Eldora A skier enjoys the sun while riding a lift at Eldora Mountain near Boulder. Smaller ski areas offer less-expensive alternative to major resorts.

Save money skiing by hitting the slopes with a friend, packing your own lunch, buying used gear, and more.

You hear it all the time from non-skiers, ex-skiers and would-be skiers: “Skiing is too expensive.”

It’s true, skiing can be expensive. If you take a flight into Aspen, book a slopeside condo, rent skis, pay for a lesson and buy the family lunch at the on-mountain restaurant you can drop thousands of dollars before you’ve even mastered parallel turns.

But skiing also can be surprisingly affordable. Just ask the ski bums of the world who ride every day but only earn minimum wage washing dishes by night — if they have a job at all.

From a ski bum who regularly hits 100 days on the slopes but hasn’t had a job in years, here are some tips to have a great season without taking out a second mortgage. You’ll sacrifice convenience to save a few bucks, but powder days are so worth it.

 Check out all the tips at TheKnow.DenverPost.com