Booking a ski or snowboard holiday does not have to cause a blizzard in your bank account, here are nine ways you can cut costs on the slopes
A ski or snowboard holiday is a brilliant way to capitalise on the cold winter weather, as long as you can manage the costs and don’t let your finance freezes you out. Here are some ways you can save money during your ski trip.
1. Decide whether you should buy or hire gear
The argument of whether you should buy or rent skis has been going on forever and it is likely to continue. Generally speaking, hiring ski equipment works out to be cheaper if you have to travel to the ski resort by air, meaning you don’t have to pay for extra luggage.
Having said that, if you are a seasoned skier with a few hundred miles of pistes under your belt, you may consider buying a pair of boots. Doing this may save you some money, and you know for certain that you will have a pair of boots that fit you comfortably.
Rental also means choices. You can review and pre-book your ski equipment online via one of the major rental sites (like skiset.co.uk), or you can visit the rental shops around the ski resort you are visiting and choose the rental in person.
Quite a few ski resorts also have attractive deals that combine lift tickets, lodging and equipment rental – some of them can guarantee you the lowest rates if you book well in advance.
2. Make your own sandwiches
Renting a self-catering apartment and stopping at a local supermarket before arriving at your accommodation can save you a significant amount of money.
Preparing delicious sandwiches in the morning is easy. Many ski lodges also provide picnic areas with fireplaces and even microwaves – so, you won’t have to scarf down sandwiches in the freezing cold. Another useful tip is to go easy on the après ski.
3. Share a room
From Les Deux Alpes in France to Zermatt in Switzerland, ski hostels in Europe are hip, friendly and easy on the budget. Many hostels also provide free ski bus, breakfast buffet, and free Wi-Fi.
After a day of skiing, there is usually an evening of music and dancing, or hanging out by the fireplace swapping stories. In the process, you make new friends, develop a deeper bond with old friends, and create happy memories.
4. Check lift passes before you buy
Some resorts do not charge for lifts to the novice slopes. So if you are new to skiing and planning to stick to the green runs, read the fine print before shelling out money for a lift pass. However, if your resort does require lift passes for all ages and skill levels, check for packages that include the pass in the overall resort price.
5. Choose a cheaper destination
Ski resorts in Bulgaria and Poland have a strong reputation for being highly affordable, but there are plenty of small ski resorts in other parts of Europe offering attractive deals too. A few of our firm favourites are:
6. Book an all-inclusive package
If you want to save money without sacrificing comfort, an all-inclusive trip could be your best choice. While it may seem expensive upfront, you will spend next to nothing during your stay.
ClubMed.co.uk is a popular site offering quality packages to the Alps. Their hotels usually have an indoor pool and a wellness spa for you to relax and enjoy in the evening.
7. Book in advance… or last minute
Booking early will certainly reward you. However, if you are booking a spontaneous ski trip, do it at the last minute often gives you the best deals.
You are advised to look around before booking. There are websites which list the same deal for a specific month and also tag it as a ‘last-minute’ deal. There are also websites advertising great prices, but the skiing date is actually in April when the season is almost over.
8. Travel off-season
Skiing in late March or early April (off-season) can definitely save you some money; the trick is to know where to go. For readers in America, Aspen in Colorado and Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor in Oregon are top destinations. In Europe, Levi in Finland, Åre in Sweden, Obergurgl in Austria, St Anton am Arlberg in Austria, Saas-Fee in Switzerland are all good choices.
9. Take a coach
Taking a coach is usually cheaper than flying, not to mention sometimes it can be faster than going through airport security and waiting for transfer at the other end.
If you travel in a group of four, driving can be a good alternative too. While driving is more expensive than taking a coach, you can pack in as much food, drinks and ski equipment that you want.
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This article was first published on 30-Sep-2008 and updated on 22-Jan-2020.