Nonskiers often attribute their lack of interest in skiing to the cost.

There’s no ignoring the fact that, like any sport - have you played a round of golf lately? bought a new fishing pole? rented a mountain bike for a weekend of mountain climbing? or even leased a cabin on the shore of a lake for a relaxing week doing nothing? - alpine skiing can chew up dollar bills faster than our dog, Brandy, chews up a bone. But only if you fling prudence into the winter sky. It’s also possible to keep the expense of skiing to a respectable minimum. This applies to every aspect of the sport, from equipment to places to stay and play.

Getting started is more exciting than expensive. Costs involve three items: admission tickets, equipment, and housing.

Tickets are highest priced on weekends. For short trips, tickets are cheaper midweek. The per-day cost drops substantially for a one-week ski junket.

As far as ski-school costs go, the single weekend lesson is the most expensive. Costs drop during the week, and a five-day leam-to-ski ticket package is the lowest priced of all.

As far as rental equipment goes, the same weekend, midweek, or week-long rental rules apply here, too.

The never-ever skier has two choices: buy or rent. Until you’re convinced skiing is going to be a part of your life, rent your skis (they come equipped with bindings), boots, and poles. All resorts have rental shops. Although their charges may be higher than those of off-the-mountain rental shops, if something goes wrong with the rental equipment you can rectify it quickly at the mountain.

A single day’s rental will be about one-third higher if you select new equipment from a demonstration rack rather than the standard rental skis.

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