Boom and bust – skiing for less

As a family, we’re tight-arsed splurgers, frugal spend-thrifts.

Mr S and I have just returned from eleven nights down the snow. People always ask how long you’re down for, or how long are you going, or how long did you go. Their eyes pop out when you say eleven nights.

Yes it is not cheap.

But we have ways of stretching our dollar to do things we love.

Firstly, we own all our own gear. And most of it comes from Aldi. Aldi neck warmers – check. Aldi gloves – check. Aldi beanie – check. Aldi ski socks – check. Aldi skies – check. (Well, only mine and the kids’ skis are Aldi. Mr S bought his on-line from the US and got an amazing price for a top of the range product. Shortly after, the Australian importers signed an agreement with the US suppliers blocking consumers from purchasing the skis online. A win for the importers’ profits.) Aldi ski pants – check. (Well actually I have new ski pants this year from Aldi. For the past ten years I have worn Mr S’s spare pair of pants. He can never have just one of something.)

Some of our gear is high-end labelled stuff. But even that has been sourced on the cheap. I have a Karbon ski jacket. It was my son’s. A friend bought it at its point of manufacture – Vietnam, when said friend worked there. This became my hand-me-down when son grew out of it. Son got Spider gear from the same friend from Vietnam. Same friend has also worked in Sri Lanka where he bought British Columbia gear for us. This friend used to visit home every year and come skiing with us with some new gear. Good friend to have!

20140711-112141.jpg (My pants and jacket.)

Our boots aren’t Aldi. Mr S bought them online from the US. So much cheaper than here in Oz.

20140711-111625.jpg (My boots.)

Not all of our clothing is designated ski gear. I wear 20 year old tights as thermals. Mr S loves Aldi thermals and Aldi ski fleece tops. (In fact he loves them so much he bought way too many, but he is a collector and cannot buy one of anything.)

20140711-111733.jpg
(Some of the extra Aldi ski stuff bought by Mr S. His excuse: I’ll never have to buy anything again. Mmm, sure they’ll be other stuff he’ll buy. Sorry, have to buy.)

Of course we didn’t buy the stuff all at once. We built up over years. After two seasons, having the gear has recouped the cost of hiring pants, skis, boots and poles.

Secondly we look after our gear so it lasts. I wear a polar fleece jacket bought twelve years ago and I wear it regularly at home. Mr S has just said goodbye to a thermal top he has had for fifteen years. Everything is aired on return. Woollens washed in wool wash. The rails of the skis are treated with Vaseline before being packed away for another year so they don’t rust. [Yes, all this gear takes up a lot of space. Not the best for someone who wants to declutter. Mr S feels better surrounded by clutter. *sigh* It’s a constant battle.]

Thirdly, we hardly ever eat out down the snow. Not breakfast, not lunch, not dinner. We always book accommodation with a kitchen. We used to take down meals we had cooked and frozen at home. (Who wants to cook after a day on the slopes? And the groceries from the supermarket in the snow are over-priced.) Now we buy everything at the supermarket in the snow. Yes, it is more expensive than bringing from home. But with our own gear and catching the bus up the mountain (Mr S got sick of digging the car out and his new car doesn’t fit chains) carrying extra food became too difficult.

Also the restaurants have always been disappointing. The food is plainly ordinary, very ordinary, and overpriced. This year we ate out once – pizzas. We had a buy one get one free voucher from our accommodation. The pizzas were not very nice. In fact pretty shite. But they lasted us two nights. So for $25 and two nights free from cooking it was OK.

And now we’re home we tighten the belt. How?

Well, the sun is out and all our clothes are drying on the line. No clothes dryer for us. Doesn’t make sense when you have free sunshine which also disinfects!

And yesterday I put kidney beans and red lentils in the slow cooker to make refried beans from scratch. I looked in the pantry. Opps! Some things past their use-by date. Use them up I say. They’re only dried pulses. They’ll be OK. Few fresh ingredients and an open packet of tortillas also needing to be used up, and ta da, Mexican wraps.

I took a container of dip (layered beans, salsa and guacamole) to a friends for evening drinks – she supplied the bubbles. And I have beans enough for at least two more dips and a wrap for lunch. (I’ll share the recipe in a future post.)

There you have it. How to ski and save money. Lol!

We know we are lucky. Many people can’t afford a ski trip at all. But with a little bit of frugal living, scrimping in some places, we can splurge in others, and be a spendthrift on the things we enjoy.

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8 thoughts on “Boom and bust – skiing for less

  1. Very sensible strategy, Lucinda! Is Aldi a clothing store? We don’t have any around here, but I think there is a grocery store by the same or similar name.

    One of the things I love most about vacation is eating out because it gives me a break from grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up afterward. But the money! This past trip we had a mini fridge and microwave in most of our rooms and were at least able to eat our leftovers to save a little. I’m sure you save quite a bit by cooking! 🙂

    • What no Aldi? It has revolutionised buying here in Oz. it is a German chain of discount supermarkets. Every week they stock a different range non-supermarket goods, like TVs, power tools, cameras, ski gear, furniture. For some sales people queue before opening to grab the goods. They only stock a limited number and are so cheap, they sell out. Their annual ski sale here is amazing.

      Their food is cheap too. Limited range, very few brand names. But great to get German chocolate and biscuits, especially just before Christmas. And other groceries in their Australian stores are mainly Australian grown or made, which they know Aussies prefer – to support our farmers.

      When an Aldi opens up, you can bet the other neighbouring supermarkets (we have a duopoly here) drop their prices.

      Can you tell I’m an Aldi fan?

      Oh, and they sell French wine and champers, really cheap. And it’s good stuff.

      Have a look!: https://www.aldi.com.au/

    • I know so many people who turned their noses up at Aldi when it first hit our shores. And now they are Aldi converts.

      I should do a tour/inventory of Aldi stuff in our house!

  2. an eleven night ski vacay sounds so fun!
    investing in ski gear can be pricey, but it really pays off in the long run. especially if you build it up over time and only buy one nice thing per year. last year I bought new goggles after our dog ate mine, and they have been amazing. What a difference seeing clearly can make!

  3. I love, love, love skiing, even though we rarely go. I think it’s great you just put it in as a ‘must do’ expense and budget accordingly.

    Did I spy a Hotham tag on the previous post? I was thinking more like Perisher or Thredbo – or even New Zealand?

    PS. They had ALDI in France which gave me a thrill!

    • Home yet, Fiona?

      I looked at some of the special stock in English Aldi’s. I’m jealous. They get some brilliant tat. Did you pop into the French Aldi? And pick up some stuff?

      We go to Falls Creek. Mr S did helicopter it once over to Hotham. Falls is friendlier and less crowded than NSW slopes and you get to have ski-in ski-out accommodation with lots of runs. Don’t get that in New South. We don’t go to Hotham because that’s that bit extra travel for us northerners. Closer for Melbournians which I think makes it more popular than Falls.

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