I hear your pain, and feel for you. I have so far escaped responsibilities and continued working for passes in the winter, and managed to get past most of the worst expenses in the sport. On the surface, it is no longer affordable.
And while Bakesale may be right that it has never been 'cheap' to ride, i want to say that it wasn't always this expensive either.
Boards and gear have always been a bit of a killer, but a lot of the quality is suspect these days, with a lot of boards and gear engineered to be ridden a season, rather than 2 or three.
Lift tickets have been rising, and the average Joe who you used to see in jeans and a poncho trying to learn how to ski has pretty much disappeared.
Lots of reasons for this, but basically i think it has been greed.
With the boom of snowboarding and a rush of revenue into the ski industry, people have been trying to make a fast buck by cutting corners in a lot of places. Burton gets a lot of criticism for this, but also a lot of the ski hills that were once public and affordable have been privatized and milked.
My local hill of Kimberly used to be owned and run by the town. This brought its own problems (like having city council members try to run something they have no idea about), but at the same time life tickets were reasonable, and local people could come.
Now, even with enough snow, they don't open until Christmas season, so they don't have to run the lifts for just season pass holders. And day passes are getting ridiculous.
But don't fear, there are ways around this. You can still ride for cheap if you don't mind looking like you didn't step out of this month's magazine.
#1- Buy gear used. There are a ton of gapers who buy new just because its new, but don't use it. You can still find lots of great gear at the second-hands, garage sales and consignment stores. Keep you eyes out during the summer. My last 2 pairs of pants have been (barely) used, and same with a pair of gloves i picked up this season.
#2 learn how to repair instead of throwing stuff away or getting a professional to fix it. Not just with boards, but clothing as well. I have been having fun learning how to use the sewing machine.
#3- Get a part-time or volunteer job at the hill. For working a set number of days as an on-hill ambassador or guide, you can get a season's pass. Same for other work on the lifts, rental shop, or snowboard school.
#4 Go to Mike Basich's site and see how a pro works. He makes a ton of shit DIY style, from split boards to snowshoes. making some of your own stuff can free you up.
#5 Don't go to the hills, hit the backcountry. Its free and way more rad. And dangerous, so get schooled before you go. Take an avy course, and go with experienced people you can trust.
#6 Noboard. Get a cheap used board thats suitable for pow, and buy a nopad from noboard.com. Or make your own using a ton of stomp pads. THE ULTIMATE POWDER EXPERIENCE, i shit you not. And without all the training wheels and fancy boots. A pair of sorels with old snowboard boot liners will do it.
#7. Most importantly, duct tape is your friend.
King Shit of Turdville
Last edited by anti-bling; 12-03-2010 at 12:29 AM.