Travel for any reason––whether for business or pleasure––seems to remain a long, tiring, and expensive process. For us who enjoy the thrill of gliding over powder, travel is often an integral part of any ski adventure; most long time skiers have endured expensive flights and lift tickets, long journeys impeded by closed and treacherous roads, and countless headaches along the way. Add in a college student's budget, access to transportation, and time restraints, and it's easy to see how a college student would struggle to find a way onto the slopes! From student discounts to creative fixes, check out Kulkea's list of the best ski travel tips and tricks for college students.
Transportation Hacks: Affordable, Easy Mountain Access
For most college student's, a strict budget is part of everyday life. Whether trying to build up savings to pay off student loans or just trying to save a buck, it's often difficult to justify the expenses of a ski trip. Finding a good discount, however, does help relieve some of that guilt. In regards to discounts, tons of options exist, especially for students. Starting off with lift passes, many resorts offer student discounts for single day and season passes. Even the Epic and Ikon Pass, the two most widely used season passes in North America, offer students price reductions. Epic offers the College Pass which gives student discounts at certain mountains around the world while Ikon has the Ikon Pass University, a program to partner with college ski clubs and offer them discounted passes. Once acquiring a pass, find more affordable flights by utilizing various student discount codes offered by airlines such as United's flight discount for passengers aged eighteen to twenty two. If flying is not a necessity, many other options exist for ground transportation. Plenty of buses, especially along the east coast, shuttle back and forth between major cities and ski areas specifically for increased ski access. Cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and many more have tons of options for finding your way to a mountain at a low cost. For those who wish to simplify things and pay a little extra, ZipCar gives the perfect alternative for students under the age of twenty five unable to get a rental car. Simply download the ZipCar app, find an available vehicle near you, and head to the slopes. Whether by car, plane, bus, or train, affordable options are as widely available as one is willing to look!
Keep Your Boots Close!
Of all your ski gear, your boots are simply the most irreplaceable item you have. Properly breaking in a pair of new boots is a slow, painstaking, but worthwhile process; after years and years of runs, your boots become extensions of your feet connecting you seamlessly to the snow beneath. By losing a pair of boots, you are forced to start over and erase all the hard work you put into making them yours––skis, poles, and goggles alike are replaceable in this respect.
This is why boots must be given extra attention during travel when they are at the highest risk of being lost, stolen, or damaged. When flying to a ski getaway, I'd recommend taking your boots with you as a carry on to ensure they are kept safe. Boots can be easily transported with one of Kulkea's many cutting edge boot bags, such as the Käydä Travel Backpack, and stored in the overhead compartment on flights. If your ski bag didn't make it to your destination, as is even more likely with oversized luggage on flights often delayed by conditions, having your own boots with you will hugely simplify the rental process and enhance your skiing experience.
Travel with a Group
For most skiers, time spent on the mountain is synonymous with time spent with friends and family. Who wouldn't want to do what they love with the people they love? Beyond the obvious benefit of doing what you love with the people you love, we'd like to point out the cost reductions a larger group offers.
Starting off with travel costs, those looking to take a ZipCar or even Uber will be rewarded by each extra passenger they bring along. Sure, a ZipCar could cost around $300 for an entire weekend, but split that four ways and your trip becomes all the more feasible! Possibly the greatest price reduction a larger group will grant is in housing. Find an affordable place from an easy to use agency like Airbnb or VRBO, bring along some blankets and sleeping bags, and fit as many people as can comfortably and safely fit. Save even more by planning out large, simple meals and buying ingredients in bulk. Though a difficult and imperfect process, do your best to accurately plan just how much to buy; no one's saving money on eight leftover cans of marinara sauce. From pasta to tacos to a great big chicken soup, find what's just right for your group and get cooking!