Try as I might, I’ve never made the big bucks. I wasn’t born into money  (thanks a lot, Mom and Dad), my lottery tickets never hit (well, it’d help if I bought one once in a while), and neither I nor my husband ever managed to parlay our business savvy and creativity into an international billion dollar media empire.

C’est la vie.

The upshot is that like most of the world, I have to be careful with my money. This isn’t easy in skiing. A quick trip through any ski shop will show you how pricey most stuff can be. It’s the easiest thing in the world to drop several hundred on a ski jacket and a thou’ plus on equipment. Add a hundred here for good quality gloves, a hundred there for gotta-have-’em goggles, eighty bucks for a lift ticket — it adds up. Quickly. To a really high number.

Fear not, my children. Gather round and listen. There are lots of ways you can save a little green, so you can get out on the white.

How to save on lift passes:

  • Buy early. Lots of resorts offer terrific pre-season deals. Check out your favorite mountain’s website or the site for your state’s ski association. SkiVermont, for example, has a great Deals page. And you can find a compilation of terrific deals at TheSkiDiva forum. But better hurry. A lot of these deals expire soon, so don’t wait to get in on a good thing.
  • Liftopia: If you don’t know about Liftopia, you should. This is a great site for cheapskates. Liftopia sells lift tickets online at greatly reduced rates. You have to buy in advance and availability may be limited, but it’s definitely worth checking out..
  • Join a ski club. Lots of clubs offer great discounts on trips, tickets, and lodging. There’s probably one in your area. Your local ski shop would know.
How to save on gear:
  • Buy used. If you don’t have to have the latest and the greatest, check out ebay or go to your local ski swap. We at TheSkiDiva have started a list of schedued swaps. You can check it out here.
  • Buy last year’s stuff. I just scored a great pair of new boots. Last year’s model, half price. The only difference from last year is the graphics (like I care) and the last is a bit narrower, which works better for me, anyway. If it was great last year, it’s still great this year. For a whole lot less.
  • Steepandcheap and The Clymb: I’m all for frequenting your local ski shop. There’s nothing that can replace the good old fashioned expertise and personal assistance these guys offer. But every skier should have these websites bookmarked. The first offers one great deal at a time, until it’s gone. And the second functions more like a retail club. You sign up (it’s free), and they provide several offers per week of really fine outdoor gear at a reduced cost.
On the hill:
  • Bring your lunch: Incredible how much you can spend on bad food. Bring your own. You’ll eat better, healthier, and cheaper.
  • Bring your own tea bags or hot chocolate mix: Resorts typically don’t charge for hot water. So help yourselves to theirs and brew yourself a cup.
  • Don’t pay to park. You’re there to exercise, for crying out loud. So if your mountain charges for close-in parking, keep your money in your pocket. Either come early so you can get a good spot, or resign yourself to schlepping  your stuff a bit. It won’t kill you.

All this sounds good to me,  Yeah, it takes a little effort, but it’s definitely worth it.

Anyone else have any great tips?