Family vacations can be hard on the wallet, and skiing and riding are not considered cheap sports. The Mamas know that a little planning and budgeting can go a long way in saving money and enjoying more family bonding experiences in Vermont’s mountains. Don’t let winter fun pass your family by. Try the Mama’s favorite money saving tips and make sure your family enjoy all the wonders winter has to offer.
Mama Mara: Lift Ticket Savings
With a little advance planning, no smart skiing family needs to pay full price for lift tickets. Just about every resort offers pre-season deals on their websites. For instance, Okemo offers a 3 & Easy package – purchase before October 31 and get three days of skiing all season long for $209. Or ski for five days at Bolton Valley for the price of three when you buy a Powder Pass before December 13. At $199 for adults and $149 for kids this is a really sweet deal. The great thing about both these packages is that you can use them at any point during the season. They are also fully transferrable, so if a grandparent or friend decides to join you for the day you can use them.
It’s also possible to get last-minute deals when there’s an unexpected snowstorm. Liftopia offers deeply discounted tickets at many Vermont resorts; I’ve bought them just days before heading to the slopes with my family and saved 50 percent off the rack price. And remember that you’ll save money on lift tickets at every Vermont resort if you ski on non-holiday weekdays.
Mama Dana: Lodging Deals
Savvy Ski families listen up – Ski resorts often offer significant savings when you book a midweek stay. Not only will your wallet thank you but so will your kids – there are virtually no lift lines. You’ll likely have the place to yourselves. You can also save on lodging by booking early. Right now both Smuggler’s’ Notch, Sugarbush and Killington are all offering 5th night free packages. Book early at Okemo or Stratton to take advantage of savings between 25-50%. Hurry to take advantage of these lodging and lift ticket specials they won’t be around forever.
Mama Gina: Leasing Gear
For folks looking to save a bit of cash–and frankly, who isn’t–I have a tip that will keep your wallet a bit fuller this coming ski season. If you think your family is going to ski several times throughout the winter, consider a seasonal gear lease. On the mountain, a day’s rentals are going to run you about forty bucks per person, while your local ski outfitter and some Ski Vermont resorts will likely offer packages in the $100-$120 range for the entire season. The added benefit of a seasonal rental is having your gear at the ready whenever you want to hit the slopes–no lines, no waiting, no extra out-of-pocket expense. Plus, many outfitters offer a booklet of resort discounts with your lease that can save you a bundle on lift tickets and lodgings.
Mama Adrienne: Meal Planning
A big expense for any ski getaway is food. A little advanced meal planning can save families a bundle and allow for some extra splurges. Did someone mention a massage while the kids are in ski school? Yes please! Opt for accommodations with kitchens and plan to make your own breakfast and some or all of your lunch and dinners on site. Most large Vermont resorts offer lodging with fully stocked kitchens. A stop at the market on the way to your favorite mountain for supplies and you’re set. Not only will you save money, but you can also stay cozy at “home” after a day on the mountain. For more budget tips and a great meal planning list, check out the Mamas food planning post.
Keeping healthy, easy snacks on-hand for my four-year-old is a must when we hit the slopes. We usually opt for string cheese, cheddar crackers, trail mix, and granola bars when we’re skiing. Packing snacks keeps us from going into the lodge for multiple snack breaks, which can get pricey and take up precious ski time. Markets or general stores off the mountain are easiest on the wallet and offer the most variety. Some of my favorite shops to stock up on snacks are the Bromley Market in Peru, The Warren Store near Sugarbush, and Harvest Market in Stowe.
Ski Vermont Programs and Deals
Is someone in your family learning to ski or ride for the first time? Check out the Learn-to-Turn programs at skivermont.com/learn-to-turn and get the whole family out on slopes this season. Have a fifth graders? They ski free in Vermont with the Fifth Grade Passport. Finally, resorts are always posting new deals and events at skivermont.com.