It’s almost Halloween so you know what that means…SKI SEASON!!
You seem shocked by this. I’m not sure why. This is Vermont after all. As soon as the beach gear goes away my kids are chomping at the bit to get to the mountain. They don’t really care that there is no snow. They just want to ski.
I grew up in Vermont. I’ve been skiing since I was little, and I spent my young winter weekends at the same mountain my kids spend theirs. So I get as excited as they do but I’m a grownup now with a healthy dose of reality. Skiing is expensive; it is time intensive, and OMG… all the stuff. There is so much stuff. We are a family of four who all ski. In case your math is fuzzy that’s eight skis, eight boots, eight mittens (plus eight more as backups), eight wool ski socks, four ski bags, four balaclavas, four helmets, four lunches, one thermos of hot chocolate, one thermos of coffee (to deal with the stuff), and I’m sure I’m forgetting something because I always do. By February I have it all dialed in but at the beginning of the season I’ve completely forgotten how to do it. Or really why we do it.
So as a public service to you and as a reminder to myself I give you five tips for saving your wallet and sanity come ski season.
1. Hit up the local Ski/Board swaps:
Every October we drag out all the kids’ ski gear and do inventory. We try on snowsuits and ski boots we measure skis against each kid checking on growth. We write everything down and head to a sale. There are big ones and small ones with helpful volunteers. Some others sales, it is every man for himself. So having an idea of what you need and what you are willing to spend is important. I haven’t figured out if buying used equipment is really cheaper or if it just makes me feel better. These sales are also a great place to get adult equipment. You can also rent kids and adult equipment from many area vendors. If you have multiple kids, keep in mind that you can buy used and pass down the same pair of skis for a year or two.
2. Buy a Pass /Lift tickets ahead:
Most resorts have deals and steals throughout the season. The best deals being offered even before the snow flies. Following your favorite resort on social media is a good way to score last minute deals. If you are not ready to make the season long pass commitment this year start paying attention come late February early march. That’s when the 2015/2016 Season long passes will go on sale. Many mountains will include skiing for the rest of the 2014/2015 year if you commit to the next that early. Checking with your employer is also a good idea. Many local employers have ticket deals with area resorts. There are deals to be had you just have to look for them.
3. Kids ski Free:
Many of the Local Ski Resorts let kids ski free (with purchase of an adult ticket). The ages vary at each resort so check before you go. This makes a day trip or a weekend trip more doable if skiing for the season is still intimidating. When the boys were little my husband would take the oldest to the mountain and take him on the little rope tow for a few hours. It was free for the kiddo and an inexpensive 15$ for him.
4. Mountain only gear:
There was a day where we hit the mountain and my oldest pulled his mittens out of his ski bag only to realize he had two left handed mittens. So now at the beginning of each season we identify “Ski stuff” and into the bags it goes only to see the light of day at the mountain. This alleviates my stress right before we leave and my kids stress level when they can’t find their mittens because they left them at school.
5. Put it on the calendar:
Skiing is sort of like the gym (at least for me). It’s harder to get there than it is to be there. We prefer skiing on Saturdays. It gives us a rest day before the week starts and we are all a little more happy and relaxed. At the beginning of December we put Skiing on the calendar. Nothing interferes. Skiing has a happy red penned place on the calendar because just like the gym I’m much happier after we go.
Vermont in the winter is a fantastic place to live and this is just one of the options available to you. I think this list may be a little bit of help. Just remember to take it slow and do what works for your family.
Do you ski? Do you have any sanity saving tips, because I can use all the help I can get.
Not sure this directly applies to your family, since it sounds like you will be purchasing gear either way, but I work for a company that could help families that don’t ski as much save some money!
Bear with me while I shamelessly self-promote…
GetOutfitted is a web-service that rents ski/snowboard apparel & accessories (like goggles, gloves, and GoPro’s) and ships them to wherever you are. For families with small children who don’t ski more than a week a year, it’s great because we all know how fast kids grow and how expensive ski apparel is!
Super helpful! Any tips on how to get in skiing with an infant? Switch off at the lodge? Or is it just best to have one parent go to the mountain solo and take turns on different days? Let me know what worked for you!
When my guys were infants I wasn’t at all interested in bundling up and heading to the Mountain. Thinking back I wish I had ditched the baby at home with the hubby and gotten my ski on. I do see lots of couples switching on and off in the lodge ( we did the same when my youngest was 2) and it seems to work for them. Childcare is offered at many of the mountains and most of them have decent rates if you are a pass holder. I have heard wonderful things about the care offered there.
Good Luck and Happy Skiing!!
Thanks for the tips Rachel, I needed the reminders! 🙂