Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Expense Of Skiing In Colorado


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ki Pease



Colorado is a dream destination for ski enthusiasts from around the world. With its breathtaking mountain landscapes, world-class ski resorts, and abundant snowfall, it’s no wonder that people flock to this picturesque state for their winter getaways. However, it’s important to understand that skiing in Colorado comes with a price tag. From lift tickets to equipment rentals, accommodation fees to dining expenses, the costs can add up quickly. In this article, we will explore the various expenses associated with skiing in Colorado and provide some tips on how to save money without sacrificing the enjoyment of your ski trip.


When planning a skiing trip to Colorado, it’s crucial to factor in the cost of lift tickets. Most ski resorts offer a range of ticket options, including single-day passes, multi-day passes, and season passes. The price of lift tickets can vary depending on the resort and the time of year. During peak seasons, such as holidays and weekends, ticket prices tend to be higher. It’s worth researching different resorts and their ticket prices in advance to get an idea of what to expect.


In addition to lift tickets, renting ski equipment is another expense to consider. If you don’t have your own gear, renting equipment at the resort is a convenient option. Ski rental fees can range from $30 to $60 per day, depending on the quality of the equipment and the resort’s pricing structure. Some resorts may offer package deals that include lift tickets and equipment rental at a discounted rate.


Accommodation is another significant expense when skiing in Colorado. The cost of lodging can vary depending on the location, resort, and the level of luxury you desire. Options range from luxurious ski-in/ski-out resorts to budget-friendly hotels and vacation rentals. It’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance to secure the best rates and availability.


Transportation costs can also add up, especially if you are flying into Colorado. Consider the cost of flights, airport transfers, and any rental car or shuttle services needed to get to and from the ski resort. It’s worth exploring different transportation options and comparing prices to find the most cost-effective solution for your trip.


Eating out during your ski trip can be a significant expense. Ski resort areas often have a variety of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants. To save money, you can opt for accommodations with kitchenettes or full kitchens to prepare some of your meals. Additionally, packing snacks and drinks for the slopes can help minimize costs.


Aside from skiing, you may also want to take advantage of ski lessons or guided tours. These can be valuable experiences for beginners or those looking to improve their skills. However, keep in mind that professional instruction and guided tours come at a cost. Research different ski schools or guide services and compare prices to find the best option for your needs.


Lastly, don’t forget to factor in additional activities and entertainment expenses during your stay in Colorado. From spa treatments to snowmobiling adventures, there are plenty of off-slope activities to enjoy. These activities often come with additional fees, so it’s important to budget for them accordingly.


While skiing in Colorado can be an amazing experience, it’s essential to be mindful of expenses. However, with some careful planning and budgeting, you can enjoy a memorable ski trip without breaking the bank. In the following sections of this article, we will provide some tips on how to save money on skiing in Colorado, allowing you to fully embrace the thrill of the slopes while being mindful of your budget.


Cost of Lift Tickets

One of the most significant expenses when skiing in Colorado is the cost of lift tickets. Lift tickets grant you access to the ski slopes and chairlifts, allowing you to enjoy a full day or multiple days of skiing or snowboarding. It’s important to understand the pricing structure and consider various factors when budgeting for lift tickets.


The price of lift tickets can vary significantly depending on factors such as the ski resort, time of year, and the duration of your stay. During peak seasons, such as holidays and weekends, lift ticket prices tend to be higher. If you have flexibility in your travel plans, consider visiting Colorado during off-peak times to take advantage of lower ticket prices.


Many ski resorts offer different types of lift ticket options to cater to individual needs. Single-day lift tickets are typically the most expensive option and are ideal for those planning a day trip or a short visit. If you plan to ski for multiple days, consider purchasing multi-day lift tickets, as these often offer cost savings compared to purchasing individual daily tickets.


Season passes are another option to consider if you plan on skiing frequently or for an extended period. Season passes provide unlimited access to the slopes for the entire ski season and can be a cost-effective choice for avid skiers or snowboarders. Keep in mind that season passes are usually available for purchase before the ski season starts, and prices tend to increase as the season progresses.


Researching lift ticket prices in advance can help you plan your budget accordingly. Visit the websites of different ski resorts to find information on current ticket pricing, special offers, and discounts. Some resorts may offer discounted tickets for specific age groups, such as children, seniors, or students, so be sure to take advantage of any applicable deals.


If you’re planning to ski at multiple resorts during your trip, consider purchasing an Epic Pass or Ikon Pass. These passes offer access to multiple resorts across Colorado and even other states, providing flexibility and potential cost savings. However, it’s essential to evaluate if the pass is worth the investment based on your skiing plans and the number of resorts you intend to visit.


Lastly, keep an eye out for package deals that include lift tickets. Some ski resorts offer bundled packages that combine lift tickets with accommodations or other amenities, providing a more convenient and potentially more affordable option. Be sure to compare prices and consider the overall value of the package before making a decision.


By considering these factors and planning ahead, you can better budget for lift tickets while enjoying quality time on the slopes during your skiing adventure in Colorado.


Ski Equipment Rental Fees

For those who don’t own their own ski equipment, renting gear is a necessary expense when skiing in Colorado. Ski equipment rental fees can vary depending on the quality of the equipment, the resort’s pricing structure, and the duration of your rental.


When renting ski equipment, you’ll typically need to consider several items, including skis or snowboards, boots, poles, and helmets. Rental packages are often available, which include all these items at a bundled price. These packages are convenient and can offer cost savings compared to renting each item individually.


The cost of ski equipment rental can range from $30 to $60 per day, depending on the quality of the gear and the resort you are renting from. High-end equipment rentals may be more expensive, but they often offer advanced features and technology that can enhance your skiing experience. If you are a beginner or occasional skier, opting for standard or intermediate rental equipment is usually sufficient and more budget-friendly.


Some ski resorts offer discounted rates for multi-day rentals. If you plan on skiing for multiple days, it may be more economical to rent your equipment for the entire duration of your stay rather than paying daily rental fees. Be sure to inquire about multi-day rental options and any potential discounts when making your reservation.


If you’re traveling with family or a group, some ski rental shops offer discounted rates for renting multiple sets of equipment. Inquire about group rates or family packages to potentially save on rental fees for everyone in your party.


It’s important to note that rental shops may require a deposit or a credit card hold as a security measure. This is to ensure that the equipment is returned in good condition. Make sure to carefully read the rental shop’s terms and conditions to understand their policies regarding damage or loss of equipment.


Prioritize comfort and safety when choosing rental equipment. Ensure that boots fit properly and that skis or snowboards are suitable for your skill level. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from the rental shop staff in selecting the appropriate gear for your needs.


Consider renting equipment in advance to avoid long wait times and potential rental shop closures during peak seasons. Many ski resorts offer online rental reservations, allowing you to secure your equipment prior to arrival. This can save you valuable time and ensure the availability of the gear you need.


By researching rental prices, considering package options, and planning ahead, you can budget for ski equipment rental fees and enjoy a hassle-free and comfortable skiing experience in Colorado.


Accommodation Expenses

Accommodations are a significant expense when planning a ski trip to Colorado. The cost of lodging can vary depending on factors such as the location, proximity to the ski resort, the level of luxury, and the time of year you visit.


Colorado offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Ski-in/ski-out resorts provide the ultimate convenience, allowing you to step out of your accommodations and onto the slopes with ease. These luxury resorts often come with amenities such as spas, restaurants, and on-site equipment rentals, but they can also come with a higher price tag.


If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, consider staying in nearby towns or cities outside of the resort areas. These locations may offer a wider range of accommodations, including hotels, motels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfast establishments. While you may need to travel a bit to reach the slopes, you can find more affordable rates and still enjoy a comfortable stay.


Online booking platforms and travel websites can be valuable resources for finding and comparing accommodation options in Colorado. They allow you to filter your search based on location, price range, amenities, and guest ratings. Make use of these tools to find the best deals and discounts.


Booking your accommodation well in advance is key to securing the best rates and availability. Popular ski resorts in Colorado can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. By planning ahead and making your reservation early, you can take advantage of early bird rates and avoid disappointment.


Consider staying in accommodations with kitchenettes or full kitchens to save on dining expenses. Having the option to prepare your meals can significantly reduce costs, especially if you’re traveling with a family or a larger group. Visit local grocery stores to stock up on food and snacks, making sure to pack lunch and snacks for your time on the slopes.


Another option to consider is sharing accommodations with friends or family. Renting a vacation home or condo with multiple bedrooms can be a cost-effective and enjoyable way to split expenses while still having all the comforts of home.


It’s worth noting that some ski resorts offer package deals that include accommodations along with lift tickets and other amenities. These packages can provide substantial savings compared to booking each component separately. Research and compare different package options to find the best value for your money.


Overall, careful planning and comparison shopping can help you find suitable accommodations in Colorado that fit your budget while providing a comfortable and enjoyable base for your skiing adventures.


Transportation Costs

Transportation costs are an important factor to consider when planning a ski trip to Colorado. Depending on your location and mode of transportation, these costs can vary significantly. Here are some considerations for budgeting transportation expenses when skiing in Colorado.


If you are flying into Colorado, the cost of airfare will be a significant portion of your transportation budget. Ticket prices can vary depending on factors such as the time of year, the distance traveled, and the airport you fly into. It’s advisable to book flights well in advance and compare prices from different airlines to secure the best deals.


Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to consider the cost of ground transportation to your ski resort. Rental cars are a convenient option for travelers who want flexibility and independence during their stay. However, keep in mind that rental car prices can fluctuate based on demand, so it’s advisable to book in advance to secure the best rates. Some ski resorts also offer shuttle services from the airport, which can be a cost-effective and hassle-free option for transportation.


If you choose to rent a car, be aware of additional costs such as gas, parking fees, and potential tolls. Some ski resorts charge for parking, so factor that into your transportation budget. Carpooling with other travelers or sharing a ride using ride-sharing services can also help reduce costs.


Another transportation option is utilizing public transportation. Some ski resorts offer free or discounted shuttle services within the resort area, allowing you to conveniently access the slopes without the need for a car. Additionally, there may be public transportation options available for getting to and from the resort or exploring nearby towns. Research the availability and cost of public transportation options in your desired area to see if it aligns with your budget.


In addition to airfare and ground transportation, it’s important to consider the cost of parking at the ski resort. Many resorts charge for parking, and prices can range from a daily fee to multi-day or season passes. Some resorts offer free parking, but it may be limited or require you to park farther away from the slopes. Be sure to research the parking options and fees at your chosen ski resort to plan your transportation expenses accordingly.


Lastly, it’s worth noting that some ski resorts may have free or low-cost transportation options within the local area. These can include shuttles to nearby towns for shopping or dining, or transportation to other resorts in the region. Take advantage of these services if available to explore the area and potentially save on transportation costs.


By considering these transportation factors and planning ahead, you can budget for transportation costs and ensure a smooth journey to and from your ski destination in Colorado.


Food and Dining Expenses

Food and dining expenses are an important consideration when budgeting for a ski trip to Colorado. Whether you plan to dine out or cook your meals, these costs can add up. Here are some tips for managing your food expenses while enjoying tasty meals during your skiing adventure.


If you choose to eat out during your ski trip, be aware that dining at ski resorts can be costly. On-mountain restaurants tend to have higher prices, especially those with scenic views or renowned chefs. To save money, consider exploring nearby towns or villages for more affordable dining options. These areas often have a variety of restaurants and cafes that offer a range of cuisines and price points. Researching local eateries in advance can help you find hidden gems that won’t break the bank.


Consider accommodations with kitchenettes or full kitchens to have the option to cook your meals. This can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you’re traveling with a family or a larger group. Visit local grocery stores or markets to stock up on ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Packing a lunch and snacks for your time on the slopes can also help minimize food costs.


Another option is to pack some non-perishable snacks and drinks from home. Granola bars, trail mix, and water bottles can keep you fueled during your time on the slopes and help you avoid expensive on-mountain purchases. Remember to check with the resort’s regulations regarding outside food and drink to ensure compliance.


Happy hours and lunch specials can be a great way to experience local dining without breaking the bank. Many restaurants in ski resort areas offer discounted prices during specific hours or for certain menu items. Take advantage of these deals to enjoy delicious meals at lower prices.


Another cost-saving option is to dine at local eateries recommended by the locals. Often, these establishments offer authentic cuisine and fair prices, providing you with a memorable culinary experience without the hefty price tag. Don’t be afraid to ask locals or resort staff for recommendations.


When dining out, be mindful of portion sizes. Skiing is a physically demanding activity, and you may find yourself more hungry than usual. However, ordering excessively large portions can lead to unnecessary food waste and overspending. Consider sharing meals or ordering smaller portions if available.


Lastly, be aware of any additional charges or tips that may be added to your bill. Some restaurants automatically include a gratuity in the final bill, while others leave it up to the customer’s discretion. Be sure to check and adjust the tip accordingly based on the service you received.


By being mindful of your dining choices, taking advantage of happy hour specials, exploring local eateries, and utilizing the option to cook your own meals, you can manage your food expenses without sacrificing the pleasure of enjoying delicious meals during your skiing adventure in Colorado.


Ski Lessons and Guided Tours

Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced skier seeking new challenges, ski lessons and guided tours can enhance your skiing experience in Colorado. While these services come at an additional cost, they can provide valuable instruction, guidance, and memorable experiences on the slopes.


If you’re new to skiing or want to improve your skills, investing in ski lessons can be a worthwhile expense. Ski resorts in Colorado offer a range of lesson options for all ages and skill levels. From private lessons to group lessons, there are choices to suit individual preferences and budgets.


Private lessons provide personalized instruction tailored to your specific needs and goals. They offer one-on-one attention from a knowledgeable instructor who can focus on addressing your weaknesses and helping you progress at your own pace. Private lessons tend to be more expensive but can be a valuable investment, especially for beginners or those looking to advance to the next level.


Group lessons are a more budget-friendly option and can be a great way to meet fellow skiers and learn together in a social setting. Group lessons typically have a lower instructor-to-student ratio but still provide valuable instruction and guidance. They are particularly beneficial for beginners who want to learn the basics and gain confidence on the slopes.


In addition to ski lessons, guided tours can provide unique experiences and help you explore the mountain terrain to its fullest. Guided tours are led by experienced instructors or guides who are knowledgeable about the ski resort’s trails and hidden gems. They can take you to off-the-beaten-path areas, show you the best powder stashes, and provide insights into the local environment and history.


Guided tours can be an excellent option for intermediate or advanced skiers who want to discover new trails or challenge themselves with more adventurous terrain. Some ski resorts offer specialized tours, such as backcountry tours or heli-skiing, for those seeking even more thrilling experiences.


When considering ski lessons or guided tours, research different ski schools or guide services at your chosen resort. Compare prices, read reviews, and inquire about the instructor’s qualifications and experience. It’s essential to choose a reputable provider to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


While ski lessons and guided tours do incur additional costs, they can enhance your skiing skills, boost your confidence, and provide memorable experiences in the stunning Colorado mountains. If you’re looking to make the most of your time on the slopes, investing in professional instruction or a guided tour can be well worth it.


Additional Activities and Entertainment Expenses

A ski trip to Colorado offers more than just skiing or snowboarding. There are a variety of additional activities and entertainment options to explore during your winter getaway. While these activities may come with additional expenses, they can add excitement and variety to your trip.


One popular off-slope activity is snowmobiling. Zooming through the snowy landscapes on a snowmobile can be an exhilarating experience. Snowmobile tours are offered at many ski resorts in Colorado, allowing you to explore scenic trails and enjoy breathtaking mountain views. Prices for snowmobile tours typically include equipment rental, a guide, and safety orientation.


If you’re seeking a more relaxed experience, consider snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. These activities provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the winter landscape. Many ski resorts have designated trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and equipment rentals are usually available on-site or at nearby rental shops.


For a touch of luxury and relaxation, indulge in spa treatments. Many ski resorts in Colorado have on-site spas offering a range of services, including massages, facials, and hot tubs. Treatments can be a well-deserved treat after a day on the slopes, but be prepared for higher prices compared to regular spa visits.


If you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment, consider activities such as tubing, ice skating, or sleigh rides. These activities are often offered at or near ski resorts and provide fun-filled experiences for all ages. Prices for these activities are usually accessible, and rental equipment is typically included.


Colorado is also known for its vibrant après-ski scene. After a day on the slopes, unwind at local bars and restaurants, enjoy live music, or indulge in a delicious meal. While each establishment has its own pricing, happy hour specials and early bird dining options can help you save money while still enjoying the lively social atmosphere.


It’s worth noting that some ski resorts offer package deals or discounted rates for combining multiple activities. This can be a cost-effective way to experience a variety of winter activities while saving on individual prices. Don’t forget to inquire about package options and any available promotions.


When planning your additional activities and entertainment, consider your budget and prioritize the experiences that align with your interests. Set a daily or overall spending limit to ensure you stay within your budget while still enjoying the activities that matter most to you.


While these additional activities and entertainment options may come with extra costs, they provide memorable experiences and a chance to explore the diverse winter offerings of Colorado. Budgeting for these expenses allows you to make the most of your ski trip and create lasting memories beyond the slopes.


Tips for Saving Money on Skiing in Colorado

Skiing in Colorado can be an incredible experience, but it’s no secret that it can also be a costly one. However, with some strategic planning and smart choices, you can save money without compromising the enjoyment of your ski trip. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your budget:


1. Plan your trip during off-peak times: Avoiding peak seasons, such as holidays and weekends, can lead to significant savings on lift tickets, accommodations, and even transportation costs. Consider visiting Colorado during weekdays or shoulder seasons to take advantage of lower prices.


2. Look for discounted lift tickets: Check the ski resort’s website for any special offers or discounted lift ticket options. Some resorts offer early bird pricing, multi-day deals, or partnerships with local businesses that provide discounted tickets.


3. Rent equipment in advance: Save money and avoid long lines by renting your ski or snowboard equipment in advance. Many ski resorts offer online reservations with discounted rates compared to walk-up rentals.


4. Share accommodations: Consider staying in larger accommodations with friends or family to split the cost. Renting a vacation home or condo with multiple bedrooms can be a more affordable option compared to booking separate hotel rooms.


5. Pack your meals and snacks: Bring your own snacks, water, and even packed lunches to the slopes. This will help you avoid expensive on-mountain food prices and allows for more flexibility in your dining choices.


6. Utilize kitchen facilities: Choose accommodations with kitchenettes or full kitchens to cook your own meals. This will significantly cut down on food expenses and allow you to enjoy homemade meals during your stay.


7. Take advantage of free activities: Many ski resorts offer free or low-cost activities such as ice skating or scenic walks. Take advantage of these options for entertainment without the high price tag.


8. Purchase discounted packages: Look for package deals that bundle lift tickets, accommodations, and other activities together. These packages often offer better value compared to purchasing each component separately.


9. Take advantage of resort loyalty programs: Some ski resorts have loyalty programs that offer discounts and perks to repeat visitors. Sign up for these programs to receive exclusive offers and savings.


10. Compare transportation options: Research different transportation options and compare prices. Consider factors such as flights, rental cars, shuttles, and public transportation to find the most cost-effective solution.


Remember to set a budget for your trip and stick to it. By implementing these money-saving tips, you can enjoy a memorable skiing experience in Colorado while keeping your finances in check. Happy skiing!



Skiing in Colorado is a thrilling and unforgettable experience, but it’s important to be prepared for the associated expenses. By understanding the various costs and implementing effective money-saving strategies, you can enjoy a fantastic ski trip without breaking the bank.


From lift tickets to equipment rental fees, accommodation expenses to transportation costs, food and dining expenses to additional activities, it’s crucial to budget and plan ahead. Researching ticket prices, comparing rental options, and exploring different accommodation choices will help you make informed decisions and find the best deals.


To save even more, consider cooking your own meals, taking advantage of discounted packages, sharing accommodations with friends or family, and planning your trip during off-peak periods. These strategies can help stretch your budget while still allowing you to indulge in the excitement and beauty of skiing in Colorado.


Furthermore, while lift tickets and skiing are the main focus of your trip, don’t forget to explore the additional activities and entertainment options available. Whether it’s snowmobiling, spa treatments, or enjoying the après-ski scene, there are plenty of opportunities to add variety and unforgettable experiences to your trip.


Remember, budgeting and saving money does not mean compromising on quality or enjoyment. With proper planning, careful consideration of expenses, and taking advantage of discounts and promotions, you can create a memorable and affordable ski trip to Colorado.


So, whether you’re a skiing enthusiast or a first-time visitor to the slopes, use these tips and strategies to make the most of your ski trip in Colorado. Take in the breathtaking mountain views, feel the rush of the slopes, and create lasting memories without breaking the bank.