Skiing holidays are expensive. Fact.
Or is it that black and white? While a ski holiday is never going to be as cheap as an all inclusive Lanzarote break, there are ways of cutting costs on the slopes that might mean you might be tackling a black run sooner than you think. Here’s how we think you could save money on your next skiing sojourn.
Image by girolame
Before your holiday
Buy your kit in the UK – you can get some seriously cheap deals at shops like Uniqlo and Matalan on ski jackets, thermals and fleeces. Otherwise, why not ask around friends and family to see if you could borrow some?
Repeat after me:
travel insurance, travel insurance, travel insurance. Not only do many resorts require proof before you can buy a ski pass, but if you have an accident on the mountain, you can expect to pay anywhere between £4,000 and £6,000 for an air ambulance – and a whole lot more to fix the pulverized limb in question. Save yourself hassle and money – get it before you go.
Going to the French Alps? Members of the Ski Club Of Great Britain (£85 for families, £20 for those under 24 and £55 for singles) can save £70 on the Eurostar Ski Train to the French Alps (making a ticket cost from £120) as well as other discounts.
Image by frozenchipmunk
Go East: Studies unanimously show that Eastern European countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia are the best-value destinations. Ski and boot hire, lift passes and even that all important apres-ski food and drink are on average £100 cheaper per person than in, for example, Italy. If you want to stay in Western Europe, resorts in the Italian Dolomites and the Pyrenees are generally cheaper than the Alps.
A great way to find the cheapest resorts is to look at lesser-known neighbours – for example Nendaz, which is near to glamourous ski spot Verbier.
Image by Nikki Varkivisser
The most thrifty way for a family or group to travel is by ferry – you can get a SeaFrance crossing from £19 per car each way.
The ‘Snow Express’ coach service to the Alps costs £135 per person, which can be more expensive than flying, but the price stays the same at peak times such as half-term, Easter and Christmas/New Year and won’t suddenly shoot up – it’s worth considering if you want to travel at these times, or you’ve left it late to book your flights.
If you’re taking your own equipment and want to fly, its worth bearing in mind that Swiss, new airline Baboo and Air France carry skis or boards for free! You’ll find fairly hefty charges from other airlines that could put a serious dent into your Gluhwein fund!
Image by Zach Dischner
When to go
Low-season prices apply for a week in December and the last weeks of April – but make sure you have a snow guarantee. January and late March are midseason, while Christmas, Easter and February half-term are by far the most expensive – expect to pay double the low season price!
Image by Planetlime
Keep an eye on…
Transfers. It’s worth going for a deal that includes your transfers, as the extra cost from the airport can sometimes be high.
You don’t need to eat in the pricey mountain restaurants all the time! Eateries in the valley can be a lot cheaper.