It’s that time of year when people hit the slopes more often than the beach. However, seasonal changes come with a price. On top of gas, the cost of equipment and lift tickets can be as much as $92 at resorts such as Mammoth Mountain.
If more is desired than a day trip to Bear Mountain, winter athletes must scrounge for lodging funds. All of these expenses add up to make popular snow sports nearly unaffordable for the starving student population of Southern California. However, cost cutting options are available, especially for lodging.
Although Big Bear Lake is a smaller resort community, alternatives to pricy hotels exist. Big Bear Hostel is primely located near Big Bear Lake and offers rooms for one to eight people starting at $24.49 a night. A stay-and-ski package is available for $62.82, and season pass holders can stay for $20 a night.
Mammoth Mountain might not have a hostel, but locals are happy to loan out their couches to skiers and snowboarders. Couchsurfing.org is an international, nonprofit organization that connects travelers to residents in 245 countries throughout the world. After visiting the website and making an account, people can search for places to crash. Currently about 28 couches are available for crashing in Mammoth Lakes. The hosts are generally young, outdoorsy people looking to make new friends and have a good time.
A similar website is istopover.com/ski. This site lists rooms, condominiums and houses for rent in popular ski resort areas typically for a less expensive price than trendy bottom gondola hotels and fancy cabins. There are currently over 60 available places to stay in Mammoth Lakes. One cozy condo located within walking distance of the slopes is $176 a night, Monday through Sunday. If friends are searching for an inexpensive cabin to split, this site may fit the bill.
If a cabin seems too extreme to organize, and a day trip involving 12 hours of driving does not sound appealing, Mammoth offers a variety of affordable hotels.
“Motel 6 is always the cheapest in Mammoth,” San Diego State graduate and former ski and snowboarding team member, Josh Weinreich, said. “They keep tabs and undercut everyone by a few dollars.”
Although Bear and Mammoth mountains are more accessible for Southern California residents, top-rated Tahoe resorts such as Squaw Valley are offering some new specials. The new Fly and Ski Free deal allows people to present a same day commercial airline boarding pass and get a free lift ticket for afternoon and night skiing and boarding.
After flying and boarding, the Venerable Granlibakken Lodge just outside of Tahoe offers great accommodation packages. For $109 visitors receive a one-night stay, a hot breakfast buffet and transportation to one of seven neighboring ski resorts including Squaw. With an inexpensive roundtrip flight and corresponding deals, winter sports fans can enjoy brisk mountain time, long distance transportation and a night of lodging for a little more than $200.