As I sat in my room pondering what I would write about for a Christmas-themed article, I glanced up at my desk. The little whiteboard that I use for various reminders currently has one of my absolute favorite messages written on it.
“Only 8 days until ski season.”
You know that cliche people use that compares someone who’s excited to a kid waking up on Christmas morning? That’s definitely how I feel looking up at that whiteboard.
There’s no better way to spend a day than on a ski slope, free from rules and regulations and the hassles of life. There isn’t a more dynamic or fun way to spend your time. It’s a blast with friends and family because you get to spend time talking on every chairlift and you get to either learn or help someone else get better on every run.
It’s also a great sport to take part in by yourself because you get the chance to meet new people and have free roam of the mountain to hone your skills (though I would not recommend taking on difficult terrain without being at least visible to others).
Skiing can be enjoyed in the spring sun in a t-shirt and jeans or in the negative temperatures of mid-winter while layered with every piece of clothing you own. And whether you’re a first timer, experienced, young, old, athletic, out of shape, blind or even paraplegic, there are people and places that will help you learn how to ski.
There seems to be a stigma around skiing that it’s only for the rich. And, with ticket prices upwards of $100 at the ticket window, skiing certainly seems out of reach to anyone with a tight budget (read: college students). Fortunately, there are ways to ski for a lot less than the big resorts would probably want you to pay.
First, I would advise you to never purchase anything on the mountain. You can purchase lift tickets from a wide variety of sources (such as King Soopers in Colorado or on Liftopia.com) for huge discounts. Rental skis at small, in-town shops cost a fraction of what slopeside rentals cost. And finally, pack your own lunch (trust me, you’ll drop at least $10 if you don’t).
Second, the more you ski, the more you can save. Every resort has its own version of a season pass and some offer multi-day packages. These will save you money in the long run and allow you to enjoy shorter ski days without feeling like you’ve thrown away your money. Additionally, discounts are available for those who rent skis for consecutive days or even for the whole season.
Third, always find a way to carpool. It saves you money, allows you to hang out with your friends for longer and removes the hassle of meeting up. If you’re going alone, there are ridesharing apps and certain mountains offer some sort of van service.
So, if you get the chance to ski this holiday season or any wintry season for that matter, I would strongly encourage you to give it a try (or even snowboarding, I won’t judge). You’ll have a blast, see some incredible views and even burn some calories along the way.
I’d be willing to bet you’ll be dreaming of snow before long.
Tyler Dean is a junior studying mathematics.