5 Tips to Save Money on Your Ski Vacation

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Winter is just around the corner!  Soon, the snow will start falling, which means ski season is upon us.  As a life-long skier, this is my favorite time of the year.  I always look forward to planning ski getaways! 

Folks who collect flexible credit card points are already ahead of the game when it comes to saving on a ski vacation.  Because you can use points to save money on flights to terrific winter destinations, like Colorado and Utah.  But flights are just one part of the equation.  That’s why we put together a list of a handful of other tricks that can save you along the way.

Make Your Winter Ski Getaway More Enjoyable by Saving Money Along the Way!

Before you book your ski vacation, be sure to check out these useful tips, which can save you time and money.

1.   Check Your Skis or Snowboard for FREE Just by Having Certain Credit Cards! 

Link:   These Credit Cards Get You Free Checked Bags

Nowadays most airlines (besides Southwest) charge up to $30 per checked bag.  This means a family of 4 checking skis could pay $240 round-trip just in baggage fees.

And unfortunately, Southwest doesn’t fly to all of the top ski destinations.  So if you have to fly another airline and want to avoid out-of-pocket checked baggage fees, you should consider applying for a credit card that has a free checked baggage perk.  Or a card that offers a statement credit for travel fees, which includes paying for checked bags.


Bringing Your Own Gear on Your Ski Vacation? Opening a Rewards Credit Card Could Save You BIG When It Comes to Checked Baggage Fees!

2.   Consider Airbnb Instead of a Ski Resort

When traveling with family or friends, paying for multiple hotel rooms near a mountain can get pricey.  That’s why you might consider searching Airbnb, or another vacation rental site, to book a house or condominium close to the mountain.

Not only can you save money on accommodations, but a rental means you might also get access to a kitchen.  So folks who like to cook can save money on eating out as well!  Plus, most vacation rentals have washing machines and dryers.  So you won’t have to travel home with your wet ski gear.

And you can even use credit card rewards to offset the cost of your Airbnb stay.  For example, you can earn easy to redeem miles with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.  Just pay for an Airbnb stay with your card.  Then, use miles to “erase” the charge!

3.   Even If You Own Gear, Ski and Snowboard Rentals Might Make Sense 

Typically, ski and snowboard rental shops will have the latest and greatest skis and snowboards.  So if you don’t have your own gear, don’t rush out to buy $1000s worth of fancy equipment.  And even if you do own gear, you might consider renting to avoid the headache of lugging your skis around.  Million Mile Secrets team member Keith remembers checking his snowboard when traveling to Park City for one day of skiing.  He says he’ll always rent gear in the future for short trips because of the time he wasted at the airport waiting for his board. 

Plus, sometimes ski resorts have packages that include rentals and lift tickets for less than the cost of buying both separately.  

If you decide to rent skis or a snowboard, I recommend talking to folks at the rental shop to let them know what kind of skier or rider you are.  Let them know what you have liked and disliked in the past.  Or if you’re unsure, just let them style you out in what they think is best.  

Throughout your stay, you can test out different skis and styles.  This is a great way to figure out what types of skis or board you like best if you ever decide to make a purchase in the future.

The trickiest part for skiers is getting the right sized boot.  Don’t fret if you need to go back and change your gear if it’s not fitting right.  That’s what the ski techs are there for!  People often spend a whole day (or longer) in uncomfortable ski boots without trying a different pair.  Don’t let this happen to you!  You’re supposed to be comfortable skiing.

Jump Right Ski Season This Winter! Depending on the Length of Your Trip, It Could Be Worth It to Rent Gear so You Don’t Have to Check Skis.

4.   Use The Local Bus System

Almost all ski towns have great bus systems going to and from town.  This is an easy way to avoid the costs of getting a rental car and having to find and pay for parking every morning before you hit the slopes.  Often times, taking public transportation can actually be faster than driving because they drop you right in front of the mountain.  This is much better than paying to park and then having to take a shuttle or walking to the mountain. 

Check the bus system schedule beforehand and see if there’s a stop close to where you’re staying.

5.   Buy Lift Tickets in Advance and Check for Multiple Day Passes 

If you don’t have a ski pass for the entire season, I recommend checking for resort specific deals.  Most mountains offer a discount for buying lift tickets in advance.  Plus, you can usually save money buying multi-day passes.

There’s a good chance you’re going to get a much better deal online than at the ticket office window.  This goes for ski school and lessons, too.

Planning Is Key for Ski Vacations! Be Sure to Check for Deals and Discounts on Lift Tickets Prior to Arriving at the Mountain.

There are only 2 months until the snow starts falling and the lifts start spinning!  Can’t wait to ski or ride this winter?!  ME EITHER!

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

If you have any other money savings ski vacation tips, feel free to share in the comments below!

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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9 days ago

This is a very important issue
Because we usually spend a lot of money in places like this
Thank you for the article

1 year ago

We typically use points for air and hotel, so our biggest expense is ski rentals. (after lift tickets, which we bought an EPIC pass…) Google coupons for that area and a lot of places have 25% off, or a sliding scale of the sooner your rent, the cheaper it is.
Also, some places like Breckenridge, there are not a lot of ski rental places where the trail ends. So the on mountain ski rentals are expensive, or else you have to walk to the ski rental place or back to your lodging with all your ski stuff. Not a big deal, but when you have 2 kids, it can be work.
Other places like Park City, there are numerous slopeslide ski rental places such as Ski N See that can be pretty cheap. You can store your boots there during the day, and then return your skis there at night and walk back to your lodging in boots. And then repeat each day.

Reply to  Trup
1 year ago

Great tips! I haven’t been to Breckenridge, but it’s on my list. Really enjoy Park City though.