Breckenridge, Colorado, USA ski resort town skyline Photo Credit: Sean Pavone (iStock).

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone (iStock).

Planning a ski trip to Colorado? Here's a look at how much it might cost a family of four to visit a popular Colorado resort for a full week from Saturday to Sunday.

The Family

Obviously, every skiing experience varies. This breakdown is designed to look at the generic ski trip for an out-of-state family of four, visiting Colorado to ski at the popular slopes in Breckenridge. They're traveling to Colorado during mid-January, amid the heart of ski season, but not for a specific holiday or event. The family will be traveling on the weekends and skiing during the week.

Transportation to Colorado

Calculating the cost of transportation to Colorado is a bit tricky, as visitors travel to the Centennial State from different places and by different means. For the sake of including travel costs in this breakdown, I'm assuming that the family of four is flying into Denver International Airport. Considering the average domestic flight cost in 2019 was $359 per flyer, this totals $1,436 in airfare for all family members.

Travel to the resort

Assuming this family travels into Denver International Airport, they'll have multiple options to reach the mountains. While there are a number of shuttle options available, renting a vehicle tends to be a popular option for families.

Opting for a Hyundai Santa Fe – the cheapest all-wheel-drive SUV option on Kayak – will cost the family around $300 (plus insurance) for eight days, from Saturday to Sunday. Gas will tack a little more to the total cost, likely in the range of $20 to $60 depending on how much driving is done throughout the week.

Lift tickets for five weekdays

The hypothetical family used in this report happens to be headed to Breckenridge, one of the most popular Colorado ski areas for out-of-staters to visit.

When buying single-day tickets directly on the Breckenridge Resort website, it's important to note that ticket prices vary by day, with weekend days costing up to $179 for adults. Thankfully, this hypothetical family happens to be traveling on the weekends and skiing during the week.

During the week, lift ticket prices hang around $160 at Breckenridge for adults and $102 for children, costing a family of four around $524 per day. With five days on the mountain (and no bulk purchasing discounts), skiing will cost around $2,620. Lessons could add hundreds of dollars to this total, but I'm assuming this family is quite trained on the slopes.

Gear rentals

The cost of rental equipment can vary greatly depending on what gear is being rented. On the Breckenridge Resort website, rental packages start at around $43 per day, for a total of around $172 per day for four. For five days of skiing, that's $860. Children's rentals may be available at a cheaper price.

Lodging

Eight nights spent in Breckenridge from a Saturday arrival to a Sunday departure is a bit pricy, as expected.

Bookings on Kayak.com during the mid-January date range can be found for as low as $150 and as high as $3,000 nightly for a family of four, with the estimated average price of site-recommended options around $400 nightly. For eight nights at my estimated average, that's a $3,200 mountain town stay.

Food around town

The price of food during a trip can vary wildly depending on what someone is eating. For the sake of this estimation, let's assume that breakfast is eaten at the hotel and that lunch and dinner are purchased elsewhere.

Cost of living website Numbeo calculates the cost of a mid-range meal for two in Breckenridge at $55 ($27.50 each) and an inexpensive meal for one at $12.

In order to calculate this total cost, some assumptions must be made.

Let's assume that adults are spending $5 each on a homemade breakfast, $12 on lunch, and $27.50 on dinner, totaling $44.50 each day. Let's assume that the cost for a child's food is half of that, totaling $22.25 each day.

For seven full days of food (assuming an early Sunday departure), that's a total of $934.50.

Gifts, souvenirs, and other spending

People like to spend money on vacations – there's no secret there. Let's give this family a spending allowance of $500 in discretionary funds for this trip, meant to cover things like coffee, t-shirts, Uber rides, and event tickets.

The total cost

Obviously, there's a lot of guessing when it comes to estimating the costs of a long hypothetical trip. However, based on the calculations above, the typical week-long (eight night) family ski trip to a well-known Colorado resort could cost somewhere in the range of $10,000.

Tips for cutting costs

1. Use discount lift ticket websites like Liftopia

2. Cut discretionary spending and skip the souvenirs.

3. Eat cheap. Buy food at a local grocery store and avoid dining at expensive spots for every meal.

4. Skip the hotel amenities. Spend time around town instead of at the hot tub.

5. Utilize public transportation in mountain towns.

6. Look for package deals, such as lift ticket bundles and other discounts.

7. Rent equipment and gear off the slopes.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside

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(18) comments

VinceD

Want to save money? Here are a few more pointers:

1) Join a ski club! We get VERY good group rates for most resorts, and yes many clubs are family friendly.

2) Avoid the "high end" resorts. (You know which ones!) Smaller, or out of the way, resorts are often great values. One of our club's best trips ever was to Marmot Basin. Guessing you just googled it!

3) Buy used gear! Ski swaps and resalers like Powder7 offer last year's gear at a nice discount. Lots of online markets too. New prices are for suckers!

4) Pack a lunch. A Subway sandwich is plenty, and a lot less $$. Motels with fridges and condos can be a worth a few extra $$.

5) Ask the locals where is a good place to eat for a reasonable cost. You might get a really nice surprise!

Sss

As a ski instructor, I DON'T recommend people rent equipment off site. Frequently, the equipment is wrong size, binding not set properly, etc. If the family rents on site, these problems can be fixed.

Also, renting a car MIGHT be cheaper, but rental cars often don't have 4 wheel drive and guests may not have experience driving in snow and ice. I had a very smart client from Florida who realized driving from dia was not the safest option, and took shuttle instead. Breck is walkable once you get here. Car really not needed

McAdams

Only now and only in America does the subject of "inequality" come up about skiing. As someone noted here, it's been with us and will be with us. No way can I afford the trips mentioned here, but I hold no ill will to anyone who can afford it. Most people work hard for what they own, and the easy answer is to work hard towards that goal just as most have done. If that's not attainable the only way to achieve "equality" is by having it given to a person with no effort on their part except "they can't afford it and they want it too". This is supposed to be an entertainment site, but some of these calls for redress of grievances which equals state or government intervention (because that is how it will be handled if not voluntarily) got my dander up, and I had to interject.

strmraisr

It's never cheap to be in the company of the pretentious....

RivkaK

[thumbup]

CoYo

And yet millions of Americans find a way to do it every year anyway. Even this year.

Its expensive because it's worth it, I guess.

Pirate

I last went skiing during my time at Ft Lewis College in the early 70's. A season pass at Purgatory was $110.

Today it's too expensive, and too crowded.

Read an interesting story on the web yesterday. The very largest corporations in the US employ 20 million people. Of whom a large proportion make and average of $35K. We've got to change the income inequality. Or like Telluride, and others, only the rich get to play. Most can't afford it.

CoYo

"Solving" the "income inequality problem" means eliminating ski resorts as non essential activities for the proletariat. You can have May Day off with your family with a hearty thanks from those who would be required to centrally plan all aspects of the economy, and maybe a free bus ride to a local attraction that celebrates the wisdom and benevolence of the few who have been selected to oversee our income equality.

CoYo

$110 in 1975 is about $532 today. Not entirely off the mark for some ski passes today, especially considering today you buy a pass that gets you into several ski areas for one price.

colocat

You're upset about the lack of comments? Didn't the article just come out today? Obviously a lot of people could figure out a way to spend a lot less money on what may be a trip of a lifetime. Going skiing for one day,even for us who could drive 2-4 hours has always been expensive. Cross country skiing is much more affordable.

Sargent Buffalo Soldier

And there're no comments, it's accepted as business as usual . . . what % of Americans can afford half of the $10'000, say just $5'000 . . . while the average US family doesn't have $400.00 in their savings - the 'aristocratic nature of 'vacationing" in America just illustrates the 3 or 4 different 'America's" there really are - "The Haves" vs the Have not a . . . thing - and the stark fact of it highlighted here garners no, generates no conversation, no remarks, no comments - what a sad state of affairs

Jackie Treehorn

This disparity didn’t just start with ski trips. The haves and haves not existed for hundreds of years around the world and despite your lamentations will be with us as long as humans walk the earth.

Sargent Buffalo Soldier

And that's because the "Haves' refuse to "share" the fruits of labor produced and generated by the "Haves' with the "have nots" . . . . I live in a land where sadly "God is money, and tragically money is God" While we all seem to adhere to the neanderthalic notion" Rich people are simply better than poor folks and somehow deserving of their obese wealth, and the worker ants and bees are merely inferior, less deserving - I'd suggest Trump goes along with this mindset........

McAdams

Reading your posts before this one I was wondering how long it was going to be before you brought Trump into it. Everythings always his fault. Right?

CoYo

There is a leisure class at both ends of the economic spectrum.

No one is entitled to vacationing at a ski resort.

Sargent Buffalo Soldier

I concur, there are "pimps," "con-artist" and "hustlers" operating at both ends of the spectrum, however I'd argue the sentiment . . . more people are exploited, gorged and used by the semi-elitist aristocrats than people are physically strong-armed and robbed on the other end - my point the 'Haves" are "cutthroat" Capitalist hiding behind Ivy league credentials - the best of schools and neighborhoods, the best of "this" and "that" - they supposedly have been educated . . . alas enlightened, yet this class inequality is deliberate, strategic and by design, the tier system isn't by-chance nor happenstance. The American worker - from al walks of life are under assault by the heartless Investor Class who flies no flag, has no loyalty, no notion of "I am my brothers keeper," or "TEAM," but instead is driven by greed, greed is good in the small, simple minds of far too many people

McAdams

Your terms "capitalist" and "ivy league" can hardly be used together. It's a well known fact that most if not all colleges, especially ivy league, are bastions of liberal thought and if a conservative graduates from one they've kept it a secret. I'd counter by saying an ivy leaguer would more than likely be a liberal pushing for a socialistic society. If a person like that were to take a trip like this how would you feel then? Don't paint capitalists as the worlds henchmen. I'm sure plenty of liberals can take a vacation such as this. Just pick one from the many in Washington.

RivkaK

Yep. I live south of Denver and can't go on a ski strip. As a disabled veteran, my income is not sufficient. At least I can see the mountains nearly every day due to our great weather, and I relish their beauty.

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