Winter is here and the mountains are capped with fresh powder! If you’re itching to hit the slopes, it’s time to get planning. With the holiday season’s many expenses, you’re probably looking to save on your winter vacation.

For all you budget-conscious powder-hounds, we’ve put together some tips for planning a cheap ski vacation!

Hit up a budget-friendly mountain resort

Canada’s an obvious choice for a ski vacation

From British Columbia to Quebec, our northern nation is known for its plethora of world-class ski and snowboard destinations, including the popular Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Blue Mountain, Ontario, and Mont Tremblant, Quebec.

Although Canadian accommodations can be pricey, if you stay within the country, you may save on transportation to your destination.

Here are some of the most affordable ski resorts in North America according to Travel & Leisure.

Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta

Located in the stunning Canadian Rockies, Banff and Lake Louise Ski Resorts will not disappoint! With three mountains to choose from, including the family friendly Mt. Norquay, the grandiose Lake Louise and lofty Sunshine Village, there’s a hill for every type of skier or snowboarder—from novices looking for a gentle ride to experts seeking extreme terrain.

Skiers and snowboarders at lake louise ski resort
Skiers and snowboarders enjoy pristine slopes and clear, blue skies at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alberta.

All three mountains are located near the towns of Banff and Lake Louise, which feature plenty of accommodations and après-ski diversions.

Looking for a fun way to celebrate winter in Lake Louise? Check out the Ice Magic Festival from January 18-28, 2018.

Red Mountain, British Columbia

Rossland BC’s, diamond in the rough, Red Mountain claims to be “the last great, unspoiled resort.” Its pristine runs include vertical drops, in-bound cat skiing opportunities and gentle slopes for beginners, all spread out over three mountains. It’s also got an abundance of snow, short lift lines and friendly locals. Choose ski-in-ski-out accommodation or book a place to stay in town to be closer to the action.

Explore more of Western Canada’s fantastic ski destinations.

If you prefer to head south of the border, the US has some great spots too.

Explore the following for some affordable ski resorts.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City’s Wasatch Mountains are home to 6 ski resorts, all within 30-45 minutes of Salt Lake Valley. Featuring the “the greatest snow on earth,” the area benefits from lots of sunny days and a variety of terrain. A Salt Lake vacation is ideal for those looking to plan a ski trip with affordable places to stay, urban comforts and more.

Looking for a romantic escape? Check out the 5 Best Ski Resorts for a Romantic Getaway in Canada.

Winter Park, Colorado

If you’re looking for ski and stay packages in Colorado, you’ve come to the right place. Winter Park, Colorado’s longest operated ski resort, is a great option. The resort boasts 3,081 acres of award-winning terrain.

Female skier at the top of run with mountains in background
Sunny days, varied terrain and ski and snowboarding packages make Winter Park a great option for a ski vacation.

There’s a run for every level of skier as well as kids’ activities plus lodging for every budget. The mountain has an average of 320 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine. Winter Park offers ski and snowboarding packages that include:

  • Lodging
  • Lift tickets
  • Flights
  • Activities
  • And more

Plus, you can save up to 40% on lift tickets through ski.com.

Compare lift ticket prices

Before you decide where to take that ski vacay, you might want to compare lift ticket prices for yourself. This helpful website breaks down lift ticket and season’s pass prices for 2017/18.

Reminder: Whether you’re travelling to the next province or across the border to the States, your provincial insurance won’t cover you if you get sick or injured; you’ll want to get travel insurance.

Look for deals and discounts

Looking for ski getaway deals? It’s a little late to book early for early bird discounts, but you may be able to find stellar deals on Groupon or Living Social. You also may want to look into package deals. You can get everything from accommodation to lift tickets and more.

Check out skicanada.org for discounted lift passes.

Get cheap or even free gear

If you’re heading up the mountain for a week or even just a weekend, why bother buying new gear? It’ll put a major dent in your budget, especially if you’re travelling with family. Instead, check out a local secondhand sports store for gear or even visit a thrift store for gently used jackets, ski/snowboard pants, gloves etc.

Skis and snowboards on ski rack with mountain in the background
A local secondhand sports store can be a great place to buy gently used ski and snowboard gear.

Renting skis, snowboards, or snowshoes off the mountain will save you money, and you may avoid some massive lines too. Places like MEC offer rentals at affordable prices at daily or weekly rates. Alternatively, if you have friends who are skiers, ask to borrow coats or snow pants from them.

Book lodging wisely

The cost of your accommodation will make a huge impact on your budget. That’s why you’ll want to find something that meets your specific needs.

If you’re travelling with family or friends, consider sharing a vacation home and splitting the cost instead of booking your own accommodation. You can save lots this way, and you’ll have a lot more room, too!

Need tips? Read Top Things to Consider Before Renting a Vacation Home Abroad.

Experiencing ski-in-ski-out accommodation is certainly a luxury, but It’s also one you pay for. Staying off the mountain, or in a nearby town will save you money, plus you’ll only be a short drive or shuttle away.

As you’re aware, food costs really add up! Especially when you’ve got an appetite from exerting tons of energy on the slopes. Renting a place with a kitchen will give you the option to stock up on groceries and cook some meals. You can also prep sandwiches or other easy to handle food for your day.

Visit out of season

If you can bear to wait for shoulder season, it’ll pay off! You’ll save big on your accommodation, enjoy discounted lift tickets, and there’ll be fewer people on the hill. The conditions may not be as perfect, but you might find yourself skiing in a t-shirt in the sun! Always amazing!

Wherever you choose to go, make sure you get the most suitable travel insurance for your ski and snowboard vacation. You’ll want to be covered if you get hurt on the mountain or have an accident on the way up. If you’re the adventurous type and planning to try some off piste or backcountry skiing, there’s travel insurance for you too.

We hope these tips will help you plan a fabulous budget ski holiday. Have your own cheap ski vacation tips? Share below!

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