💸9 Ways To Save On Outdoor Gear This Winter
Dear Rich Lifer,
Ski season is officially here.
Whether you’re new to alpine sports or a seasoned pro, outfitting yourself for the season can be a costly endeavour.
An adult ski package will easily run up to $1,000 or more, and that’s not including outerwear. But the thrill of flying down the slopes in fresh winter air easily justifies the heavy price for some.
If you’re one of those people, then we have some tips for you on how to save on outdoor gear this ski season. Although Labor Day ski sales have come and gone, there are still plenty of ways you can save money on lift tickets, ski rentals, apparel and equipment.
As long as you know where, when, and how to buy your gear, skiing on a budget is possible. Here is a collection of some of the best tips to save you money on the slopes this winter.
If you’re just starting out or you’re an intermediate skier, buying pre-owned is the most cost effective route.
A lot of local ski clubs have pre-season sales that usually run into the start of ski season. As more skilled members update their gear, they often sell off their old equipment.
If you time it right, this is when you can find some of the best deals on skis and accessories. One piece of advice: don’t cheap out on bindings.
New ski binding technology easily releases when you get into trouble, allowing you to avoid getting injured. If the bindings you’re considering buying are worn out or more than six years old, it’s best to keep looking. Safety always comes first.
If you can, join your local ski club’s mailing list to find out when their pre- and post-season sales are happening. Rental shops near the hill may also sell off older equipment as they replace it with newer models. Watch for those sales too.
Renting skis for a season may seem like a waste of money. Why not just buy? But there are instances where renting makes a lot of sense. You should rent if you have young kids just getting into the sport, and are most likely going to outgrow their gear on a yearly basis. Or if you only plan to ski a few weekends this season.
The best way to save on rentals is to either rent for the entire season, or shop around at off-site local ski shops to find the best daily rental prices. Avoid the resorts if possible.
If you want to save on lift tickets, it’s best to avoid skiing on weekends and during holidays, like Christmas and New Year break, Martin Luther King’s birthday and Presidents Day.
Weekday lift tickets are usually less expensive than Saturdays and Sundays. And if you’re over 40, skiing a full day might be too much to handle anyway. Opting for a partial-day ticket will not only save your body but your wallet too.
Another option is night skiing. Several ski resorts have lights outfitted on most of their popular runs, though it’s generally colder than day skiing, it’s usually less busy and cheaper.
If you know ahead of time when you plan to ski, check out Liftopia for lift ticket discounts on daily and multi-day passes.
Take Advantage of Seniors’ Discounts
Depending on the resort, the cutoff age for seniors ranges from 62 up to 70. If you’re over 60, it’s best to check if there are any seniors’ discounts you qualify for. Some ski hills offer up to half off for seniors.
If you’re a beginner, you should definitely take advantage of “learn-to-ski/snowboard” packages. Most ski hills offer them and they include ski rentals, lessons and a limited area ski pass for the day. The packages are usually really cheap since they’re trying to entice newbies into trying the sport. Check out the ski hill’s website or phone ahead to find out what deals they offer.
Youngsters Ski Free
Two popular ski destinations, Vermont and New York, have free skiing for grade-schoolers. In Vermont, fifth-graders qualify through an application process. In New York, third- and fourth-graders qualify for a season of free skiing. Be warned, this season may have restrictions due to COVID-19 and there are also typically blackout dates for these free programs.
Hit the Outlet Malls
Winter apparel brands love outlet malls. Since most outlet malls are strategically located near vacation spots and high-traffic areas, bigger brands like Columbia Sportswear and REI tend to set up shop in these malls.
If you want to avoid the crowds, you can also shop online at Backcountry.com and most other major ski and outdoor apparel brands’ websites. We recommend waiting until Boxing Day sales to save more.
Follow the Boy Scouts Motto
Lastly, follow the Boy Scouts motto and always “Be prepared.” When you’re planning a day of skiing, make sure you plan ahead. Pack your own lunch, snacks, and drinks for the day. It’ll save you time and money having to wait in line to buy a burger at the slope-side restaurant.
It’s no secret that skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports. But if you follow these tips and know where, when, and how to shop deals, you’ll be surprised how affordable it can be.
To a richer life,
The Rich Life Roadmap Team