Is it cheaper to surf the lakes, snowboard or golf in Ontario?

Is it cheaper to surf the lakes, snowboard or golf in Ontario?

The ski and snowboard season is well underway and that has brought up the age old question - how much more does it cost to hit the slopes in the winter versus surfing in Ontario? Surfing is free right? Lift ticket prices are outrageous!

Curiosity got the best of me so I decided to put the numbers and analysis to the test. I created a cost analysis of surfing versus skiing and snowboarding (slopes) and  added in golfing as a comparable too as it's an individual pursuit with fees per play.

I broke it down into start up costs, participation costs and costs over 12 years. The costs include most major expenses to participate in your chosen activity. I added variants of owning a single board against owning multiple boards over 12 years.

Finally, I compared surfing versus the combination of participating on the slopes and at the golf course. In this comparison I doubled the surf sessions to equal the amount of days that would be combined with the slopes and golf rounds.

By no means is this the perfect analysis and I'm sure there are some errors in my assumption but the results should be close enough and I think some of the numbers may surprise us all.

Thanks for reading and get out there!


Below I've summarized the main findings and included all the numbers to back up the hypothetical data.

After the graphs you'll find all assumptions for costs such as: equipment, travel costs, inflation, maintenance, lift tickets and green fees.

To have a Multi-Board quiver over 12 years:

Golfing will cost you just over $25,000 ($2,100 annually) and Snowboarding will cost you about $21,000 ($1,700 annually) more than it would to surf here in Ontario.

The combination of playing golf AND hitting the slopes versus Surfing with a multi board quiver will cost you almost $55,000 more over 12 years or $4,500 more annually.

To use One Board over 12 years:

Golfing will cost you just about $27,000 ($2,200 annually) and Snowboarding will cost you about $22,000 ($1,800 annually) more than it would to surf here in Ontario.

To play golf AND hit the slopes versus Surfing with one board will cost you just over $53,000 more over 12 years or $4,400 more annually.

The annual cost of Lake Surfing with a Multi-Board quiver in Ontario is $1,736 less than snowboarding and $2,123 less than golfing. See the chart below.

Two Remarkable Facts:

  1. Doubling your surf time only adds about $1,250 in cost per year.
  2. The cost of have an additional 3 surfboards and 2 additional wetsuits is only $362 per year.

*You'll find all the supporting numbers at the bottom of the blog.

General Notes and Assumptions:

  • Prices are adjusted for inflation at 2% annually
  • The average annual cost of owning a vehicle in Ontario is roughly $10,000
  • Lift ticket quantity of 25 assumes about one session per week from December to April
  • Green fee quantity of 25 assumes about one round per week from May to the end of October
  • Surf gas fee assumes 25 sessions from September to April to match the Slopes and Golf quantities
  • Gas fee of $50 per surf, golf round or snow session is estimated and could widely vary. If you're from the GTA, on average you're driving a fair distance to the surf or slopes. For golf, you may play some courses out of town as well. For the sake of argument I made it equal
  • Green fees and lift ticket prices are about average and not the low end prices which you might pay for night skiing, twilight golf fees, season passes or shoulder season rates. For the sake of argument it's roughly an average pass rate in Ontario

Equipment Price Assumptions:

  • Surf cost of a wetsuit, boots and gloves includes two of each product: a winter wetsuit setup and a spring or fall wetsuit setup. This is all included in the surfboard start up cost plus a surfboard
  • Bag prices assume day use not travel
  • Maintenance also accounts for some surfboard and wetsuit depreciation. This cost line is the most highly variable
  • Start up costs assume one will purchase all equipment needed for each activity and are serious about participating for the full season 
  • Costs = Investment into your health and wellness

One Board Notes:

  • Assumes one board/set of clubs but a second wetsuit/snowsuit/golf gear set over 12 years so it is more realistic

Multi-Board Notes:

  • Accounts for having 4 surfboards, 3 snowboards, and 2 sets of golf clubs over 12 years. Note: the golf clubs cost may be an upgrade of irons, drivers, a new putter or a new driver
  • The 4 surfboards and 3 snowboards accumulated over 12 years are considered quiver development and wouldn't be for resale
  • For the sake of the analysis, the original set of golf clubs resale price is fairly negligible and the clubs are assumed not to be sold but gifted to a next generation golfer
  • Maintenance is roughly three times higher in the multi-board cost line versus the single board

Start Up Costs.

Quiver Basics Costs Surf

Quiver Basics Costs Slopes

Quiver Basics Costs Golf

 One Board Over 12 Years Costs Surf

One Board/Set of Skis Over 12 Years Costs Slopes

One Set Over 12 Years Costs Golf

 Quiver Combination Golf and Slopes Combined

Quiver Combination Double Surfing Time

Analysis of Multi-Board and One Board Golf and Slopes Combined Versus Surf Multi Board and Surf One Board

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