By: Brad McNally
Snowboarding and skiing are great hobbies to get into but they suffer from one big drawback: cost. Similar to other action sports, the cost of equipment can add up quickly if you aren’t careful, and then you have to add travel and resort/lift costs. While there is very little chance of you getting to go out and board for free, there are many ways to save a bit here and there to make it a little easier on your wallet.
1. Borrow before you rent
Buying new gear is expensive. While renting a board and boots might give you a bit more options in the size department, if you know someone who already owns some boarding equipment it can’t hurt to ask. Personally, I lend out anything I can to friends that might take up the sport because it may lead to them loving it and being able to join in. This is generally with items like pants, helmet, and goggles, but I have even loaned out my board and boots before. If you are trustworthy, and have helpful acquaintances, it can save you a bit.
2. Pack a lunch
This advice isn’t just for kids at school or those saving money at work. Eating out is expensive, and some resorts even seem to charge more because they might be the closest/only food source nearby. Pack some foods that you can leave in the car if you are driving out for the day. Even throwing a few protein bars in for snacks can save you from dropping unnecessary money in the lodge, and what you pack can be healthier, too.
3. Purchase tickets for the best use of time
It is really easy to plan a full day out, but if you are commuting to the mountain you might be able to save by getting a half day lift ticket. Check to see if there is a pass you can purchase for a half day at a lower cost, or even a 4-hour ticket for those times when you can throw your board into your snowboard car rack after work and hit the slopes. You also might be able to save some on tickets by heading out on a weekday instead of a weekend. Also check for discounts or special days as well. Shop around. If two resorts are within driving distance, try to get the best value.
4. Join a group
Group discounts can be big. When I was younger, I joined in with a school group that would go at least once a month. This meant I got a season pass at half price, but I could go as often as I liked. Other than the trips with the group, I went most every weekend. It costs a little more up front, but the savings can add up when you consider multiple trips into the cost.
The cost of any hobby can add up, and snowboarding is no different. If you keep an eye on the costs and really consider the value for your dollar, it can be done rather cheaply. Of course, it is hard to put a price on the feeling you get when you are flying over the powder.