11 top tips for nabbing one cheap snow trip
How to keep costs down when hitting that Aussie powder.
Australian snow trips are expensive. As well as having to organise transport and accommodation, there's the cost of equipment hire, lift passes and maybe even ski lessons.
None of this comes cheap - but you can lower the cost by following our hot tips to nab yourself a cheap snow trip.
1. Buy your lift passes early
If you're planning to hit the slopes, lift passes are mandatory, but expensive. Many Australian resorts offer discounts of up to 25% when you purchase them online and in advance. You don't even have to book that far ahead with discounts offered when booked anything from one-day in advance to 14-days in advance.
Our table below details how much of a discount you can get for advanced purchases at major Australian resorts:
|Resort||Full price for 1 adult day pass||Discount|
|Thredbo, NSW||$125||20% when purchased online 7 days in advance|
|Perisher, NSW||$128||25% when purchased online 7 days in advance|
|Charlotte Pass, NSW||$103||No discount|
|Mount Hotham, VIC||$129||Up to 15% off when purchased online 14 days in advance|
|Falls Creek, VIC||$134||15% discount when purchased online 14 days in advance|
|Mount Buller, VIC||$124||Up to 10% off when purchased the day before|
2. Buy your lift passes in bulk
Multi-day lift passes are better value than purchasing multiple single-day passes. At some resorts you can save up to 3.5 times the basic amount. Keep in mind that multi-day passes are valid for continuous days, so plan your ski days well to make the most of your pass.
Similarly, if you're a keen skier or snowboarder who's planning to return to the slopes throughout the season, it might be most cost-effective to purchase a season pass. This provides you with unlimited ski-lift access and greater flexibility on when to ski and when to play. They can also attract additional benefits, such as free leisure centre entry, bring-a-friend vouchers and discounts at select resorts.
3. Pre-book your ski-equipment
Many hire companies offer discounts for advanced bookings on equipment hire. By doing this, you'll also ensure they have suitable equipment for you on the day as, during peak season, they may run out if you decide to hire on the fly.
4. Hire outside of the resort
Hiring your equipment in-resort is often a costly affair. While it is convenient, it's often cheaper to hire this same equipment at rental stations outside of the resort. Compare prices online before arriving to see how much you can save.
5. Keep an eye on daily-deals sites
Flash and daily deals sites like Scoopon and Groupon are notorious for offering snow and ski packages, which can include everything from cheap hire to accommodation and lift pass packages. These deals are typically for shoulder season dates, though if you look out early enough you might be able to score packages for peak season.
6. Choose the group lesson
First time on the board/skis? Group lessons are a cost-effective option for getting on your feet and learning the proper techniques. If you're lucky and you book during low season, you might be able to score a smaller group or if you're super-lucky, your own private lesson for the cost of a group one.
7. Book a package
Lift and lesson packages are common in resorts such as Thredbo and often end up saving you money compared to purchasing the two separately. So don't ignore the chance to double down and shave on those ski lift costs.
8. Visit off-peak
Off-peak and shoulder-season dates are cheaper than high-peak dates. To keep on budget, consider chancing it and book your trip at the very beginning or very end of the season. If you don't feel like risking having to try to ski on rock or grass, booking mid-week during peak season is also an option that is less expensive and also less crowded.
8. Don't stay at the snow resort
Generally, resort accommodation is pricey due to the convenience of being close to the slopes. Accommodation in neighbouring towns or just outside of resort towns tends to be cheaper and if you don't mind spending some time driving in and out each day, can save you quite a bit.
10. Borrow or rent your ski gear
Depending on how often you head to the snow, purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of ski gear only to wear it once is not the ideal situation. One way to keep the cost of gear down is to call out to your mates to see if you can borrow their ski gear, such as jackets and pants to get your kit for nix. Alternatively, you can hire your gear at the slopes or buy ex-rental gear for a fraction of the cost.
11. Keep an eye out for last-minute deals
Being seasonally driven, last-minute deals to the snow are not unheard of. Check out our best snow deals page to see where all the bargains are at.