Skiing needn’t be spendy. Keep these tips under your belt to get a great deal next winter.
When to go and when to book?
The best time to travel if you want to bag a bargain break is in January, when all our holidays are on sale and we’ve had the least amount of time to sell them. And as a general tip, if you’re looking for value, the school holidays are best avoided.
But if you’re heading to the mountains as a family, you might need to travel in the holidays. Fret not – there are still cheaper weeks. Christmas and Easter typically cost less than half term as they’re closer to the beginning and end of the season. Whichever you choose, it’s best to book early – even up to a year before your holiday – as there won’t be many last-minute deals over these dates and booking early means you can get the resort and accommodation that are exactly right for your family.
Want to stay in a whole chalet as a group? It’s best to book as early as you can, because there are only so many chalets that can be booked as a whole. When travelling as a group of ten or more people, you can get some great discounts. And the more of you that travel together, the better the saving.
Where to go?
Another great tip for budget skiing is to try a new country. Slovenia, Bulgaria and Andorra are all great options and their slopes are typically quieter than in the big-name French ski areas. Bulgarian resorts all buzz with action from sunrise to sunset and you’ll be paying a lot less than you’d pay elsewhere for top quality accommodation. Andorra’s known for really high standard of ski and board tuition, and some very healthy après scenes, particularly in Pas de la Casa and Arinsal – plus there’s low-tax shopping in resort too.
Flights, hotel rooms and lift passes work on a tiered pricing system in Canada and USA, so the earlier you book, the bigger the discount. These deals phase out through late summer and into the autumn, by which point you’ll be paying full price for each element of your holiday. So if you want to ski in North America, plan smart, book as early as possible and you’ll usually pay less.
Catered or self-catered?
Self-catering is an easy way of sticking to your budget, particularly if you’re travelling as a group or a family. Andorra has a lot of basic apartments; larger, more luxurious condos are very popular in North American resorts; and France runs the gamut from cheap and cheerful right up to high-end, ski-in villages with spas.
You can buy in your breakfasts and lunch supplies, then keep dinner costs down by cooking at home. What’s more, you’re not all stuck in your rooms in the evenings – throw on a film for the kids or make your own fun with board games and beers from the fridge to make it a real home from home.
If value for you means paying up front – and paying across a number of months – consider a catered chalet. Your breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals will be taken care of, leaving you to relax and enjoy the delicious food and free-flowing wine until coffee is served. Paying for this as part of your initial holiday cost means you can get away with spending very little while you’re away, especially if you’re happy to stay in rather than hitting the bars.
Getting your ski essentials.
Something every skier needs is a lift pass, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for deals. Many resorts across Bulgaria, Finland, France and Norway come with 2-for-1 lift passes for departure dates in January and March. And for the kids, Rauris in Austria and some Andorran resorts don’t charge for kids’ lift passes. Look out for special offers like this on our resort pages. You’ll occasionally find lift passes that are included in the price of the holiday too, cutting your overall costs considerably.
You can also look out for our ski bundles, which is where we package together a lift pass, equipment hire and tuition, working out cheaper than buying them individually.
Gear you’ll need
Kitting up with the latest ski gear can definitely bump up holiday costs. For a once-a-year ski trip, it’s worth trying to borrow or hire as much as you can, especially for kids – ask family and friends if they’ve got a helmet, jacket or ski goggles they can lend you.
If you have to buy some bits, check out the high street discount stores for some great offers or look at outlet websites and online market places – good for picking up last season’s quality kit at rock bottom prices.
Ready to find your winter holiday? Get online and see all the great deals on offer.