Skiing on a budget

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No matter how you slice it snowboarding and skiing is expensive but we have a few ideas that could save you some money.

Layers, layers and some more layers.

If you get cold while on the slopes, a lot of people will go search for the most expensive outer layer (gloves, jacket, and trousers) they can find. And whilst these quite often have better thermal insulation and will keep you warmer, spending £100+ on a pair of gloves isn’t necessarily the best solution.

Cold hands? Glovers + mittens.

Having a thin under glove and good (but nut crazily expensive) mitten, keeps my wife’s hands just as warm as the higher priced gloves. With the added bonus that we don’t freak out if we lose one!


More than anything it needs to be windproof and water resistant. For warmth you can layer it up starting with thermals and then T-shirt, Long-sleeved T-shirt, light jumper and heavy jumper. Then finish is off with the jacket. You can look a bit like the Michelin man, but if you get warm quickly removing a layer is easy and the extra padding can come in handy when you take a fall.


Same again here. Build up from a good thermal layer that will wick away any sweat until you have enough to feel warm. All covered up with a good end and water proof trouser. One of the big advantages here is if you are into the newest trends, you can swap out the outer layer frequently without it costing the earth.

So you’ve cut the costs of your clothing, but what about the rest.

Skis and boards the question is to own or to rent!? I am rarely a fan of renting, and generally view it a money down the toilet, but if you are a casual skier (go skiing for 1 week once a year) and you fly then renting is almost always going to be the better option. Renting generally gets you a board or ski that is at most 2 years old, freshly waxed and edged. You can often get different equipment depending on your ability level. The big downside is it can be a bit of pot luck, and you may end up with something older or not 100% correct for your needs. If you own, by the time you have used them 5 weeks, they are 5 years out of date. Meaning you are probably going to be looking for a new pair. Add to that the extra costs of transport (most airlines charge extra for bulk items) and costs of waxing & sharpening and the cost of repairs for going over rocks (yes I’ve done this) it rarely makes sense to buy. Having said that, If you go for longer than week, drive or use a snowdome or local slope during the rest of the year then owning can be better value for money.


unless you have great feet that feel no pain (and I envy anyone who does) then there’s no way to spend smarter here, buying the best fitting boots you can is a must. Having painful feet is the best way to ruin a great ski holiday. When it comes to boots, fit is king and every manufacture has a different form, so either get some advice from your local shop or just start with the cheapest pair and work your way up until you find the boot that fits you.

Lose the Lifts

Now that the equipment is sorted it’s off to the lifts for some snowy fun! Unless you really want value for money. One of the biggest expenses of a ski holiday is the lift pass. A 6 day Mont Blank Pass will cost £299 so getting that knocked off your holiday cost would be a significant saving. How? Take up cross country skiing or alpine touring. They both require a fair amount of fitness (great if that was one of your new year’s resolutions) but in most resorts they are free or with very low costs.

So there you have it, if you want the best value for money layer, rent and don’t use lifts!

If you have any thoughts on this or want us to look at how you can get better value for money on anything use the contact form an let us know!

Header image based on Col de Fresse, CC-BY-2.0.

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