Snow on a bud­get

Alpine News - - News - By Gina Wood­ward

WANT to take a trip to the snow but just can’t get past the per­cep­tion that it’s too ex­pen­sive? Don’t throw the idea in the bin just yet – there are many ways you can save money and hit the slopes for less.

TAKE THE COACH OR CARPOOL

When you drive your­self to the snow, you have to worry about the cost of petrol and Na­tional Park en­try, not to men­tion pur­chas­ing or hir­ing chains if you don’t al­ready own some. Save money and stress less by jump­ing on a coach and let some­one else do the driv­ing and chain fit­ting.

If you want your own space, and en­joy the com­fort of your own ve­hi­cle, get to­gether with your snow bud­dies to share a car, the driv­ing and the costs.

BUY YOUR LIFT PASSES EARLY

Ev­ery ski re­sort in Aus­tralia of­fers a dis­count for be­ing or­gan­ised and buy­ing your lift passes in ad­vance. Do your re­search into the dif­fer­ent ticket op­tions avail­able be­fore the snow starts to fall and make your win­ter hol­i­day all that more af­ford­able by get­ting or­gan­ised early. Some ski re­sorts of­fer flex­i­ble lift passes that al­low you to pick and choose the days you want to ski or ride – so if you want, you can wait for the snow and the weather gods to dic­tate your plans.

BUN­DLE YOUR LIFT PASSES WITH HIRE GEAR AND LESSONS

If you don’t own your own equip­ment and want to im­prove your skills with lessons when you’re on the moun­tain, your best bet is to hire your gear and pay for your lessons in a bun­dle with your ad­vance pur­chase lift passes. Get it all sorted up front, at the same time, and save in the long run.

STAY IN A CLUB LODGE

Stay­ing in a ski-in/ski-out lux­ury chalet will prob­a­bly cut into your sav­ings. But what about an on-moun­tain club lodge? All you need is a warm place to sleep at night and club lodges can ac­tu­ally be the most fun way to en­joy a win­ter break as you en­joy meal times with other lod­gies and chat about the best spots to get fresh tracks. Or stay off-moun­tain and save more. Some of the towns close to the re­sorts of­fer great deals, check out travel web­sites and get onto the lo­cal Face­book pages too.

BRING YOUR OWN FOOD

Eat­ing out can be ex­pen­sive no mat­ter where you are. Save your dol­lars by bring­ing some food with you and eat in – Aussie sta­ples go a long way for a day on the slopes: Vegemite on toast and por­ridge for break­fast sounds pretty good and you’ll find some ski lodges will have your milk and but­ter sorted for you. Pack your lunch and bring a wa­ter bot­tle – which also saves time for more ski­ing!

PICK YOUR TIM­ING

It’s much cheaper to ski dur­ing shoul­der sea­son than it is dur­ing peak sea­son. Avoid the crowds and queues of July school hol­i­days and Au­gust and get your snow fix early in June. There may be less ter­rain open but with snow­mak­ing in­vest­ments across the re­sorts, it’s only get­ting more re­li­able each year. And it is a great time to learn. Or, in­crease your chances of blue­bird skies and warmer weather by wait­ing for some fun spring ski­ing in Septem­ber. It’s of­ten the best time to get your snow fix; the sun is shin­ing, the ski­ing and snow­board­ing is cheaper and it’s also a lot of fun with less peo­ple on the moun­tain and happy sun-lov­ing crowds in the bar for après beer and sch­napps!

PHOTO: Mt Buller / An­drew Rail­ton

SCENIC: A snowy Mt Buller could be your next snow hol­i­day.

PHOTO: Hotham / Sarah Hat­ton

CARVE: Is there any­thing bet­ter than carv­ing up Hotham pow­der snow.

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