10 Ways To Save Money & Ski More

Skiing and snowboarding can be expensive, especially for families, but they certainly don’t have to be. Find a way and use the resources you have to get out there and have fun in the snow with your family this winter.

It doesn’t matter how fancy your ski equipment is or how old those jackets and ski pants are. I started snowboarding as a teenager in the early ‘90s with a cheap hand-me-down board, Sorel boots, wool hunting pants, and a retro thrift store jacket.

With a little planning and a thrifty mindset, it’s easy to ski more and spend less. These tried-and-true tips put a winter of on-the-mountain fun within reach of most family budgets.

Display of ski boots with price tags at ski swap sales event.
Boots for sale at ski swap. // Photo: Shallan Knowles.
  1. Season Passes: If you want to ski or snowboard more than a couple of times a winter, a season pass is the way to go and can save hundreds of dollars. For the best deal, get your pass in the spring or during the fall season pass sale windows (usually by the middle of November or earlier). Several resorts also offer discounts for purchasing multiple passes. 
  2. Lift Ticket Deals: Many resorts often offer special lift ticket discount promotions throughout the season. Check the ski resort websites for details or call and ask about promotions.
  3. Learn to Ski/Ride Programs for Kids & Adults: Our local resorts make it easy and affordable for kids and adults to learn to ski or snowboard for the first time. The EZ Ski Ride 1-2-3 program for total beginners is an all-inclusive package that come with three days of skiing or snowboarding with everything included: lift tickets, lessons, and gear rentals.
  4. 5th Graders Ski for Free: The Ski the NW Rockies 5th Grade Passport program allow 5th graders to ski for free three times at each participating resort, including Mt. Spokane, 49 Degrees North in Chewelah, Silver Mountain in Kellogg, and Lookout Pass on the Idaho/Montana border. Ski Idaho offers a similar program at all Idaho resorts for both 5th and 6th graders.
  5. Toyota Free Ski Fridays: All of our local resorts host a free ski day sponsored by Toyota on one Friday each season. On those days, the driver of any Toyota vehicle gets a free lift ticket when they arrive at the mountain. Find all the dates and details at Skinwrockies.com/toyota-free-ski-days.
  6. Hit the Ski Swaps: You can save a ton of money outfitting your family with skis, snowboards, boots, poles, and all the winter gear at annual ski swaps. You can sell your old gear at the swap too.
  7. Buy Quality Used Gear at Rambleraven Gear Trader: Rambleraven started out as an outdoor gear consignment store where you can now find a wide range of quality used ski and snowboard equipment and winter gear like jackets, ski pants, gloves and more. Located on the Division Street hill in north Spokane, Rambleraven also carries new ski and snowboard equipment in case you don’t find the right used gear. Additionally, you can bring adult and kids’ gear into the shop for consignment to turn your old ski stuff into cash. Save gas and check the shop’s website where all of its new and used gear are listed and available for online purchase with shop pick up or convenient shipping.
  8. Borrow What You Need: If you know other skiing or snowboarding families, check with them to see if they have any gear their kids have outgrown that might be collecting dust in their garage. When our son first started out skiing, we had friends loan and even give us quality old gear.
  9. Rent Equipment: Several ski shops in the Inland Northwest lease or rent all sizes of ski and snowboard equipment, from children to adult sizes, which is a great option if you only plan to go a few times. You can also rent equipment on-site at a resort (best to call ahead for a rental reservation).
  10. Lease Kids’ Ski Packages from Spokane Alpine Haus: If you or your kids plan to spend more time on the mountain, Spokane Alpine Haus on the South Hill has a popular Jr. Ski/Snowboard Season Lease program. An awesome opportunity because each season your child will get fitted for a new set of boots and skis that is the right size for their growing bodies. This saves time and money, and eliminates shopping around to buy new or used gear each year. At the end of the ski/snowboard season, simply return the leased gear (in clean condition) to the shop. Spokane Alpine Haus also carries a wide range of brand-new ski equipment and ski and snowboard gear for kids and adults. Reserve your child’s leased ski gear early for best selection.
Child trying on ski boot to get properly-fitted for the next size of seasonal lease gear.
Remington trying on season lease boots. // Photo: Shallan Knowles.

Find more stories for outdoor families, about skiing/snowboarding and teaching kids to ski, the annual Family Winter Sports Guide, and more Ski NW Rockies stories in the OTO archives.

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