Why is Skiing So Expensive and How to Save Money

Skiing is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do in the winter, but it can also be one of the most expensive. The cost of skiing seems to increase every year, so it’s always great to find ways to save money and still get on the snow. 

I’m a lifelong skier who loves everything about the sport. I also like to save money so I can get to the mountains as much as possible. Through years of experience, I’ve figured out ways to save money on skiing. 

In this post, I’ll explain why skiing is so expensive and also show some ways to save money. My goal is to provide other skiers with these tips so they can spend as much time as possible on the slopes without worrying about how much it costs. 

Let’s start saving. 

Why Skiing Is So Expensive

Skiing is one of the most expensive winter sports you can do. It’s even one of the most costly activities to do any time of the year. And what’s worse, the costs involved seem to go up each and every season. 

Why is that? 

Well, multiple factors make skiing such an expensive sport and pastime. Let’s break down these factors and take a closer look to have an idea of how you can save. 

1. Equipment Costs

One of the most significant contributing factors that make skiing so expensive is all of the equipment you need to start skiing. Everyone needs to have skis, boots, poles, goggles, a helmet, and all your cold-weather clothing. 

If you want to own your gear, you need to purchase all of this gear before you ever get in the lift line. Even if you rent, you are still looking at pretty hefty rental costs, which increase every day you go skiing. 

You can’t ski without all of this necessary equipment and getting everything you need results in a considerable upfront expense that can’t really be avoided. 

Also Read: How Much Does it Cost to Rent Skiing Equipment?

2. Lift Ticket/Ski Pass Costs

Once you have all of your equipment together, you still need to get a lift ticket or ski pass to access the runs at the ski resort. This is the cost that typically shocks people who are new to the sport. 

A single-day lift ticket at the popular resorts in North America can now cost over $200. That’s for just one day of skiing! This varies from resort to resort, but there aren’t many left that charge under $100 for a ticket. 

If you want to get a ski pass to ski all year long, that will easily cost you over $1000 for full access with the top name passes in the industry. This is cheaper than buying lift tickets every day, but it’s still a huge expense. 

Why do ski resorts charge such high prices for their lift tickets and passes? 

One reason is that operating a ski resort costs a ton of money, and these costs get passed on to the consumer. Another reason is simply that they can. Skiers are willing to pay these prices, even though they increase every year. This is economics, and resorts are trying to profit. 

3. Travel Costs

Another big reason why skiing is so expensive is that most people have to travel to ski. If you don’t live in a ski town, you’ll need to fly or drive to the resort. You’ll need to pay for gas or flights, which can add up quickly. 

If you are traveling a long way from home for a ski trip, you’ll also need to pay for lodging and food. For a weeklong ski trip, these costs will rack up really quickly. Just think bout travel costs for an entire family for a week!

How to Save Money on Skiing

Even though skiing is relatively expensive any way you look at it, there are still ways you can save quite a bit of money. If you are a little savvy and know a few tricks, you can cut skiing costs down hundreds, even thousands of dollars. 

Tip 1: Purchasing Ski Equipment / Getting Rental Discounts

While the initial costs of buying all of your ski equipment can be significant, purchasing your gear can be a lot cheaper than renting in the long run. If you ski about ten times or more in a season, buying skis, boots, and poles instead of renting will save you money.

To take savings even further, try to buy your ski gear in the offseason. Most ski shops and manufacturers will offer sales during the warmer months when skiing isn’t on everyone’s minds. Shop around, look for deals, and you can save a lot of money.

You can also buy used skis or poles to save some money. I don’t recommend buying used boots or bindings, but you can look at the ski shop or on resale sites for used skis and usually save a few hundred dollars versus buying brand new.   

If you don’t ski as often, you should look for rental discounts before heading to the resort. You can sometimes get these discounts as part of a package deal with the hotel or lodge you are staying at. It’s also cheaper to rent equipment at ski shops not directly at the resort.

Tip 2: Buy a Pass / Don’t Buy a Ticket at the Resort

If you plan on skiing often, you really need to buy a ski pass. Again, this is a significant upfront investment, but it’s going to pay off quickly if you ski more than a handful of times during the season. 

Ski passes can also get you discounts on food and lodging, and they come with other perks like discounted tickets for friends and the ability to ski at different resorts all over the world. It’s a great savings tool for an avid skier. 

If you don’t ski often and a ski pass doesn’t make sense, always try to purchase your lift tickets before getting to the resort. If you buy these at a ski shop in town or even at a grocery store, you can save a lot of money. 

Most resorts also offer bundled ticket discounts. You can get deals by buying a four-pack, for example, and save money by buying more than one ticket at a time. 

Tip 3: Travel and Lodging Savings

To save money on travel, it always pays to book things as far in advance as possible. Ski resorts and towns like to get their rooms booked up and offer more discounts the further out you can commit to paying. 

Carpooling to the resort if you are driving is a way to save on gas costs. And there are promotions and other discounts available for lodging if you know where to look. 


Skiing is expensive, but there are still ways to save and make it more affordable. With a bit of planning and foresight, you can save quite a bit of money to let you ski or travel to ski more often than you would otherwise be able to.

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  • Eric Thompson

    I really know what you mean. Just getting started in this is HUGE. Especially when you are just starting out. At first I rented. That was 30 bucks for boots and skis, then another 50 bucks for a lift ticket. Multiply that by 2 lift tickets. One for my daughter, and one for me. Thank God I took this up late in the season,but I did buy my daughter a 20 pass punch card at the hill we go to. No I got my own stuff, and the 2 of us are loaded for bear this year. The hill we go to has a sweet deal on season passes for the next season if you buy it the previous year at the end of the season. You basically get it for half price. It’s a big game changer, and after 5 trips out its paid for itself, and you get to go for FREE the rest of the year, and also like you said buy all the expensive gear in the off season. I bought my skis at basically half price, and my boots were last year’s models at 40 percent off. Basically got 800 dollars worth of skis, and boots for almost half off. Then,there’s other ways to save. It’s not my style because I like new stuff ,but if you’re on a budget you might consider going to a ski swap. I hear you can get some good stuff if you know what you’re looking for.. Plus you can sell your old stuff, and buy something new.

    • Christine

      Hey Eric,

      It’s awesome to hear you took advantage of some discounts and were able to get geared up and ready to go. Anyway you can save a bit on the cost of skiing makes it worthwhile. I know the overall costs can be a large barrier to entry for a lot of people, so I’m happy to hear some of my tips helped out. Cheers to a good season and hope all is well!