How to do a cheap snow trip

Anyone who has embarked upon a ski or snowboard adventure holiday knows they will return with a shredded pocket worn away from the constant 'dipping of the hand into the wallet'. But it doesn't have to be that way if you plan ahead.

Australia's lift passes are regularly listed as the most expensive in the world but who honestly pays full window walk up ticket price?  You could pay $A120 for a day pass at Thredbo or you could buy a 7 of 9 day pass online for $A652 or pay $A93.14 per day, a saving of almost $30.

You could buy a two-day pass for Perisher for $A250 or go online and buy the same two day pass for $A220. The seven day full price is $A831 but online it is $A688 which works out around $A98.28 per day. For another $A211 you could buy the Epic Australia Pass and ski Perisher all season long then ski Keystone, Breckenridge, Park City, Kirkwood, Northstar, Heavenly all northern season long with another 10 days in Beaver Creek and Vail. 

For 7 of 9 days at Hotham and Falls you'll pay $A700 on the day but if you book fourteen days ahead online then you can get that same pass for $A595 which works out to be $A85 per day.

Mt Buller has taken a different approach. The one day lift pass is $A120 but the more days you buy the more that price reduces. The seven day pass will cost you $A557 or $A79.57 per day.

The heady days of $NZ1.25 to the Aussie dollar may have gone (you'll now get $NZ1.06 for your Aussie peso) but lift passes are still cheaper than back home. Even walk up window on the day price of $NZ108 for Treble Cone is still cheaper than the Australian resorts' one day prices.

That's before you look into multi day passes that traditionally provide a significant discount.

Accommodation of course is another story. Prices can range from early season cheap, that's before the snow settles, but once it does it can cost almost an entire mortgage payment for just a single night in a small room in peak season. But you can still find deals if you look around. 

The YHA in Thredbo is the only youth hostel at the Australian ski fields and offers family rooms that sleep two adults and up to three children for $A602 for two nights mid week in peak season. The Perisher Manor has twin share ski in ski out accommodation for five nights during peak season for $A1150 and during Spring for $A875. 

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In Hotham, you can stay at Arrabri Ski Club for five nights for $A465 peak season or for two nights for $A230. In Falls, try the ski-in-ski-out Schuss Lodge from $A44 per night in the early season. Mt Buller's famous The Whitt lodge from the Ski Club of Victoria has queen rooms from $A210 per night during off peak season.

In New Zealand try the Sherwood in Queenstown for on-site yoga, hipster dining and king room from $NZ165 per night and a quad share from $NZ150 per night. 

We all know that food can be the real money killer when on a snow holiday. You can bake your own protein treats and trail mix, and take it with you if you're driving to the snow to help reduce snack costs. If you're in a self contained accommodation option, make sure you do your supermarket shopping in the city you live in (if you're skiing domestically) as the closer you get to the snow the higher the price and the lower the quality.

Do your research ahead as many food outlets offer discounted prices at night. Think curry nights, chicken parmagiana nights and so on. If you follow them on social media then you're likely to get last-minute dining deals too.

The Elk at Falls Creek leads the field on this style of dining. Last season they had lamb shank nights, Sunday roast, eat the pantry and more. Reasonable priced fare big on flavour.

Finally, if you're looking for discounted ski and snowboard gear, especially if you are first timers to the snow, Aldi still have their ski sale on for outerwear and base layers. Be warned they will no doubt be running low after queues out-the-door on the sale opening weekend a few weeks ago.

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Thanks to Ski Max Holidays we're giving you the chance to win a ski and snowboard trip to Whistler Blackcomb for you and a friend. You'll fly from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to Vancouver, bed down for two nights at the harbour side five star Pan Pacific Hotel and take in the city's sights including the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and FlyOver Canada. Then you'll spend five nights in luxury at The Westin Resort and Spa at Whistler Blackcomb with ski lift passes for two for the week you're there.

All you have to do is hashtag your original Instagram winter inspired pics with #misssnowitall and #skimaxholidays to enter.

We'll publish five finalists each week, with one winner at the end of the season. It's that easy.

Follow Rachael Oakes-Ash on Twitter & Instagram @misssnowitall and on facebook.com/misssnowitall

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