Greeting friends! I hope this post finds you doing well. Can you believe summer is already halfway done? Time really does fly. Anyway, I wanted to address a topic I get asked pretty often.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO GO ON A WINTER SKI VACATION?
The answer to this question has many variables – One persons or couples trip could be 1x amount while a family of five may cost 3x amount. A couple may want a very extravagant trip and their cost maybe 10-20x amount. Below I will breakdown the top 10 costs of a ski vacation to give you a better idea for your budget.
TOP 10 COSTS OF A WINTER SKI/SNOWBOARD VACATION
- LODGING – Lodging can range from $150-$2000/night during the winter. In the middle of the season nightly averages are around $300-800 for 1-3 bedroom set-ups. Holidays, as well as days and weeks around the holidays will command the most per night. Christmas to New Year’s week tends to be one of the most expensive weeks of the season. If you want to receive the lowest rates per night, plan to stay early (OCT & NOV) and late season (APR & MAY).
- LIFT ACCESS – Lift tickets or lift access can be one of the most expensive parts of skiing/snowboarding. The full unrestricted EPIC pass is $939 and the EPIC LOCAL is $699. The full unrestricted IKON pass is $1049 and the IKON BASE pass is $749. IKON and EPIC are the best ski passes on the market. Buy your pass today if you plan on skiing or being (wanting to ski or snowboard) on one of their mountains more than three days. It’s super expensive by the day; between $150-210/per day (depending on the time of the year and snow conditions). Last season I saw one-day holiday walk-up to window tickets being sold for $233!
- AIR TRAVEL – Air travel is another fairly large variable cost. Costs can range from $200-700 per person for round trip fares. The cost of air travel is ever changing. Pricing is very dynamic. This means that not everyone pays the same. When you book and the dates of your actual travel contribute towards cost of a ticket. Traveling during the holidays or peak times will increase your cost. Traveling early in the morning as well as late at night can save you some money as well as traveling on non-holiday weeks.
- RENTAL CAR/SUV – While a rental car is not a must, having one offers you much more freedom and flexibility. Rental vehicles can range from $350-$2000 week in the winter. When traveling in and out of the mountains I always recommend a 4-wheel-drive SUV. Costs on these vehicles are usually between $800-$2000 for the week. You will need one of these vehicles if it snows. As my grandmother would say…”It’s better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.” If at all possible, I recommend sharing a rental vehicle. Not everyone will need a rental vehicle of their own. Shuttle and transfer service is also a great option for those of you that want to take in the views or get that last bit of work done before hitting the slopes.
- SHUTTLE OR AIRPORT TRANSFER – If you do not want to go with the option of a rental car, a shuttle or airport transfer is a great option. The cost of this service is around $120-200 round trip. You don’t have to worry about driving to and from the mountains. You get to sit back and relax and leave the stress of driving to a pro. Another great benefit of not having a car is not having to worry about the parking (most parking is metered) as well as gas for the vehicle.
- RENTAL GEAR & SPORTS EQUIPMENT – Unless you have all of your own stuff (or borrowed from a friend) you will have to rent gear. Gear cost ranges from $20-100/day. This all depends really on who you rent from and what kind of gear you need/want. Boots, skis(poles) snowboard, and a helmet are usually what’s available to rent. Some people have boots and a helmet and only rent skis/snowboard. There are some shops that rent snow pants and jackets as well as goggles.
- FOOD – Budget no less than $50/day per person. That’s $10 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $30 for dinner. I know for many reading this that seems expensive. It is not in a mountain town. Food is always a premium. It is true that if you plan to stay in a condo with a kitchen your costs for food will be considerably less. You can plan your meals and control your costs that way. If you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in your condo you can really save some money. Many groups eat breakfast in and splurge on a few lunches and dinners out. Most other dinners and lunches are eaten in or bagged for the mountain.
- APRÈS – Après ski or “After ski” Après is a great time to let go, to recognize that a day on the slopes is a good day, to enjoy good music, good drinks, and good stories with great company. Unfortunately, this is not always free. If you plan on hanging out at the bar or other base lodges to drink, eat, and party after your day on the hill you should plan to budget $10-50/day for this after ski drink(s) and appetizer(s).
- GIFTS – Whether for someone else or yourself, tchotchkes as well as that new set of skis come with a price. If you plan on bringing home key chains, shirts and other memorabilia bought in the resort expect to pay an arm and a leg. Find you local drug or big box store outside the resort and you should be able to find that stuff from China on discount.
- TIPS – Tipping is a very personal thing, but if you want service, be prepared to tip. Wages in most mountain towns are low. Most resort and mountain employees make very little. Most employees come and work for a free ski pass. That tip you leave that underpaid and overworked ski bum goes a long way. So don’t be stiff and not tip for good service! Good service/employees going out of their way to help you, should be rewarded in the form of a monetary tip.
Every family and client has different needs/budgets. We can create all inclusive weeks for you and your family or we can piece-meal adventures and excursions once you reach your final destination. It’s entirely up to you. If you want the whole package, you pay for that, if you want just one slice of the pie, you pay just for that. We are fluid, flexible and will create an itinerary of fun. We will do our best to work with your budget and show you a great time!
You may be able to have an excellent trip on $1500 or even $1000. Fly for free on points or use hotel points-you got it made. But for some of you, your trip costs may be $5-6000, all the way up to $15000. Drink $300 bottles of wine, want or need lessons every day, need top of the line rental gear, like expensive meals out, end up buying new a whole new ski set up (new skis, boots, poles, gortex jacket & pants) – you get the picture! Be prepared and set your budget now!
I want you to know what you are getting yourselves into.
WHO WANTS IN?
We are making memories here friends and memories can be priceless, unfortunately everything else costs money. I know you will all have a great time, no matter your budget! Just ask anyone else who had the opportunity to play in the snow.
If you have any questions, concerns, or need any info, please feel free to contact me directly:
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Thanks again for taking the time to read this blog. I hope you all have a great start/finish to your week. I wish you all a great rest of your summer. Until next time, love one another and be kind to each other. Get out there, The Thrill of the Mountain is waiting for you. Ski ya.
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