Saturday, March 2, 2019

Skiing 101: How Much Does It Cost to Ski in WA vs. CA?

Me at Stevens 2019

I am not an avid skier. I am not a very good skier either, I teeter between the green runs being a little too easy for me, to the blue runs being a tiny bit too hard for me, but I still like going down the blue runs, just slowly. I am writing this piece because I am surprised at the cost of lift tickets, how much it varies, and just the total cost of it all.

I grew up skiing the resorts in Big Bear, California, where the slopes usually have more man made snow vs. actual real snow from Mother Nature. So moving up to Washington, it's a shock how much snow the mountains get here! (California did get more snow this year though)

Annual Snowfall Comparison:

Big Bear Lake, CA
Mammoth, CA
Tahoe, CA
Stevens Pass, WA
Mt Baker Ski Area
67 inches
400 inches
300-500 inches
460 inches
663 inches

I tend to only ski once a year due to cost of skiing. Which, I don't own my own ski equipment either, so the cost of renting adds up over the years. I went skiing at Stevens Pass the other weekend, and the cost breakdown of my one day of skiing was : $80 for a lift ticket (discounted price too because I used a friend's buddy pass, I think normally it's around $100 during peak season), and around $70 for ski rentals (included ski boots, skis, helmet, and ski poles). Dropping that much for a day of skiing is a lot to me. But after talking to some of my California buddies, an $80 lift ticket was considered cheap to them!

2 seasons ago, I skied for the day at Bluewood Ski Resort near Walla Walla, WA and thought the lift tickets their were reasonable, at $47 for a weekend lift ticket. I guess that's not just reasonable, but considerably cheap after I did my research for this post.

My friends in California said Mammoth and Bear prices are around $110-180 for a day lift ticket. Which spiked my interest in doing a price comparison chart of lift ticket costs Washington vs California. So I did some research and came up with these charts (prices vary (i.e. buying them early online can make them cheaper, weekday prices are cheaper too, etc.))

Photo from Big Bear 2013
Big Bear 2013 (Yes I am still rocking the same jacket lol)

California Prices:

Big Bear Mountain
Mammoth Mountain
Tahoe – Squaw Valley
Lift Ticket
Rental (full package)

Washington State Prices:

Crystal Mountain
Stevens Pass Ski
Summit at Snoqualmie
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Bluewood Ski (Dayton, WA)
Lift Ticket
Rental (full package)

I always find seeing price comparisons interesting and if I am getting the best deal out there. These prices are for 1 day lift tickets and rentals. 

Ski Budget Tips:

  • Buying lift tickets ahead of time online usually can save you a few bucks
  • Look into renting equipment elsewhere
  • Check Costco and REI for lift ticket deals
  • Borrow gear from friends
I hope you found this helpful! 

Until next time Stevens!

 Bluewood Map
Cody's 1st time skiing Bluewood 2017

 Stevens Pass
Night skiing at Stevens (they have lights!)

Resource Links:


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