Paying a Hefty Price to Fall Down (aka Snowboarding)

Photo Credit: Sean Molin Photography via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Sean Molin Photography via Compfight cc

The hobbies I have now aren’t really expensive at all. Mostly they deal with crafting of some sort. I paint, do some amateur photography, rollerblade, bike, stitch together cute stuffed animals, and I scrapbook. The priciest one is probably the photography because I shelled out for an SLR camera. I took the logical route and saved up for a year to buy the camera though.

My interest in snowboarding recently got rekindled due to to a long time friend. I was able to take advantage of ski club during middle school and high school to learn to ski and snowboard. Ski club would transport us to the slopes once a week and the one-time price included all lift tickets and rentals. It was the cheapest way to ski or snowboard. Continuing these hobbies would cost quite a bit though. Lift tickets and rentals aren’t cheap. Neither is buying your own equipment.

Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, I fell in love with both skiing and snowboarding. When it comes to sports, I’ve never had the coordination or skill to do well. I wouldn’t say I’m great at either of those snow sports, but I can do decently well enough. To the point where I can stop and turn and go over small jumps! I’ve always wanted to continue and buy my own equipment, but have shelved away that desire since it can cost so much.

What are my options now? Obviously I can’t go out and buy equipment for both skiing and snowboarding. That alone will cost me thousands of dollars! There’s two main areas where I can look into to save money. The ski resort and the equipment itself.

Should I continue an expensive hobby
The very first question I’ll ask myself is if it’s worth it to pursue snowboarding. It’s not going to get cheaper, and it’s always going to take a lot of effort to get to a ski resort. Los Angeles has places to snowboard a few hours away so it wouldn’t be horrible. Can I afford it and do I need to make any sacrifices? Before spending the money, I’m going to need to weigh how much I love the sport versus the financial aspect of it. There’s a lot more money and time involved than crafting hobbies.

Choose which hobby to go with
If only I were a millionaire, I could just go out and buy good equipment for both hobbies. Obviously I am not so the first thing to do is to choose one. Choose the hobby you like best and focus on that. You’ll save money by not having multiple hobbies and you can focus on it more. For me I would choose snowboarding. I was able to go further in skiing than snowboarding and want to continue honing my snowboarding skills. My husband also wants to learn how to snowboard so that can be a hobby we can do together.

Selecting a cost effective ski resort
Ski resorts can vary a bit on the cost of lift tickets and rentals. The smaller ones tend to charge less. The more well known ones like Mammoth can cost a lot. Choosing a cheaper ski resort can definitely help offset costs. When you’re a beginner, a pricey place isn’t a good option. Another thing to keep in mind is distance. Anything within driving distance will be much cheaper. Mammoth requires a plane ticket and cabin rentals which makes it at least a weekend trip.

Buying equipment
Is this something that I will continue doing and justifies buying my own equipment? If I only go once a year, then rentals might be the way to go. I also don’t need brand new shiny equipment either.

First thing is to ask around to see if anyone has any decent old equipment lying around. If it’s still good, offer to give them some money in exchange for it. Buying used equipment from family and friends will be much cheaper than from strangers. Next, try to see if you can buy used. You can look on eBay or craigslist to see what deals are out there. Lastly, buy new equipment after the season is over or before the new season begins. Equipment might be a year old or so, but they don’t change much year to year.

Expensive hobbies like snowboarding can be made as cost effective as possible. I’m still weighing my options and will have to go through the numbers before I spend money on anything.

What kind of expensive hobbies do you have? If it’s snowboarding, do you have any tips for saving money?

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