing might seem like an ideal mini-vacation, we know that when you’re up on that mountain, the days of the week will become irrelevant.
- Get your lift ticket ahead of time
The early bird gets the worm. It’s not just an age-old adage your grandmother loves to use to get you to do your chores, it’s also true when you’re planning a budget-friendly ski trip. The golden rule: buy your lift tickets early. Buying a lift ticket on site can cost you almost as much as your lodging. One good way to avoid extra fees is to look for ski packages where the lift fee is included. If your package doesn’t include a lift pass, try to find one from a discount lift site. Try Liftopia or Get Ski Tickets.
- Go to your closest mountain
We all have dreams about skiing Whistler or the Alps, but let’s not forget about all of the exciting ski locations that are realistically within our reach. Here in Flagstaff, we’re fortunate to be just minutes away from Arizona’s Snowbowl, located on the beautiful San Francisco Peaks. And because we strongly believe that skiing should be an affordable sport enjoyed by everyone, we proudly offer ski packages starting at the lowest prices in town. Wherever you are, you’re likely to be within a sensible radius for skiing and snowboarding this season, and that means you can start exploring your options for winter or spring skiing now!
If you’ve been longing to spend some time on the mountain, but have been reluctant to plan a ski trip due to costs that may be out of your reach, we encourage you to try our tried and tested planning secrets to finally plan the ski vacation you’ve been dreaming of.
Do you have any additional tips that you’d like to share? Have you planned a successful ski vacation using these tips and you’d like to let us know how it went? Leave your comments in the space below!