8 Snowboarding Hacks For Cheap Snowboarders

Snowboarding can be expensive, but fortunately, expert Alex Dolan has some tips on how you can save a little bit of money while planning your next trip.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova
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So you want to go snowboarding, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. I know firsthand what it feels like to watch the snow fall and yearn to shred the slopes only to be hindered by the amount of greenback in my bank account. While the expenses involved in a snowboard trip can stack up fast, there are plenty of corners you can cut and ways to save your hard-earned cash and still get all the quality turns you can handle in that white, slippy, sliddy stuff we call snow. Over the years I've learned a lot of tricks, tips, and hacks for shredding on a budget all over America: from North Carolina to Colorado to Washington state and a few in between and abroad.

1. Work at a Ski Shop

Before I ever really knew how to snowboard, I got a job at a small local ski shop called 1st Tracks, in Boone, North Carolina. This was the springboard that sent me on adventures that I didn't even have the ability to conceptualize at the time. Not only did it get me free lift tickets and teach me about gear, it got me involved in the local snowsports community and introduced me to some of my best friends and adventure partners, even 10 years later. If the shop you work at doesn't give you a season pass, they should at least throw you a few lift tickets that will likely include some restrictions like holiday and some weekend blackout dates. It is a good idea to avoid holiday riding at resorts anyway, especially if you want to save money (more on that later). Also, If you are working at a ski shop, your services will probably be needed during those times.

2. Look for Deals

This is easy to do with gear. Just send your Curated snowboard expert a message and tell them you want a good deal on an inexpensive snowboard that you can shred and progress on. We have access to all the best deals on the market and we price match all major competitors.

You can also find some great deals on lift tickets if you know when and where to look. January is Snowboard Month at many ski areas and you can often get killer deals on packages that include lift tickets, rentals, and lessons. Plus, you will likely find some good snow that time of year.

The end of the season is the best time to get great prices on lift tickets and snowboarding gear. While the powder isn’t always as soft this time of year, some of my favorite days on the mountain have been sunny spring days in April and May. The weather is warm and the sunshine vibes on the mountain are contagious. Springtime is also when many snowboard companies are trying to get rid of their stock to make room for next season, which means you can swoop in on some insane deals on brand new gear. (It’s also a prime time to hit up your Curated snowboard expert.)

Four snowboarders ride a chairlift with mountains in the background
Photo by Pamela Saunders

3. Avoid Holidays

Lift tickets get more expensive during holidays. But this one isn’t just a tip for saving money. It's also a tip for avoiding crowds, long lines, and inevitable family meltdowns that are created by the culmination of the two. Less time in line means more time shredding the slopes. Fewer people on the mountain means more fresh turns. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect recipe for maximum fun!

4. Buy a Season Pass

If you don’t go that often, this won’t save you any money; but if this is going to be the year that you finally get double digit days on the mountain, you will probably benefit from a season pass to your local mountain. Often you can even get a locals season pass that includes some restrictions like holidays (see above for what you won’t be missing out on) but will give you an even bigger discount on a pass that gets you on the mountain as often as you want to go.

5. Try Smaller Ski Resorts/Pick Affordable Ski Destinations

If your ability level or your common sense keep you from exploring steep cliffs and narrow chutes on the backside of resorts like Vail and Whistler, keep in mind that smaller mountains offer powder turns that are just as deep and they are often less crowded, and oh yeah… less expensive.

For example, Ski Cooper is only a 45 minute drive from Vail and on the right day it can boast more powder than the most popular Colorado ski resorts. Lift tickets are very affordable and I personally enjoy the low key, local vibes that smaller mountains offer. You also won’t have to hassle with finding parking in the parking garage or deciding where to get a cheap meal in resort villages.

A wide shot of a chairlift and trees
Photo by Marcus Spiske

6. Maximize Your Ride Time

If you don’t ride that often and you are limited to the amount of time that a day pass will give you, get as much out of it as you can. If you buy a full day pass, get the first chair. If you buy a half day pass, use every hour of it. Take time to study the trail map and create a plan for where you are going on the mountain and how you plan to get there. Make sure to pace yourself though. Hasty decisions can quickly end your day of snowboarding.

7. Make Healthy Decisions

Your health is the most important factor that will maximize your riding potential. Get a good night’s rest, drink lots of water, and try to save the adult beverages for the end of the day. On that note, consider the average cost of a drink and you’ll find that less time at the bar can also save you a lot of money. Your body requires more water at higher altitudes (where you will be snowboarding) and let’s be honest, we should all be drinking more water as it is. Stay hydrated!

Also, take warm up laps and don’t wear yourself out early. Nothing ends a day faster than a wipeout that causes an injury, and fatigue is often the cause of crashes. Not to mention the added cost of unexpected medical bills will quickly put you over your budget. Stretch! Often snowboarding gear is restricting and limits your range of motion when you get everything on. Before you gear up, take some time to do some simple stretches and limber up.

8. Bring Your Own Snacks

This one is crucial to get the most out of any outdoor activity. Snacks keep your belly full, your body fueled, and your spirits high. So, how do you carry everything? A backpack can throw off your balance when you are going full send, but it can also be a valuable tool to bring along everything you need to have an awesome day on the mountain. A good middle ground between maximum send and maximum storage could be a jacket with lots of pockets or a decent-sized fanny pack that can fit a delicious, homemade sandwich, a few granola bars, and a water bottle. Seriously, don’t forget to hydrate!

A snowboarder in a yellow jacket turns
Photo by Federico Persiani

If you've made it to the end of this article, thanks for reading! Did you find these tips useful? Do you have any money saving tips for snowboarders on a budget that I didn’t mention? I would love to hear your feedback. Click on my expert profile below to chat with me personally in real time. Stay safe and stay hydrated!

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Written By
I have been working in the outdoor recreation industry since 2011, and I spend my summers as a river guide and safety kayaker. ​ During the winter, I shred as much POW as possible, and working at ski shops across the counrtry (in Colorado, North Carolina, and Washington) has given me great snowboard...

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