Skiing vs Snowboarding Costs 101: Which One’s CHEAPER?


Skiing and snowboarding aren’t exactly cheap pastimes. Various factors affect the cost of doing these winter sports, including traveling to the mountains buying or renting equipment, paying for lift tickets, and all the other things needed to enjoy a day on the slopes, such as clothing and accessories. So which is cheaper, skiing or snowboarding?

There is little difference in the costs of skiing or snowboarding. Traveling, lessons, lodging, eating, and drinking all cost the same. However, snowboarders may have to pay more for their equipment when buying. But the costs are not significant enough to make you choose one sport over the other.

In this blog, I will go into the various costs of skiing and snowboarding and discuss which is cheaper to do. I will also give you tips on reducing costs to make your chosen winter sport more accessible.

Costs Associated with Skiing and Snowboarding

1. Skiing and Snowboarding Equipment

The main difference between skiing and snowboarding is obviously the equipment. Skiers wear hard plastic boots that allow them to click into their ski bindings.

They also need a pair of ski poles to help them balance and to push themselves along. On the other hand, snowboarders just require a snowboard fitted with bindings and a pair of snowboard boots.

Hiring Ski and Snowboard Equipment

When it comes to hiring ski and snowboard equipment, there’s really not much of a difference when it comes to price. However, this may vary depending on which rental shop you use. 

Buying Ski and Snowboard Equipment

If you want to own your ski or snowboard equipment, is there a difference in cost when it comes to buying? You may think that ski equipment is more costly as there is more of it.

But when you buy a complete snowboard setup, you will probably find it slightly more expensive than a full ski setup.

If you want to buy your own ski or snowboard equipment, you can get some great deals at the end of the winter season.

This is because ski and snowboard shops generally have lots of leftover stock they are desperate to get rid of.

Therefore, as long as you are okay with riding this year’s equipment next winter, you can benefit from excellent bargains.

Maintenance and Repairs

Over time, you will need to spend a little bit of money maintaining or replacing your ski or snowboard equipment.

When it comes to maintaining your skis and snowboards, you can take them to a shop to be serviced. This includes waxing the bases, sharpening the edges, and making minor and major repairs.

Alternatively, you can buy a servicing kit to ensure your snowboard or skis are in excellent condition and ready for your next powder day.

But this is usually the same price for skis and snowboards, with costs increasing depending on how hard or how much you ride.

Longevity and Upgrades

Typically, ski equipment lasts longer than snowboard equipment.

As a snowboarder, you will also be tempted to upgrade your equipment or build a quiver of snowboards to suit different snow conditions, riding styles, and your mood.

Plus, there’s the cost of fixing your snowboard.

Therefore, snowboarding does cost a little bit more over time, depending on your wants and needs.

2. Ski and Snowboard Lessons

No matter how experienced a skier or snowboarder you are, you will benefit from taking lessons.

This is especially the case if you’re a beginner, as you will learn the proper techniques which will keep you safe and make a learning curve much more manageable and enjoyable.

When you get to a ski resort, you will find that ski and snowboard lessons generally cost the same. However, there may be slight differences when it comes to specific instructors and schools.

Smaller ski and snowboard schools may be cheaper, while the more prominent ones will cost more.

Either way, it’s best to book your ski or snowboard lessons well in advance, so you can ensure you get to benefit from the guidance of an instructor.

If you don’t, there’s a good chance you will miss out, as ski and snowboard schools get fully booked quickly, especially during peak times of the season.

3. Buying Lift Tickets

Whether you are a skier or a snowboarder, the lift ticket in the resort will be the same price. I have yet to come across a ski resort that charges snowboarders more or less than skiers to ride on the mountain.

When buying your lift ticket, I recommend that you look online for any deals offered by the resort.

They often sell discounted lift tickets online, and you may find some deals for families, groups, kids, senior citizens, etc.

Some ski resorts have ski lifts that are free to use for beginners. Therefore if you are a complete novice, you can ski and snowboard for free while you get to grips with your first turns.

This is an excellent way of being introduced to skiing and snowboarding.

When you are at this novice level, you don’t need a lift ticket that gives you access to the whole ski area, as you haven’t yet got the skills to explore it.

Buying Lift Tickets

4. Ski and Snowboard Clothing and Accessories

One of the things beginner skiers and snowboarders overlook is the clothing and accessories needed.

Generally, snowboard clothing is slightly more expensive, but you need to choose your clothing for the weather conditions and how you spend your day on the mountain.

For example, if you tend to ski or snowboard at the coldest times of the year or at high altitudes, you will need clothing with more insulation or add more layers.

This will increase the price of your ski and snowboard clothing.

On the other hand, if you prefer to snowboard in milder conditions, you don’t need clothing designed for extreme weather, which is less expensive.

There is not much difference in the price of ski and snowboard accessories, such as goggles, helmets, gloves, etc.

However, you get what you pay for as more expensive clothing and accessories are better quality and high performing.

5. Traveling To Ski Resorts

Not everyone has the luxury of living near a ski resort, so most people have to travel to get their snow fix.

Like buying lift tickets, it will cost the same whether you are a skier or a snowboarder to get to the mountains.

Some people live within driving distance of the nearest ski resort, which is probably the cheapest travel method for most.

However, if you need to fly, you can save money by booking early and shopping around for transfer buses or rental cars for the best prices.

6. Staying In Ski Resorts

Ski resorts tend to be expensive places to visit or, in my case, live in. When it comes to accommodation options, you may be able to get some last-minute deals.

But you’ll benefit more from booking early to get the best lodgings for your money rather than paying over the odds for the last few available rooms.

You also need to think about eating and drinking, which is a large part of a ski or snowboarding trip. You may stay in catered or self-catered accommodation.

Catered accommodation makes your life super easy and can be more cost-effective depending on the accommodation provider.

But when you have to find food yourself, you will have to cook or eat out a lot. Cooking is the cheaper option, but do you really want to go shopping for food when you could be enjoying yourself?

Bars often serve cheaper drinks and food in the late afternoon/early evening to entice people off the slopes.

So, finding out which bars have happy hours is another great way of cutting costs on a ski or snowboard holiday.

Skiing vs Snowboarding Costs: Money Won’t Be a Barrier While Choosing Either

Although snowboarding may be slightly more expensive in the long run, the cost difference between skiing and snowboarding isn’t that significant to make you choose one sport over the other.

If you’re basing your decision on whether to ski or snowboard on how much they cost, these are probably not the best sports for you to take up.

However, if you do lots of research and make some informed decisions, you can make skiing or snowboarding more affordable.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not digging my head deep into the world of snowboarding, tricks, techniques, and related safety measures.

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