Skiing is expensive; the flights, accommodation, lift passes, lessons. Costs can quickly mount up – and that’s before we even get onto the après-ski! Stop them getting out of hand with our top tips for saving on this season’s ski holiday.
Bed down somewhere budget
It may seem obvious, but one of the easiest ways to save is to choose your accommodation with a realistic budget firmly in mind. You’ll be out on those slopes all day and enjoying the après-ski at night, so why spend a fortune on your accommodation? Stay in a hostel instead of a hotel and you’ll pay a lot less for your bed. Even in pricey resorts such as Chamonix there are hostels with dorm beds for less than £15 a night, including breakfast – Gîte Le Vagabond is just one popular low cost option, just a 15 minute walk from the slopes with bunks starting at €21 a night.
Book a satellite resort
It’s amazing how much difference a couple of miles can make. Satellite resorts often offer better value for money, both on accommodation and après-ski, and you’ll still have access to those famous slopes. Try La Chable instead of Verbier, Cervinia instead of Zermatt, Osiers rather than the 3 Vallees. Check out our list of alternative ski destinations for some more money saving ski resort ideas.
Borrow, beg and buy second-hand
Kitting yourself out with all new ski gear doesn’t come cheap. Instead ask around friends and family and borrow any clothing that you can, especially for children, who will grow out of those salopettes by next year anyway. Charity and vintage shops can also be great places to pick up unloved ski jackets and accessories – find out where to get your retro ski look here with our list of the UK’s best vintage shops. Want something new? Don’t splash out on top brands, especially if you’re a first timer and aren’t sure you’ll be skiing regularly. Try TK Maxx, Mountain Warehouse and Decathlon for good value basics and money saving offers, especially at the end of the ski season when they will be looking to shift last season’s stock. This is also the time for regular skiers to pick up cut-price boots, saving on hire costs for future seasons.
Pack a lunch
Restaurants on the slopes can charge whatever they like because they know they’ve got you over a barrel. But have they? Swerve them altogether by putting together a picnic and finding your own lunch spot away from the crowds. Many villages, especially in France, will have a market where you can stock up with local produce such as ham, cheese and freshly baked bread – make this your first port of call on arrival and you’ll not only save a fortune but you’ll have a far more interesting lunch to boot.
Get free ski lessons
Ski lessons are important but pretty dear, especially if you only want to attend a couple to get your confidence or find your winter legs after a break from the sport. Neilson – activity holiday specialists – have launched a new ‘Mountain Experts’ package for the 2015-16 ski season, which includes complimentary coaching and guiding. So you won’t need to pay extra for lessons, and you’ll be able to jump the lift queues too. This service is available for guests who have booked through Neilson and are visiting selected resorts in Andorra, Austria, France and Italy – check their website for more information.
Set up a Skyscanner price alert and found the cheapest flight? It pays to check the baggage policy. Many of the cheaper airlines will charge you extra for your skis, making the end cost higher than it could have been with a scheduled airline. Airlines that charge extra include Ryanair and easyJet; those that don’t include British Airways, Swiss and Air France. Get the full story on airline ski fees and find out how much you could save here.
Shave days off your ski pass
Every day you can shave off your ski pass saves you money, so look into your options. If your resort allows you to use the nursery drag lifts for free, beginners won’t need a pass for the first day or two. Another cost saving tip is to go cross country: these routes are often free so a day spent on these not only gives you a change of scene but change back in your pocket too.
Or get a season pass
If you plan to ski three or more times in one area this winter consider booking a season pass. In Chamonix you’ll pay €716 for the whole season if you book by the end of November, rather than €246 for six days, while a season pass for Cairngorm Mountain is just £435 and gets you 10% off catering and retail too, as well as tickets for family and friends.
Have a lie-in
Most people want to ski in the mornings, meaning lessons first thing are the most popular. Ski schools have cottoned on to this and often charge more for the morning slots: book for the afternoon and you’ll save a few euros as well as avoiding the morning crowds.
Take the grandparents
If you’re taking the kids skiing you might be considering using a pricey in-resort babysitter for those days when you want to hit the more advanced slopes, or the après-ski. But what if you brought your own childcare? Consider booking larger accommodation and bringing the grandparents, especially if they don’t ski. They get a free holiday, you get free childcare. Not to mention the extra family time.
For more tips and inspiration for ski trips, check these out:
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