Posts Tagged ‘Car-pooling’

The Snowman Cometh

If you can see wood on the base - aviod.

If you can see wood on the base - aviod.

Winter is well and truly here and that means alpine sports with days of skiing and nights of drinking après ski style.   Drinking is vital to mask the pain caused by the day’s efforts on the ski-field with the added benefit of numbing the shock of how much it costs to beat your-self up on the slopes.

Don’t get me wrong I love skiing and the mountains, but breaking the costs down for petrol (Gas), accommodation, food, lift passes, ski hire and drinking,  it becomes a daunting financial undertaking.   But this year I can hold off on the second mortgage to fund my snow habit.

The petrol issue is solved by car pooling with friends.   As yet none of my friends own hybrid or bio-fuel vehicles, so car pooling is still the most environmentally and cost effective way of making the four hour trip.  Knowing people who live near the mountains is one way to save on where to stay, but if you don’t know any mountain folk there’s the shared accommodation option.  This option can be a fun ‘character building’ way of saving – especially sharing one bathroom with three others and one is ‘poop-shy.’ (See definition link)

Ski-hire is where I’ve discovered the best way to save some coin.  The recycling centre has an abundance of sports equipment including skiing gear. The trick is to keep an eye on what’s available throughout the year.  Some people regulary upgrade skis, dispose of  previous season’s kit, or break a bone and give up the love affair with skiing all together. These are the bargins to keep an eye open for.

The recycling centre provides an abundance of slightly dated, but useable equipment.  I have brought a full range of Skis, Boots and Poles for $30 dollars – less than the lowest ski-hire rate of $38 for an adult, for one day.

With hired equipment there is no telling how many people have used and abused the equipment before you and trust me – I worked for a season in ski-hire so I know the state some kit gets returned in. With used gear comes the reassurance that if you damage, lose, bend, break or run over your skis in the car park, it hasn’t broken the bank.

And at the end of the day they are your skis to own, so if you can wax and tune your ski’s there’s little else throughout the year needs doing to maintaining them.In my searching I’ve also spotted  associated skiing teams such as ski racks and snow chains for the car, which are an additional hire expense that can be avioded if you find the right ones for your vehicle.

Beware a apres ski, beer and a high-fibre diet.

Beware a apres ski, beer and a high-fibre diet.

That just leaves the Après Ski drinking to worry about, but there are some things you shouldn’t skimp on – epically since one of them is a recognised means of muscle pain relief, and in the right doses it will numb most senses.

How to spot good skiing equipment.

  • Ski’s must have a good resistance to flexing and bending, i.e. stiffness.
  • There are no visible deep gouges to the base or tops the skis. – If you think you can see any wood showing or the metal ‘edge’ has been detached it’s definitely no good.
  • Check the bindings appear in reasonable condition, can open and close freely with no rust or cracks.
  • Check that the height of the ski is right for you. – Learners need a shorter ski.
  • Boots need to be in a tidy condition and all buckles are present and working. – Use a disinfectant spray on the insides first for hygene reasons
  • With poles the straighter the better, make sure they are not bent, and have a strap, handle and basket on the base. These can be repainted if chipped if you want them to look tidy.
  • Chains must fit your car wheel size and come with all hooks and attachments to secure them safely. Same goes for car ski-racks, so if in doubt don’t buy it.

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