Magical budget formula
When I first started going up to Tahoe, I was gasping at the Bay Area rental prices, paying on large school loans and building a savings. I really didn't think I could do it, but I ran the numbers and found the budget to make sure that I had a little fun and exercise while I was working hard on the hard stuff.
How it breaks down is this:
lodging + gas + board/ski rental + lift tickets
My goal was to keep my expenses for each category to around $40 for each piece, like so:
$40 +~$40 + $30 + $25-100+ = $135-200 per weekend
You'll notice right away the biggest factor are your lift tickets. There are a few ways to handle this: 1, buddy passes from your friends can often run between 50-65 at major resorts; 2, bypass the larger resorts and go to the smaller ones like Homewood (which are often just as nice though you may be on your own till you hit up the apres ski places in Squaw and around the lake); 3, buy a season pass.
I did a combo of the first and second option during my second season. But this past season I broke down and bought the season pass and I was really happy about it - if you use the pass 10 times, your daily lift ticket goes down to ~$50. If you use it 20 times, it goes down to ~$25. Quite a good deal. Though you are tied in to the resort you pick your pass for...however, the local tahoe passes are pretty flexible and you can trade buddy passes with people who get your opposite passes (for example, I have a Squaw-pine pass but my friends have Heavenly/Northstar - we guest each other at each others resorts and get to spend more time riding together).
Additionally, places like Sports Basement, REI, corporations you may work for, etc offer discounted lift tickets, usually a small maybe 10%-ish discount though - which is not much off of an expensive Northstar ticket, but it's something.
So, working backwards, how do we get up there and stay affordably?
Driving up by yourself can be convenient and lonely. You have more control but you front your entire gas budget yourself. If you don't have a car, I'm sure you feel kind of lost as to how to get up there on a regular basis.
I highly recommend ride-sharing - it takes a little work - either you're schlepping your stuff to a meetup point or you're picking riders up in different neighborhoods. BUT, you can charge each person gas money up and back and bring your own individual cost down - some people even pay for their own portion, as compensation for doing the organizational work.
Here, if you haven't committed to buying your own board/boots or ski/boots/poles yet, there are a few good options that will cost you way less than renting AT the resorts...which I really really don't recommend.
- Sports Basement runs a $30 for 3 days rental of board/boots and ski package - pick up starting Wednesdays, return by end of day Mondays - a great deal.
- Tahoe Dave's - up in Tahoe is also a decent place to rent - their prices are a little more than SB but still better than the resorts.
So on top of this, we get some pro and local discounts, like at the Adrift Kayak/SuP Rental store on the beach in the summers. Ask myself or Nick about these in the short term and we'll be actively collecting these (mostly word of mouth right now) and posting them here for you to review.
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