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5 top tips for skiing on a budget

Check out our top 5 tips to fuel your ski or snowboard addiction... without breaking the bank!

Get up early

Cardrona Ski Resort - ski New Zealand - ski Wanaka

Want more bang for your buck? Get up the mountain early! Not only do you get to catch one of the most amazing sunrises on the planet, an early start means you're first to the carpark, first in for coffee, and first on the lifts. You can generally smash out a tonne of laps before everyone else wakes up and gets out there – it's an awesome way to get more laps for the same dollars!


The first way to save money on your ski holiday is also better for our planet – hitch a ride with one of your mates, or even better, fill a car! Splitting petrol costs is a great cost-saver, and the other benefits are endless – what better way to bond with your mates than blasting road trip tunes on a road trip up the mountain?!

Passes and gear

Cardrona Staff

Here at Cardrona we're big fans of sales... who doesn't love a bargain? Our tips for getting passes and gear on the cheap are sure to save you some bucks so you can get an extra beer or two at aprés!

  • If you're just starting out or you don't need the latest and greatest, second-hand gear might be the way to go. Local Facebook trading posts, Trade Me and ski/board online groups can be great places to get gear. If there are two pieces of kit you buy new, we recommend boots and a helmet – you can get both snowboard boots and helmets at our on-mountain retail shop (for the same price you'd get them in town!).
  • If you're only skiing or snowboarding once or twice a year, it can actually be more cost-effective to rent! Here at Cardies you can also upgrade your rental gear to Premium Rentals (the flashest gear OUT) for just $15 extra.
  • Most ski and board shops have big sales at the start and the end of every season – ours on the mountain is usually in spring, and you can grab some amazing deals on boards, boots, bindings and outerwear.
  • Speaking of spring, each year we have some sweet spring deals on passes so keep an eye out for those...
  • If you're skiing for more than one day, the best deal is a Multi Pass – the more days you ride, the more you save!
  • Our annual Price Freeze Sale at the end of the winter season is the best time to grab a season pass. It's when we lock our season pass pricing at this season's rates until the end of October. Get in before prices go up after!
  • If you're a student, wait till O Week to get your pass – it's definitely the best deal of the year. 

Team dinners

One of the hidden costs of your ski holiday is eating dinner out every night, so a great way to save some coin is try to stay somewhere with something that resembles a kitchen, and invite your shred buddies over for a pot luck. The best thing about a pot luck? Leftovers for breakfast...

Home-made snacks

Obviously, we'd love it if you ate at one of our 8 on-mountain cafés and restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between, but we know when you're shredding on a budget that's not really possible! Load your pockets with home-made snacks, then pop into Base Café after 3pm to get some epic deals on baked goods, pies and fries. 

Have you got any tips to save money on the slopes? Chuck them in the comments below!!

About the Author

Jen Houltham


Jen is Cardrona's resident word nerd. She's out & about on the mountain most days; a big fan of carving groomed runs, powder hunting & laps through Lil' Bucks!