How Much Does It Cost To Ski? (COMPLETE Breakdown)

by Simon Naylor | Updated: September 13th, 2023 |  Skiing Articles
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Skiing has traditionally been an expensive sport, it’s still pricey but there are plenty of ways to save money skiing (article on that coming soon). Every new skier rightly wants to know: how much is all this going to cost me? 

I’ve broken down everything you need to know about ski costs, from lift passes to ski equipment, this is your beginner’s guide to how much skiing really costs. On average skiing costs between $100-200 / €80-160 per day (it’s cheaper per week) that including your ski & clothing hire, ski pass & food. It doesn’t include accommodation, lessons or other extras.

Read on for a full breakdown of all of these costs… (The size of the resort, the time of year, and the location will all affect the price – so use this list as a guide only. )

Ski Equipment Costs ðŸŽ¿

Cyprien Skiing

If you planning to take up skiing as a new hobby (good decision!), there are some great arguments for and against investing in your own equipment. Here is a general idea of what the baseline costs are for buying your own stuff. 

Whilst it might seem like a big upfront investment, it isn’t for the joy it brings and the number of years it will last you. When it comes to ski equipment you have two main choices; you can either rent or buy.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent Skis?

You’ll need to rent skis, boots & poles at the very least. This is an average of approximately how much it costs to rent skis for a day or a week.

SKI RENTAL ðŸŽ¿USA ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸EUROPE ðŸ‡ªðŸ‡º
Per Day$25-45€20-30
Per Week$200-400€60-100

How Much Does It Cost To Buy Skis?

Here is a general idea of what the baseline costs are for buying your own stuff.

BUY SKIS 🎿USA 🇺🇸EUROPE 🇪🇺
Skis$350+€200+
Boots$250+€150+
Poles$50+€30+

Over time renting costs can add up and nowadays there are some great deals on ski equipment. Over the last few years the costs have come down and there is gear to suit a range of budgets.

Ski Clothing Costs ⛷

ski clothing

Not only do you need the skis, but you also need to keep warm and dry. Ski clothing has evolved over the years. As cool as these women look, ski clothing back then was a bit itchy & scratchy.

Woolen socks and jumpers were warm, but after a few falls in the snow, it needed a day on the radiator to come back to life. Modern ski clothes are technical marvels, lightweight, 99% waterproof, and warm. They come in a range of prices from the affordable to the outrageous.

You can rent or buy your own. For most people who plan to ski more than once or twice a decade, it makes sense to get your own ski wardrobe. From the neon camo to the matching shell suit, ski clothing comes in every color and style you can imagine.

Snowboarding clothes are pretty similar, just baggier and they like to wear mittens. (You’ll never look as cool as in the 1920s).

girl skiing

How Much Does It Cost To Rent Ski Clothing?

If you’re a new skier, then not to worry ski rental shops will usually have everything you need to get going, including waterproofs, gloves, and helmets. You’ll probably need to bring your own base layers to keep warm, but some shops also provide these.

RENT CLOTHING â›·USA 🇺🇸EUROPE 🇪🇺
Jacket & Trousers$30+€15+
Gloves$10+€8+
Goggles$8+€6+
Helmet$15+€8+

If you’re interested in seeing what else I bring- check out: Here’s Everything You NEED to Pack For a Day Skiing. 

See Also:  Why Is Carving on Skis The Ultimate Technique to Learn (Tips from a Ski Instructor)

How Much Does It Cost To Buy Ski Clothing?

If you’re planning to go skiing more than once then it’s worth investing in ski clothing. The rental costs can add up and it’s nice to own your own gear that fits perfectly, is clean, and will save you money over the long run.

Ski jackets are great and when it’s really raining I use mine as a general-purpose raincoat. It never lets me down, & the baggier ski size keeps me dryer than any other coat I’ve had.

BUY CLOTHING⛷USA 🇺🇸EUROPE 🇪🇺
Jacket & Trousers$200+€200+
Gloves$40+€30+
Goggles$50+€50+
Helmet$60+€40+

I mentioned base layers before, these range in price from $20-100 / €30-90. It’s worth spending a bit more to get some quality gear but you don’t need to go overboard.

I bought this Helly Hansen layer for my first ever time skiing (over 10 years ago) and I still wear it to this day every time I ski & once a week for ice hockey practice! How’s that for long-lasting? Take good care of your gear and it will take good care of you.

How Much Are Lift Passes? 

Lifts passes are what pay for the running costs of the resort and fund the people who work the lifts, prepare the runs and do all manner of things to keep the pistes running smooth.

You can buy one-day skis passes, one-week passes, full season passes, and everything in between. The more days you ski in the season, the cheaper your pass will be (on a per-day basis).

LIFT PASS🚡USA 🇺🇸EUROPE 🇪🇺
Per Day$60-80€20-50
Per Week$150-300€120-300

Lift pass costs vary massively from region to region and again at different times of the year. Pre-season or low-season is a great time to grab bargains when there is less snow (not always), fewer people, and the passes are cheaper.

Many ski resorts always run pre-season deals to encourage early skiing and this is the best time for new skiers to go. If there is limited snow it won’t affect you too much, as you’ll mainly be on the beginner/baby slopes learning to ski.

Beginners skiers can choose a smaller resort to learn at where prices will be cheaper. Again you’ll be on 1-5% of the skiable area at first while you build up your skills.

Tip: Some Resorts Even Have Free Beginner lifts.

Once you’re a better skier, move up to the ‘better’ resorts and pay more for the privilege. Kids passes and senior passes are typically discounted by around 20%.

How Much Are Ski Lessons?

person in red jacket and blue pants riding on ski blades on snow covered ground during
Me at Westendorf, Austrian Alps, 2023

Ski lessons are an optional expense, that will likely save you money in the long run and make your time on the slopes more enjoyable. There are some other ways of learning to ski – I cover all the arguments in this article I wrote the other day: Why You (Don’t) Need Lessons to Ski. Unbiased Pros Vs Cons.

Ski Lessons Cost Per PersonUSA 🇺🇸EUROPE 🇪🇺
Per Hour / Solo$70+€40+
Per Hour / Group$30+€20+
Per Day / Solo$500+€300+
Per Day / Group$100+€100+

Skis lessons on a 1-1 basis are the most expensive. You’ll get the best tuition as all the instructor’s focus will be on you. A cheaper and more affordable option is to split the cost with a group of friends and take group lessons. It’s significantly cheaper to learn this way.

You’ll need to all be roughly at the same level to benefit from this. Alternatively, many ski schools run pre-organized group lessons that you can sign up for.

Ski instructors working through ski schools are usually a bit more expensive than private ski instructors, both have their pros and cons. Look online for reviews or ask friends for recommendations.

My advice: invest in as many lessons as you can afford. I cover how long it takes to learn to ski over in this article.

If you’re taking ski lessons, then book a chunk of lessons. 1 x hour of ski instruction won’t get you very far. Try to at least have one full day of tuition. An hour will give you a nice taster but might frustrate you.

See Also:  How Much Should You Tip A Ski Instructor?

It takes a few days to really get into it, to develop some muscle memory, and build the confidence to progress. You’ll also want to note that 10% of your time will be spent waiting at or on ski lifts.   I wrote an article on using ski lifts here, so you know what to expect on your first day.

Cost Of Hotels At Ski Resorts 

St Anton Austria
Photo by Johannes Gruber licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)

Accommodation for a multi-night trip will be one of your biggest expenses. From 5-star resorts to hostels, you’ll be able to find a budget that suits you. Just expect to pay more (25%+) for the same standard you might get elsewhere.

In the high season, most hotels are fully booked. Pre-book or stay outta town and ride in each morning to save money. It’s definitely nice to relax those muscles in a sauna or steam room after a day on the slopes, so bring your swimming trunks. If your accommodation doesn’t have one, there will be facilities you can pay to use.

Cost Of Parking At Ski Resorts 

Like most places, parking at ski resorts can leave a bit of a sting, and prices starting at $35 / â‚¬25 per day are not uncommon in most ski resorts, where space is at a premium. This is an extra charge at many hotels as well, not just for day-tippers.

So check in advance if you’re not sure. If you’re flying abroad and planning to rent a car to drive to the resort – it might make more sense to take a taxi or public transport from the airport to the ski station. Rather than pay over the nose to leave your unused car in the car park.

Cost Of Food At Ski Resorts 

Food is at a premium at ski resorts and is typically priced at the same levels you will find at airports or more. Expect to pay a hefty sum at most eateries. Good fun if you have the budget for it, otherwise get accommodation with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals.

Bring food with you (stop at a supermarket on the way) and if you’re a day tripper then pack yourself a packed lunch. Be sure to bring a reusable water bottle on your trip.

It’s important to stay hydrated on the slopes. Save on plastic pollution, save money, and won’t get your bag wet from a bent-up bottle.

Cost Of Travel To Ski Resorts 

newtoski founder
Me at Westendorf, Austrian Alps, 2023

Depending on where you live, you’ll either be driving or flying on your skiing trip. You can save money by booking in advance OR last minute. All-inclusive ski holidays are worth looking at, they will give you peace of mind for knowing your total expenditure in advance.

If you’re a solo traveler or small group check out ride-sharing apps (blablacar.com in Europe and Zimride.com in the US.) for cheap transfers to and from your ski town. Great way to meet people and save money.

How to Find the Best Deals on Ski Equipment: Tips for Bargain Hunters

Skiing can be an expensive sport, and one of the biggest expenses is purchasing or renting ski equipment. However, there are ways to save money on ski equipment, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier. Here are some tips for finding the best deals on ski equipment:

Shop for Deals Online

Many online retailers offer great deals on ski equipment, especially during the off-season. Look for end-of-season sales or clearance sales to get the best deals.

Buy Used Equipment

If you’re on a tight budget, consider buying used ski equipment. You can find used equipment at ski swaps, online marketplaces, and secondhand sports stores. Be sure to inspect the equipment thoroughly before buying to ensure it’s in good condition.

Rent Equipment in Advance

If you’re planning a ski trip, consider renting your equipment in advance. Many ski rental shops offer discounts for advance reservations, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your equipment will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive.

person in red jacket and black pants riding on ski blades on snow covered ground during

How to Choose the Right Ski Pass for Your Needs and Budget

Ski passes can be a significant expense when skiing, but they’re also essential for accessing the slopes. Here are some tips for choosing the right ski pass for your needs and budget:

Research Different Ski Resorts

Ski pass prices vary widely from resort to resort, so it’s important to do your research before you go. Look for resorts that offer discounts for multi-day passes or early-season passes.

Consider Your Skiing Ability

If you’re a beginner, you may not need a full-day pass. Many resorts offer beginner passes that allow access to only certain lifts and runs. This can be a great way to save money while you’re learning.

Look for Package Deals

Many ski resorts offer package deals that include lift tickets, equipment rentals, and even accommodations. These deals can be a great way to save money on your ski trip.

Ski Locally First

If you’ve never skied before and you live close to an indoor ski center or dry slope – take the opportunity to get to grips with the basics here first. Then when you go further afield, you’ll be able to enjoy more of the mountain and know what to expect.

blue and black surfboard on snow covered ground

Final Words

The cost of skiing varies across the board from region to season. Overall, as hobbies go, skiing is pretty expensive, but I’d say for the return – it’s definitely worth it.

It’s a skill that lasts a lifetime, and something that you can share through the generations to continue the tradition. I’ve never met anyone who said: I regret learning to ski.