Everyone’s feeling the pinch right now, and there’s no getting around the fact that snowboarding is an expensive pastime. But before you dismiss the possibility of a snow fix this year, consider these tried and trusted techniques for riding on a budget. Remember: Where there’s a will there’s a way!
Never pay list price. Use services like skyscanner.net and kayak.co.uk to find the cheapest flight deals, and before clicking through from these price comparison sites, do a direct search on the cheapest airline’s website, just to check it really is the best deal. Plan in advance and take a punt on some dates if you use the budget airlines, just make sure you factor in the baggage costs. Accommodation in resorts can be tricky – most of the hotel aggregator websites have a limited selection of properties in resorts – so go direct to the resort’s website. Early and late season, many resorts offer accommodation and lift pass deals. Compare transfer prices from the airport against national train and bus services, and if there are a number of you, look into car prices.
mountainrideshare.com is a website that puts people who are going to a resort and have space in their car with those that need a lift. It’s also worthwhile jumping onto the forums on websites such as snowboardclub.co.uk and goneboarding.co.uk to see if anyone is interested in sharing a vehicle and splitting the costs.
Self-drive / train
With all the costs associated with flights and baggage charges, it is definitely worth considering driving or getting an overnight train. If there’s a few of you, squeeze into a car and go self-catered for the week. Bringing most of your food with you also keeps the costs down.
If work and the rest of the group are pretty flexible on when you can take time off and where to go, you can pick up an absolute bargain booking a late deal.
People power. Generally if you can get a big enough group of you organised, then booking a whole chalet can work out a good deal. If you book through a package-tour company then the organiser usually gets a free place.
No one really knows how many people are in your apartment so long as you’re clever about it. Use every available space. Stock up in the supermarkets and take it in turns to cook a big meal for everyone, and get tanked up on cheap beer before hitting the bars. Embrace your inner student!
Quite a few resorts, especially in Switzerland, have good quality hostels at a fraction of the cost of a regular room. Just bring ear-plugs!
Snowboard Club UK offer you stacks of discounts on almost everything connected with the sport. From outerwear to airport parking.
Some package deals include discounted or free lift passes – worth thinking about considering a weeks pass can cost you up to £300 in Canada. Try booking in advance and get discounted tickets on Liftopia.com – it mainly covers US resorts but European resorts are now appearing. If you’re a beginner then you might find a cheaper pass which only covers you for the few lifts you’ll need. Lastly, if you’ve ever bought a 6-day lift pass and then missed half the mornings because you’ve been partying too much (and that’s most of us at some point!) then do the maths; if you’re sure this is going to happen then buying daily or afternoon passes as you go could make more sense.
Alternatively, SkiSquirrel is a free membership club that offers various discounts in some French resorts.
Pack a lunch
Admittedly the last thing you really want to do when you’re hungover is to make a little packed lunch, but those 10 euro spaghetti lunches are filling your gut and emptying your pockets. Make a sarnie, fill a bottle up and have your lunch on a lift, and while everyone scoffs their faces in the restaurant, you go and shred those empty slopes.