So you can’t afford to spend a week with Mike and the folks at Wiegele Heliskiing? Can’t even afford a season pass and the airfare for Whistler-Blackcomb? That’s OK. Even a budget skier can find some ways to make the most of this snow season.

Here are some resources for getting the best out of the season with less than stellar funds:

You can always just become a ski bum. Most of the high paying jobs in areas like marketing were filled during the off-season. But there are still some jobs, including lift op and ski instructor positions available. Visit to see the latest listings. has a matter of fact motto—Pay Less, Slide more. Their site offers the latest deals on cheap lift passes as well as hints for keeping your winter costs down. They feature bargains for all of the major resorts. Just pick a region and start shopping.

Everyone knows that one of the biggest aprés ski costs is the post-sesh brew. Save a few bucks here with this handy invention—a drink holder hidden in your ski pole. It’s a little like the proverbial hollow leg combined with a Camelback. Essentially, you just unscrew your pole’s rubber grips and, voila, your mini bar is right there on the slopes with you.

Learn to ski. No, really. If you can’t afford a sick heli trip in Alaska or BC this winter (or the next), try learning some new skills from a reputable ski school like North American Ski Training Center instead. Learn how to make the most of your time on the slopes. Better yet, learn how to safely handle backcountry conditions, and avoid the lift pass altogether. Visit them at to find out more. It isn’t cheap, but then again neither is spending a day on the mountain relearning basic skills.

Here are a few other ideas for keeping costs low and expectations high:

  • Ski midweek. There are few deals on the weekends, yet nearly every resort has some sort of midweek special.
  • Stay in Nordic or European style lodging instead of a hotel. Share a bathroom and save $100? Sounds great.
  • Don’t eat in the resort. Pack your lunch or eat a big breakfast and a big dinner with a high carb & high protein energy bar in
  • Buy a season pass ahead of time. That way, you know your ride up the mountain is already paid for when you start eating Top Ramen again for every meal because you stopped showing up for work on powder days.
  • Carpool. The gas alone on even a one-day excursion to a resort can wipe out your lunch money for a month.
  • Rent your gear at a shop a little distance away from the resort (although sometimes it isn’t as convenient). Better yet, find a great deal on some new or used gear. Renting adds up quickly. If you think you will spend more than a couple of days on the white stuff this winter, it is cheaper to just buy your gear outright.

Don’t forget, however you cut corners to get the most out of your ski season, its still expensive. There is probably a lift op position just waiting for you incase you decide to become a ski bum, after all. Then you are guaranteed to become a master of living and skiing on next to nothing.