There is no doubt that family ski vacation is expensive. There is no sugar coat about it. There is only a small window each year for you to enjoy this winter sport and there are only handful of ski resorts you can visit. So when planning a family ski trip, starts with answering these three questions: What mountain should we ski/snowboard? Where should we stay while we are there? and how much we are willing to spend on lift tickets and equipment rental?
A family ski vacation can easily cost a family thousands of dollars, but there are budget tips to help family to get by on about $150 a day per person. Here are some money saving strategies for planning your next family ski trip.
Ski During Off Season
Ski resorts are busy during holidays and school break. The full peak season typically start after Christmas. So you can snag a great deal if you plan your trip before or after those peak season. A trip to Colorado mountain ski resorts after Thanksgiving or before Christmas will save you several hundred dollars on lift tickets and accommodation for a family of four.
Visit Areas with Multiple Resorts
In the areas with multiple ski resorts, the competition will drive cost down and be beneficial to us, family travelers. The Salt Lake City or Colorado mountain towns, such as Breckenridge, Vail or Keystone, have several resorts within driving distance so you will have more choices and deals to choose from.
Ski at “Low Keys” Resorts
If flying to Salt Lake City or Colorado is out of your budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t still plan for family ski vacation in other low keys ski resorts. California and Washington in the West coast have several ski resorts within driving distance and West Virginia & North Carolina offer ski slopes that can be fun for the families look for ski near Atlanta with out the high price tag.
Stay Up to Date with Package Deals
Even before the ski season starts, sign up to resorts’ newsletter to receive update and deals. Many will offer great deals for family travel like Kids Stay Free & Ski Free. Flexibility is the key to be able to take advantage of this kind of deal because most of the time the deal will have restriction and will not be available during peak season. Hence, tip #1.
Make it a Group Vacation
Most ski resorts will offer group rate if you have 15 persons or more. If you can get a group of friends together, plan your vacation together will save on lift tickets and ski rentals. Most time you can save up to 20% of the normal rate. For family of 4, you just need 3 more families to join your trip. The planning doesn’t involve more work. You will need to call ahead and make a reservation for your group.
Go with Multiple Day Passes
If you already know you want to ski more than one day, purchase multiple day pass will add additional saving to your lift tickets and rental. Most resorts will offer additional discount for multi-day passes and even upgrade option to seasonal pass. For families, most resorts will also offer free child lift ticket with adult ticket purchased.
Pack Lunch and Cook Dinner
For many families, cooking during your vacation is the last thing you want to do. But when you travel with your family eating out every meal can add up rather quickly. Instead, pack simple sandwich for lunch will save at least $30 for a family. Lunch at ski slope can be expensive and you will also be wasting time lining up with other skiers for lunch line at the food court. Bring it along if skiing with a backpack, or store it in a cooler in a locker. At dinner time, a quick simple meal will satisfy everyone and keep the money in your wallet. Staying in an accommodation with small kitchen will cost a bit more but will give you space and ways to save on food.
Family Ski Tips & Resources from Other Travel Bloggers
General Family Ski Tips
- Family travel tips: How to get kids ready to downhill ski – From Mother of All Trips
- Tackling Tahoe with Toddlers – From Frisco Kids
- Tips for Family Ski Trips from a Former Scaredy Cat Skier – From Travel Mamas
- Tips for Planning the Best Family Ski Vacation – From Ciao Bambino
Location Specific Family Ski Tips
- Kids Ski – Free! If They’re In The NY 4th Grade Ski & Ride Passport Program – From Albany Kids
- Review: Smuggler’s Notch in Winter with Kids – From Jersey Kids
- Slopeside Condo – From Bedroom Slippers to Ski Boots at Sunday River – From Albany Kids
- Whistler Weekend – From The Travelling Mom
- Whistler Wonderland – From The Travelling Mom
- Whistler Trip Report Jan 2009 – From Wander Mom
- First Ski Lesson at Whistler – From Delicious Baby
- Family Winter Ski Vacation in Tahoe – From Road Trips for Families
Do you have other budget tips to plan family ski vacation to share?