Need to Save on a Ski Journey This 12 months? Skip the US, Head to Europe

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What’s a day of snowboarding price to you? The reply to that in all probability varies from individual to individual, however I do know it is not price $300 for a single day.

Sadly, in the event you have a look at carry ticket costs at mountains throughout the USA this winter, you may routinely see charges eclipse $200 a day. In the course of the peak occasions round Christmas, New 12 months’s, President’s Day, and Spring Break, these numbers drift nearer to $300 on the main resorts in Colorado and Utah. Whereas there are methods to chip away at that price, the sticker shock could be sufficient to sprint your hopes and desires of a ski journey this yr.

Not so quick! With flight costs falling throughout Europe this winter and most European ski resorts providing cheaper charges than even a number of the most budget-friendly mountains within the U.S., it is time to look overseas on your 2024 ski journey as a substitute. 

To show it, I dug into the price of a weeklong ski journey at two of essentially the most well-known and standard ski resorts on this planet, one within the Rockies and one within the Alps, to see how every part from snowboarding and flights to lodging and transportation match up. When evaluating the prices of a skip journey to Europe versus the U.S. this yr, Europe is a transparent winner, and it is not even shut. 

So learn on to see why Europe could be your best choice to avoid wasting on a ski journey in 2024. And if after studying you are still useless set on reserving a home ski journey this yr, I will share a few of my finest money-saving ideas for that, too.

Learn subsequent: The Greatest Mountain Resorts for Your Ski or Snowboard Journey This Winter


Ski Prices: Europe vs. U.S.

First, let’s simply have a look at what it prices to experience the lifts and ski. Strip away the opposite prices of snowboarding just like the gear, foods and drinks, and different day-to-day bills, and you may see there’s already an enormous distinction in costs between snowboarding in Europe and the U.S.

For this train in price comparability, we’ll primarily have a look at two of the most important and hottest ski resorts on this planet: Vail, Colorado, and Chamonix, France. These examples are for a week-long journey operating from Jan. 23-30, which is an off-peak time of the winter that does not fall on any main vacation weekends.

To ski in the future at Vail Mountain Resort in Colorado, you are taking a look at $229 for adults. That quantity is a way more palatable $110 per day in the event you purchase the ticket prematurely via Vail’s dad or mum firm Epic Cross.


Vail Resort 1-day pass


If you wish to ski for six days at Vail, you are taking a look at a price ticket of $1,140 complete (or $564 when reserving prematurely via Epic.)


Vail 6-day ski pass


When you stand to avoid wasting about 50% by reserving via Epic as a substitute of Vail, carry ticket costs to ski the famed Colorado resort are nonetheless astronomically increased than to ski Chamonix, France.

A single-day carry ticket at Chamonix begins at…watch for it…$46. For the primary day of our hypothetical ski journey beginning Jan. 24, that quantity is a whopping $50.


Chamonix Mont Blanc


No, I did not miss a digit or mistype there. A day of snowboarding is generally $50 or much less in Chamonix – one of many snowboarding meccas of the world. It is lower than half the worth of the most cost effective doable ticket at Vail.

For a six-day go at Chamonix, you may must shell out $232…complete! That is solely $3 greater than the walk-up worth for a single day at Vail. Insane.


Chamonix Mont-Blanc ski pass


After all, Vail is likely one of the most costly ski resorts on this planet. However this sample performs out when evaluating different standard ski areas within the U.S. and Europe, too.

On the bougie Alps resort beneath the well-known Matterhorn mountain known as Zermatt, a single-day ticket will run you $91. That is in regards to the highest-end European resort you may discover. Six days at Zermatt is $397 complete.

On the equally bougie Rockies resort of Massive Sky, Montana, a single day will price you $181 if bought prematurely ($230 on the ticket window) and a six-day go will price you $909 (or $1,164 on the window) for a similar dates we searched in January. Whenever you evaluate Zermatt and Massive Sky, it is nonetheless about half as costly to ski in Europe as it’s to ski within the U.S.


Journey Prices: Europe vs. U.S.

You could be pondering that the journey bills are going to be the equalizer on this comparability. You would possibly ski for half-off in Europe, however the associated fee to fly there, get round, and keep goes to make up for any financial savings chances are you’ll get on the slopes.

Suppose once more.

Let’s begin with the flights. Say you are based mostly within the Northeast and also you’re making an attempt to snag a flight to Vail. I selected the dates for this hypothetical ski journey (Jan. 23-30) across the least expensive days you may at the moment fly from Boston (BOS) to Vail (EGE) for a weeklong journey.


Boston to Vail flight


Frankly, that is not a horrible roundtrip fare to a tiny, regional airport like Vail-Eagle. If you wish to save at the least half in your airfare, have a look at flying into Denver (DEN) as a substitute. On the identical dates, the nonstop Delta flight into Denver is simply $198 – an superior deal. However you then’re nonetheless taking a look at two-plus hours alongside the notorious Interstate-70 to get to Vail.

You could possibly lease a 4×4 automotive if you wish to make the trek your self, nevertheless it’ll price you. Or you may take a shuttle to and from Vail beginning at $218 per particular person roundtrip.


Denver to Vail Epic Shuttle


The identical shuttle from the Vail-Eagle Airport (EGE) to Vail Resort is $120 per particular person roundtrip. So in the event you fly straight into Vail (EGE), the total journey (flights + transportation) will price you a complete of $561, in comparison with $416 flying into Denver (DEN). It is as much as you to resolve whether or not that two-hour drive is definitely worth the financial savings.

When you get to Vail, lodging can also be going to sting just a little bit.


Vail Google Hotels


After I filtered Google Motels for 3-star lodging or increased, the bottom worth I discovered for resort lodging was $501 per night time…ouch. In case you’re staying with a bunch, you would possibly be capable to perform a little higher than that via Airbnb, however it can nonetheless be a fairly penny to remain in Vail on your journey. At $500 per night time, over the course of six nights, it will price you $3,000 to remain in Vail for the week. And that is assuming you solely want one resort room.

Based mostly on the low-end projections of every part I’ve tallied up on this journey, your journey to Vail within the final week of January goes to price you about $3,416. Add within the least expensive six-day carry ticket you should purchase, and you are taking a look at $3,980 complete for this Colorado ski journey. 

There’s a greater means.

As a substitute of heading west on Jan. 23, we’re going east to the Alps as a substitute.


Boston to Geneva cheap flight


In case you’re holding rating at house, these flights to Geneva (GVA) are solely $2 greater than the flights to Vail (EGE) from Boston (BOS) for those self same dates.

From GVA, the 1.5-hour bus experience into Chamonix will price you – and I am not kidding – $23 roundtrip.


Geneva to Chamonix shuttle bus


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You would possibly suppose that lodging in a spot like Chamonix would drive up your journey prices. However in the event you’ve learn this far, you may in all probability discern a sample…


Chamonix lodging


Motels within the city of Chamonix aren’t costly in any respect proper now, both. Like once I looked for lodging in Vail, I filtered for accommodations that have been three stars and up. The bottom I discovered was $119 per night time with just a few others topping $200 or $300 an evening. In case you grabbed that least expensive possibility, six nights in Chamonix would run you a grand complete of $714 – cheaper in the event you’re splitting the room prices with different vacationers.

Between the roundtrip flights, bus to Chamonix, and lodging within the mountain city, you are taking a look at a grand complete of $1,180 in journey prices Add in a six-day Chamonix carry ticket and this European ski journey comes out to $1,412. For among the finest mountains in Europe. 


The creator standing on a run at Flegere – one of many many mountains that make up the Chamonix ski area.


For these of you holding rating at house, listed here are the overall (low-end) prices for a Jan. 23-30 ski journey on the time of publication. Take into account that these estimates are for a single traveler earlier than any gear leases, checked baggage charges, meals, drinks, or some other bills you would possibly incur. You would possibly find yourself spending kind of on lodging relying on whether or not you are touring with a bunch, in fact.


  • 6 days of snowboarding: $564
  • Flights/busses roundtrip: $416
  • Lodging: $3,000
  • Whole: $3,980


  • 6 days of snowboarding: $232
  • Flights/busses roundtrip: $466
  • Lodging: $714
  • Whole: $1,412

The selection is yours.


Easy methods to Save on a Journey within the U.S.

When you possible stand to save cash by reserving a ski journey overseas this winter, it is simply not an possibility for some skiers and riders. In case you observe a couple of tips, you may work the system just a little bit and avoid wasting cash in your ski journey throughout the U.S., too.


Purchase a Ski Cross

Mega ski passes that provide you with entry to dozens of resorts worldwide come at some enormous worth tags. The 2 greatest – Epic and Ikon – come at a price ticket of $949 and $1,259 respectively. Whereas which may not look like a discount at first, take into consideration that your six days of snowboarding at Vail would price you at the least $564, and you’ll see why limitless snowboarding at $949 is so helpful.

Here is how I at all times take into consideration the mega passes: In case you plan to ski greater than every week on the ski areas on the go, it is often price it.


Mammoth Mountain spring skiing
Mammoth Mountain Resort (Ikon Cross) on a March day in 2022.


Plus, if the Epic or Ikon passes do not appear interesting to you, there may be the extra budget-friendly Mountain Collective go which will get you two days at every of a protracted listing of resorts for a complete worth of $650.

The Indy Cross, which options two days at every of a whole bunch of small, impartial ski resorts all over the world is offered for simply $499, too.

The resorts on every go fluctuate, as do the pricing tiers. Now we have a full information to those mega ski passes that may enable you to along with your resolution.


Plan Journeys Round Your Ski Cross

I name this “snowboarding inside your go” and it might prevent a whole bunch of {dollars} – even after factoring in the price of the go itself. Nonetheless, maximizing the worth requires some planning.

As an instance you are pondering of taking a week-long getaway to the Cascade Mountains exterior of Seattle along with your Epic Cross in tow. You ski a couple of days at Stevens Cross however you then need to attempt one thing new, so that you head to close by Crystal – an Ikon location. On prime of the $949 you already spent on the Epic Cross, you would be spending greater than $150 a day to ski at Crystal … whereas your Epic Cross collects mud.

As a substitute, head north from Stevens Cross and spend a couple of days at Whistler-Blackcomb in Canada, one other Epic location, which suggests you may ski there without spending a dime.


Ikon vs Epic ski pass guide
The view of Blackcomb Mountain from Whistler Mountain in British Columbia, Canada.


Ikon Cross provides a helpful information to string collectively a couple of of its resorts at a time, serving to you squeeze some extra worth and ski days out of your winter.

Purchase your go first after which plan your journeys. In case you ski two, three, and even four-plus resorts on one go, you’re beating the ski conglomerates at their very own recreation.


Go Off the Overwhelmed Path: Ski Small

In case you’re not going to purchase one of many mega passes, that is your finest guess at saving on a U.S. ski journey this yr: Ski small.

The U.S. is plagued by cool, hole-in-the-wall ski hills and mountains which can be undoubtedly price your time. The sub-$100 carry ticket nonetheless exists, and you do not have to sacrifice superior terrain to search out one.

My favourite instance of that is Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana. Within the shadow of Glacier Nationwide Park, this gem previously often called Massive Mountain lives as much as its title. The three,000-acre ski space is greater than sufficiently big to busy your self for every week, and the carry tickets come at European costs. Final yr, $94 a day was all Whitefish requested of its skiers and riders. It is certainly one of my favourite locations to ski on this planet and I am unable to wait to return.


best ski resorts
The creator pauses for celebration throughout a 20-inch powder day in Whitefish, Montana.


One other nice instance of that is Brundage Mountain in Idaho. Additionally at a single-day ticket price of $94, Brundage options some huge mountain terrain all the way in which right down to a surprising intermediate (suppose “blue” runs) part known as Lakeview that has a…properly…stunning view of Payette Lake.

One other nice worth in snowboarding is Colorado’s Wolf Creek, which is house to essentially the most snowfall in your entire state with a weekend and vacation day most day ticket worth of $100.

Lastly, possibly the very best worth in snowboarding wherever is the Higher Peninsula of Michigan’s Mount Bohemia. Boasting an insane $200+ inches of common annual snowfall due to the swirling winds over frigid Lake Superior, the 1,000-vertical-foot mountain has a season go (not a day go) for $110 per yr.


Mount Bohemia, Michigan
Mount Bohemia, Michigan on a snowy day in January 2023.


Whenever you get off the overwhelmed path from the main ski resorts, you are additionally more likely to save on issues like lodging, meals, and tools leases, too.


Fly With Luggage in Thoughts

You probably have ski tools, be sure you are reserving flights with baggage in thoughts. Price range airways could entice you with low fares into mountain cities, however then cost you as much as $100 for luggage whenever you get to the airport.

If you end up reserving airfare, take into account upgrading to a ticket that features baggage so you do not have the trouble of paying for them within the terminal.

Two issues to bear in mind as you examine ski baggage:

  1. Ski and snowboard baggage are usually not “particular objects” in accordance with the airways. So do not pay further to examine a ski bag! Airways worth ski baggage as common – not outsized – baggage, although they arrive out within the outsized baggage areas at baggage declare whenever you arrive.
  2. Some airways will take into account your ski bag and a separate boot bag as one bag, so be sure you do not overpay to fly your gear to the mountains!

This stuff are particularly essential to recollect in the event you’re flying from someplace that is not within the mountains. The check-in brokers in Salt Lake Metropolis (SLC) will not make this error, however I’ve needed to politely remind a couple of airline brokers in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) about this rule over time. Be sort, however agency. Know the principles your self in case you get an agent who is not certain.


Ikon vs Epic ski pass guide


Southwest Airways is a superb possibility for skiers, as each passenger will get two free baggage. In any other case, take into account getting an airline co-branded bank card just like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Specific Card, the Citi / AAdvantage® Platinum Choose® World Elite Mastercard®, or the United℠ Explorer Card. All three playing cards get you a primary checked bag free, which features a boot bag, too.

Learn extra: Do You Need to Pay With Your Airline Card to Get Free Baggage?

If you wish to consolidate your boot and ski bag, purchase a wide-bodied rolling ski bag with a boot compartment. I like my Dakine Fall Line Curler bag, as an illustration. It may prevent cash – to not point out the trouble of carrying round a number of baggage throughout your travels.

Here is the underside line: You should definitely examine the airline’s baggage insurance policies earlier than reserving. You do not need to be caught ponying up on the terminal.


Plan Your Journeys Later within the Winter (& Keep away from Christmas!)

Christmas looks like a logical time for a ski trip, however the week earlier than and after the vacation at all times has the most important crowds of the season – and the least quantity of snow.


A plane flying in the air


Snowboarding throughout Christmastime will virtually absolutely have you ever ready in lengthy traces to ski much less of the mountain. I keep away from snowboarding over Christmas just like the plague. In actual fact, most years I will not even trouble taking a ski journey till January.

Most North American ski areas have solely 50-70% of their runs open by the tip of December – on a very good yr. The perfect snowfall in virtually any area comes between January and March. And over the previous couple of years, many resorts have been getting winter-like snowfall properly into April, whereas December is dry as a bone.

Selecting a ski journey in February or March will enable you to keep away from crowds and ski the mountains when they’re totally open and at their snowiest. Plus, you’re maximizing your possibilities of catching a storm and snowboarding some contemporary powder!

Different occasions to keep away from a ski journey embody New 12 months’s, President’s Day, and Saturdays, as weekends can get crowded if the ski space is near a serious metropolis like Denver, Salt Lake Metropolis, or Seattle. Snowboarding on weekdays in January, February, and March will present the very best expertise.


Backside Line

If the rising prices of ski journeys across the U.S. are intimidating, take into account trying to the Apls in Europe as a substitute.

Not solely are ski carry tickets half as costly as day charges within the U.S., however flights to the Alps are very low-cost proper now, and issues like transportation and lodging can all be discovered at a lot decrease charges than their North American counterparts.


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