Hitting the slopes without breaking the bank
With winter well underway, many people look forward to recreational opportunities involving the snow, cold and ice.
However, many who would like to get into sports like skiing and snowboarding feel unable to expand their opportunities because of the cost associated with the sports.
Advertisements on the television and radio announce discount ski passes at area resorts. But unless they have a few bucks to shell out and proper equipment, many feel that the sports are out of their league.
But unknown to many, opportunities to take part in winter sports are available for much smaller costs.
|Snowboarding is most popular among younger crowds. While initial costs can be high, many new to the sport cut corners by picking up used equipment and looking for sales.|
Better known for their summer recreation programs, Carbon County Recreation sponsors a number of classes and adventures that may help the novice get some basic training and experience in a particular winter sport.
Before the end of February, the county will host adventure outings for snowshoers, ice skaters, snowmobilers and winter backpackers.
And when equipment becomes an issue, the county recreation department has a selection of winter sports equipment available.
But Carbon County Recreation is not the only avenue for winter sports enthusiasts.
Many local skiers and snowboarders have discovered that it is not always necessary to go to the commercial ski resorts for a downhill rush.
Many find a group of friends and head up canyons in the area.
A local favorite, Huntington Canyon is a short drive when compared with the commute to the Wasatch Front.
|Though the walk to the top of the hill may be long, many skiers head to areas other than commercial resorts saving money that would be spent on lift passes. All skiers, especially those heading into the backcountry are encouraged to get proper avalanche training and carry avalanche beacons.|
Skiers, snowmobilers, snowboarders and snowshoers are common sights in Huntington Canyon well into the spring.
While renting from the county may be a good way to get started, an addicted enthusiast will want to get out into the white stuff more often.
But that doesn't have to cost a lot. Heading out to a retail sporting goods store, many find the prices a little high for their taste.
Take snowboarding for example. A standard snowboard with soft bindings costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $400. The boots are an additional $200, goggles are $100 and a good pair of gloves will start around $100.
Pants range from $100 to $250. A jacket will be somewhere between $150 and $300. Add in synthetic socks and underwear, and the price tag is looking to be well above $1,000.
|With a slightly lower startup cost, snowshoeing is an activity that may appeal to a broader spectrum of winter sports enthusiasts. Carbon County Recreation hosts snowshoeing adventures early each winter, giving opportunities for those who would like to get started in this winter sport.|
And for someone just getting into a sport, shelling out that kind of cold cash may seem unreasonable.
Enter thrift stores and online discount retailers. As long as it's structurally sound, a used snowboard can carve into a hillside just like one fresh out of the package.
And after the first year of getting by with an old coat and borrowed goggles, many hit the sales at the end of the season when retailers sharply cut costs to clear inventory.
Over time, many enthusiasts find themselves spending more on sports they enjoy, but getting started with a local recreation program and heading out with a group of friends can give people new to a sport the exposure they need to determine if it's something they want to pursue.