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Sunday Saver - November 23

By MountainThreads

2014-11-23

When I was a kid growing up in Florida, we made an annual ski pilgrimage to Colorado? In a car. Yes, twenty hours of driving one way, three kids, two parents in a four-door sedan. Seat belts optional, fast food fundamental. All to enjoy five days of snowy bliss swishing down the slopes of some of the most majestic mountains in the world. In those days we would turn the heat down in our house in January and February, donning hand-me-down parkas and ski boots to stay warm, to get our feet used to the boots, and to save money for the trip.

Airfare has gotten a lot cheaper since the 70s, but family ski vacations still rack up a pricey tab. The Saver Sunday edition of this blog will focus on ways to save money to make that memorable family ski vacation possible. Snow skiing, and now snowboarding, is one of the greatest family sports around. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, mapping out the day together, relaxing in the hot tub together, commiserating over sore muscles, celebrating getting down that first intermediate ski run without falling once?family memories are made snow skiing.

My first money-saving tip focuses on what I know best?you guessed it, ski clothing. A quality, mid-range adult ski outfit (jacket, pants, goggles, gloves) from reputable brands costs $375-$400. Kids outfits can cost $200 and up. Add it all up for a family of four, and you?re talking $1,150 or more just in ski clothing. And what about airline fees for the extra bag you?ll have to check with all that bulky skiwear? $35-$50 each way depending on your airline. So, you?re $1250 in before you even set foot on the slopes. And when you get home? Wash it, hang it, store it in the closet for a year or more, at which point it may or may not fit.

And though borrowing ski clothes can work out well, what if the clothes don?t fit right or have lost their waterproof feature? Do you want your five-year-old to be in tears about being cold, soaked to the bone from pants that don?t keep the snow out?

Renting ski clothing makes so much more sense. A performance ski jacket with all the bells and whistles, fully seam-sealed waterproof, insulated pants, waterproof ski gloves and all-weather goggles will cost an adult $28/day and kids only $17/day on a 5-day family ski vacation. Best part, when you?re done, leave it for someone else to clean and store. Rent your ski clothing, and save the money you would have spent on buying snow clothes to do something much more fun?like taking the family for a laughter-filled afternoon of snow tubing.

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