“Hm, sounds expensive.”
So you’ve moved out West. Maybe you’ve heeded the call of a small ski town or you’ve followed a job to a city close to the mountains.
At any rate, there’s a good chance you’ll want to start skiing because that’s what you do, right?
While skiing isn’t everything for everyone, it certainly has its place as an outlet for that itch you’ve been wanting to scratch. Besides, who doesn’t love skiing powder? Aside from newbies of course. More on that later.
So with all this vigor and enthusiasm for a new “extreme” sport that promises the freedom of the mountains, it’s time to figure out how the hell you’re going to get out there with no equipment (and if you’re really winging it like I did when I moved to Colorado, no money and no car).
Obstacle #1 – Equipment
Never fear, this isn’t as bad as it seems!
All the fancy schmancy gear that your neighbor is useless to you and frankly, if you’re brand new to the sport it means absolutely nothing because you’ve never seen the stuff before. So, use this to your advantage.
Before dropping some serious coin on your sticks, remember this–you can get down the mountain on any pair of sticks. I got my first set up for $100 (skis, bindings, & poles) and while it wasn’t great, got me through a whole season just fine. Don’t go crazy here. Take it slow and build up your quiver gradually.
When it comes time to buy your skis, check Craigslist. This way you can talk to someone who owned them previously, can give you a run down, and if you’re super sweet, might have some things laying around they’re willing to part with to help you on your way. Some people are just cool.
Once you’ve exhausted those resources, check for pro and demo sales in your area. Pro sales are a collaboration of professional athletes that have excess gear they want to get rid of. You can get great deals on new equipment this way. Demo sales, on the other hand, are a fire sale of a rental shops demo skis and boards for the year. Also, a great deal. Spring is the best time to catch these deals so keep your eyes peeled.
Obstacle #2 – Ski Pass
“Who has an extra $800 laying around to do this stuff?!”
Well it’s obvious, you’ll just buy all your tickets through GetSkiTickets.com and life will be hunky dory. (Shameless plug).
If, however, you want to go the pass route, the number can be a bit intimidating, but depending on where you live, you can often ski for dirt cheap.
As Vail Resorts continues to add more resorts to the popular ski pass, access to a mountain close to you is becoming pretty real. The Epic Local pass, for example, which allows unlimited access to six resorts across Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, runs $669.
For another set of resorts at a cheaper price, the Ikon Pass might be your best friend. At $599 for the base pass, you can ski unlimited days at 10 resorts across the country, primarily in Colorado and California.
Also check with your home resort if you just need a one mountain pass, but be forewarned that even though it’s just one mountain, the pass prices can be just as expensive if not more expensive than a multi-mountain pass.
If the pass option doesn’t suit you, look into multi-day passes that break down the daily rate or, of course, buy your tickets from us. So before you buy your lift tickets directly from the ski resort, check here for deals sometimes as high as 60% off window prices.
Obstacle #3 – Transportaion
If you have a car, that’s great, also consider giving a ride to someone who isn’t quite as well equipped. If you don’t have a car, however, you have a few options.
Whether you meet people who are going or have friends headed up, this is the best way to the hill. If you don’t know anyone in the area yet, check Meetup.com for information about groups headed up to the hill. Often times all you’ll have to do is pitch in for gas, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Many cities/schools/organizations/companies provide transportation to and from the mountain.
Salt Lake City’s public transportation, for example, can drop you off for $4.50 at a number of resorts including Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, and that’s not even the full list.
In a ski town? Chances are you have a free bus that will get you to the hill. Whitefish, MT, Crested Butte, CO, and Summit County, CO all have free buses to the mountain. It’s the best transportation deal in skiing.
Well, what else is there to do? It works.
At the end of the day, it’s about how bad you want it.
Are you working a job that gives you the cash flow but no time? Are you rich in time but not money? Have you won the job lottery and managed to have both? Either way, you can make it work, just don’t try to do it all at once.
Yes, the snow is melting, but it should be around for a couple more years. Just make sure you like it before going all in.