Heading for the slopes can be an expensive business and the cost of flights, equipment hire, travel insurance and accommodation is rising every year.
Here are some ways to cut the costs of a holiday in the snow and make it an affordable option for holiday makers with a limited budget, whilst even those who can afford to splash out will benefit from a few simple methods to save money while enjoying the mountains.
It might seem a no-brainer to go for a budget airline like Ryanair or EasyJet when you are booking up your flights. Once extras like baggage and ski carriage charges are added in, though, it can work out cheaper to take an all-inclusive flight from BA or Swiss Air. Taking the car is often an even cheaper option for families and gives you the chance to stock up at supermarkets if you are self-catering. Another money-saving travel choice is the overnight snow train from St Pancras, which will also give you added time on the slopes instead of using up a day travelling. Another great way to save on international travel costs, particularly if you live in the north of England, is to pick a Scottish ski resort.
If you aren’t part of a large group, getting together with another family to share a large self-catering apartment or chalet will make big savings, with lower ‘per bed’ costs. Pick accommodation on the outskirts of the resort, too, as a central location usually charges a premium. Extras like private hot tubs and swimming pools might sound nice but often end up under-used; if you really want luxuries like these, it’s far more cost-effective to choose a big resort which offers them as public facilities. Larger resorts will also give more choice of budget restaurants and bars, while smaller resorts often limit you to more exclusive, expensive eating and drinking options.
Lessons and lift passes
If you are novice or beginner, choosing a destination known for world-class, challenging skiing is a waste of money and you will have just as much fun at a lesser-known, cheaper resort. These will also be quieter and far less intimidating than resorts that attract highly-skilled skiers. If you need lessons, always go for group lessons as these are much cheaper than private ones. If you are an intermediate skier, take advantage of the free introduction to the slopes given by the resort’s ski hosts, which is as useful as a paid-for lesson. People are often tempted to buy a six-day lift pass that covers a large area of several resorts. Save money by getting a cheaper one-resort lift pass, with a one-day extension if and when you want to ski at another resort.