Meagre but Eager: How to save BIG on Mount Hotham Lift Tickets

Holy freaking snow balls! The season has officially opened in Australia and while we may not be knee deep just yet, it’s wonderful knowing we are one day closer to our first chairlift of the season….whenever that may be for each of us.

While my enthusiasm is beyond measure, sadly my bank account is working against me this year. I had left my last job in January, earlier this year, because in the lead up to my End of Probation Review, I came to the unfortunate realisation that (a) I do not believe the company I was working for would be able to deliver any future promise, (b) that after seven odd years, I might not be destined for the insurance industry after all. (Big shock there, eh? I mean…who is???).

So with very, very, very limited funds left and only the promise of a tax return keeping me afloat, I realised that if I am to make it to the snow this year I'm going to have to get smart about it. Because snow riding is a 'want' for me, it is a physical, psychological and genuine emotional 'need' for me.

Will work for Snow. Literally.

My Mt Hotham Money Saving Method

They say if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it actually make a sound? Well, I ask you, if there’s snow in the mountains and I’m not there to ride it. can I actually call it a season? With the threat of not being able to fund the upcoming season, I’ve had to get smart about costs and what I’ve come up with so far is juicy JUCY!

JUCY have what appears to be an annual promotion called SKI4FREE. To sum it up, they are offering free lift passes for up to SIX consecutive days for Mount Hotham Alpine Resort in Australia and Treble Cone in New Zealand.

Are you thinking: That sounds to good to be true, or are you asking: What’s the catch?

To the best of my knowledge there isn’t one or at least there isn’t one in my opinion. I’ve read through the SKI4FREE terms and conditions, and have gone through the booking process right up until it asked for my credit card details. Overall the terms & conditions seem reasonable and fair, but don’t take my word for it, check out out the SKI4FREE terms and conditions for yourself and feel free to tell me what you think of them.

After I shared the JUCY SKI4FREE promotion with my friends, we were all eager to head to Hotham this year and take advantage of the possible savings. The problem that then presented itself was that the SKI4FREE deal requires two people to pick up the car. So between the two of us we would have to decide who gets the savings? Do we split it equally? Or does it go to the most cash-strapped of the group?

Well, because we were leaning toward splitting the savings equally and I really wanted to have my cake and eat it too, I came up with a plan.

The Plan

  1. I will book and pay for the cheapest JUCY car available, and I will not choose to lower the insurance excess.

  2. I will ask a friend who is not interested in skiing or snowboarding to come with me to pick up said rental car.

  3. We will then drive the car to my house and secure it safely in my driveway for the duration of the snow trip….

  4. The others that will be joining on this snow trip will each book and pay for the cheapest JUCY Car available;

  5. They will ask separate friends that are not interested in skiing or snowboard to go with them to pick up their rental cars;

  6. They will each drive their cars home and safely secure them in their respective driveways, garages, etc for the duration of the snow trip.

  7. We will all pile into my own car (for which I already own snow chains for) and drive to the snow!

  8. We will only pay for petrol and parking permits for one car. 

  9. Revel in the savings galore!

The view from Frosty Drop, Mount Hotham

The Math

So, assuming you’re cool with the T&C’s, let’s break down the potential savings. Because I am a bit of a nerd and made a living on data analysis and crunching numbers, I have set out the potential savings which are based on when you would have booked your lift tickets. I have also added an additional day to the start and end of the rental period which is for picking up and dropping off the car. If you don't mind sticking to a strict deadline, you could possibly squeeze the rental period, but for the sake of showing the most conservative savings I've set it so that if you’re renting a car for 3 three days if you're planning on riding for one day. Capish?

Here we go:

**UPDATED 28 July 2018: The Jucy SKIFORFREE Deal is very much still available, and I've updated the pricing and estimated savings based on 2018 pricing. **

Pricing for a 1 Day Lift Pass.

Scenario 1: If you purchase your lift ticket over 3 days in advance:

1 Day Lift Pass: $126

Jucy Car Rental: $96 (for their cheapest car I found that's costs $32 a day)

Savings of $30

Scenario 2: If you purchase your lift tickets between 0 to 2 days in advance.

1 Day Lift Pass: $133

Jucy Car Rental: $96

Savings of $37

Pricing for a Weekend Lift Pass.

Scenario 1: If you purchase your lift ticket over 14 days in advance:

1 Day Lift Pass: $199

Jucy Car Rental: $128 (for their cheapest car I found that's costs $32 a day)

Savings of $71

Scenario 2: If you purchase your lift tickets over the counter or between 0-13 days.

1 Day Lift Pass: $234

Jucy Car Rental: $128

Savings of $106

Now this isn't the only way to save when you are planning a snow trip to Mount Hotham. They do have other deals which will change up the savings. Visit the Mount Hotham website to check out all their other deals.

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Once upon a time I called myself a Weekend-Warrior, I'm hoping to earn that title back. 

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