Ski Australia and New Zealand on a budget

Even if you’ve managed to score cheap flights and are staying with friends, skiing can be an expensive endeavour in Australia and New Zealand. Here’s how to do it on a budget this year.

Avoid peak season
Almost all ski resorts on this side of the world aim to open by late June, snow conditions permitting.

Peak season typically runs from mid-July to the end of August, with weekends during this time being the busiest. The winter school holidays, typically running until the second week of July, can also equal very busy slopes. Accommodation prices are higher during these times.

If you can ski in June, September or October you’ll likely see lower accommodation and travel prices.

Go midweek
Following on from this, hotels are less in demand midweek, so prices are cheaper. If you’re lucky enough to be able to skip the weekends, the slopes will be quieter too; less time spent queueing for chairlifts means you get more skiing for your money.

Plan ahead
Many hotels change the prices of their rooms to reflect the demand. The further you book in advance, the more likely you’ll be to get a better accommodation rate.

Just be sure to check the cancellation policy, so you can book with peace of mind.

Research the best slopes for you
The ski resort you choose will have a big impact on the final cost. If you’re a beginner and want to take lessons, a smaller, less popular ski field may be the way to go until you find your feet.

Look for attractive rental and lesson packages rather than resorts with a large array of runs that you probably won’t be using this time around anyway.

As a general rule, more lifts mean higher prices. If you’re looking for features such as terrain parks, black diamond runs and off-piste areas, you will probably need to pay more for a ticket to a larger resort.

Hotel prices around large resorts also tend to be higher than those found around smaller, lesser-known ski fields.

Read: Hideaway in the Snowy Mountains

Look for multi-day passes
Single-day lift passes typically cost more than if you’re wanting to ski across multiple days. If you plan on skiing more than seven days at one resort over the season, it might be worth looking into a season pass.

Season passes are often cheaper a few months before the season starts, allowing you to save even more money if you get in early.

If you don’t want to stick to one resort over the winter, the Epic Australia Pass could be the way to go.

The Epic Australia Pass gives you entrance to Perisher, Falls Creek, and Hotham in Australia as well as a handful of ski resorts around the world. This pass also includes discounts for your friends, 20 per cent off lessons and gear rental, and discounts on food and drink.

Find gear before you leave
Ask friends and family for any snow gear you can borrow. Most waterproof jackets will be fine in the snow with appropriate layers underneath.

For hygiene reasons, rental places won’t rent goggles or gloves, so make sure you buy or borrow these things beforehand. If you’re a beginner and only going for a day or two, you can probably get away with using sunglasses instead of forking out for goggles.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for second hand, consider hiring your gear before you leave for your trip – you’ll find everything is a lot cheaper off the mountain. Keep in mind you’ll have to transport everything with you though.

Read: Aldi snow sale promises to dress a family of four for less than $1000

Buy lift tickets online
Some resorts offer discounts if you buy your lift tickets online. They often also offer extra perks not available when purchasing in person.

Buying online also means you’ll be able to skip the ticket queue and head straight to the lift when you arrive.

Pack your own lunch
Food served in on-mountain restaurants is often quite expensive. A family of four can expect to pay around $80 each day for lunch, simply because there aren’t any other options to choose from.

Homemade sandwiches can really make a difference, especially if you’re skiing for a few days.

Read: Affordable picnic treats

It’s also a good idea to buy your supplies before you make the trip, as the supermarkets in ski towns are often pricier than those in cities.

Sleep off the mountain
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to ski home at the end of the day, but you certainly pay for the privilege. Finding alternative accommodation off the mountain is the more affordable way to go.

Do you ski or snowboard? What’s your favourite ski resort? Do you have any other tips for skiing on a budget that you can add to our comments section below?

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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