Anthony and I skied together a lot when we were first dating and living in Germany. When we moved back to the states, I skied a lot the first winter I was here, having gotten a job at one of the local ski resorts. Then I was in school and was poor. Then Anthony was in school and were were even poorer. Skiing was out. It was even more out once Davan came along.
However, when Davan was five, we decided to introduce her to the thrills of skiing. It went pretty well and we skied a lot over the next five years. We did a variety of pass options and got screaming deals on gear for Davan (and Max when he was here), keeping the costs down to just expensive. Each year, it was Anthony's and my Christmas present to each other to get passes.
Last year, we decided to take a year off. Davan was getting done with skiing earlier and earlier in the season and getting more picky about what sort of weather she was willing to ski in. Anthony had a year or two that he didn't get his money's worth out of his pass. We figured, we'll take a year off, save a little money, then everyone will be excited to ski again.
This year, as the ski season approached, we started discussing options. Do we want to ski this year? Do we want to buy passes? Which passes at which resort, if so? Davan had definitely outgrown her ski boots, but could we stretch her skis for another year? We nearly bought midweek passes at Timberline, which is about the cheapest option possible, but we finally came to a different decision and here it is. This will shock and astound you, but here it goes:
Skiing is a rich man's sport and we're not rich.
Yup. We managed it for a good run by not having vacations or Christmas presents, but, even with passes that cost a total of $600 for all three of us, it's a lot of money to ski. Gear needs to be replaced occasionally, especially for the growing one, and it's not cheap, either. We may come back to skiing again sometime, perhaps when Davan is a teenager and super gung ho to go (she's into it now, just not overwhelmingly so) or perhaps when Davan moves out and we have more play in the budget.
For now, though, we all still wanted a way to go be in the snow. Yeah, there's sledding and that's fine, but Anthony and I were looking for something else. We started talking snowshoeing vrs cross country skiing. Both are activities where, after an initial investment, you can go for free. Sure, you can pay to cross country ski on groomed tracks, but you don't have to go that route and, even if you do, it's a lot cheaper than downhill.
We have a trip coming up that will require us to have one or the other for three days. We looked into rental costs...to rent snowshoes for three days would cost us a little over half the price of buying snowshoes. Well. Gee. Cross country skis are a lot more expensive to gear up for and requires more skill. I'm not adverse to the whole skill acquisition thing, but Davan has to be able to do the activity for two miles next week. Not to mention that there is still the whole gear replacement cost for Davan as she grows.
We starting thinking snowshoes were the way to go. We discovered that the same snowshoes I was thinking of for myself would work for Davan. We should never have to replace them for her as she grows because of that. Who-hoo! We plunked down the cash for three sets of snowshoes, nearly the cheapest that REI carries, totaling less than half what we'd have paid for ski passes.
Davan and I went out for a trial run today. It was fun. Hard work, yes, but fun. Davan loves being in the snow and might like snowshoeing better than skiing, it seems. There was more time to just fall over and play in the snow than when we ski, I guess. The snowshoes work fine and the learning curve was easy. We're all set for our trip next week.
I'm happy about our choice and I'm looking forward to a lot of snowshoeing this winter!