Snow on a budget
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!
SCENIC: A snowy Mt Buller could be your next snow holiday.
CARVE: Is there anything better than carving up Hotham powder snow.