Skiing can be one of the most liberating, adrenalin fused holidays you will go on. As you take your leap of faith from the top of the slope, your destiny is in your hands. One wrong twist of the skis or an unknown object in your path and it can turn messy quick.
But for the hardened ski junkie, this is what it’s all about: that surge of adrenalin and the excitement of what might happen. That feeling of relief mixed with achievement and power when you have reached the bottom, making you feel like you could conquer anything.
The dazzling beauty of your surroundings is also a big draw. The crisp white sheets of snow, reflecting the sun off the glorious mountain ranges, is like something off of a Christmas card. Once you experience all this, you usually become a ski lover for life. No other holiday will ever compare. But how do you get your snow fix without breaking the bank?
Ski holidays are traditionally pretty expensive, with so many things to factor in. It’s not just about booking a plane ticket and a room. You need equipment, ski passes, insurance and lessons to name just a few.
Don’t let your dream of a ski holiday fade just yet though, there are ways to cut the expenses and make it a lot more affordable.
Choose a DIY Trip over a Ski Package
It can be a little more hassle to put together your own ski trip, but it will definitely save you some money in the long run. A package deal will not make saving pennies a priority and tend to offer you expensive accommodation, plus plenty of add ons you don’t really need. Organising your own trip will take a bit of time, but you can search for the cheapest rooms and the cheapest air fare.
Try our self catering ski apartment page, it has 10,000’s of apartments to choose from!
Which Areas are Cheapest to Ski?
Where you choose as your ski destination will have a huge impact on how much you spend. If you are not too fussy about this, you can get some really good deals.
Eastern European destinations like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania offer some great bargains. Livigno in Italy, Spain and Andorra are superb value for money. Slovakia and Slovenia are also on the map of worthy but economical places to have your ski time.
When to Ski?
Christmas, New Year and school holidays should be avoided like the plague if you want a ski bargain. They are the most expensive times and the most overcrowded, no better way to kill your pocket and your relaxed ski vibe.
Aim to go in the early season (before Christmas) or the later season (mid to late March). The main reason for these times being cheaper is that snow conditions can be more un-settled, therefore more of a risk. Make sure you do your homework though, and choose a resort that is higher up, or quite far North, then conditions become less of a risk.
We recommend also the first couple of weeks in January for the 3 Valleys as the pistes are empty and like this year there is often a good dump of snow!
How to Get to the Resort?
Don’t always think you have to fly into the major airport closest to your chosen ski resort. Many resorts will have two or three airports within a three hour drive. It’s very likely you might find a better deal flying into one of these.
For the 3 valleys there are 4 international airports within (or very close too) 2 hours: Geneva, Grenoble, Lyon and Chambery.
Travelling to the 3 Valleys by plane
If you can be flexible about when you fly – this will sometimes save a great deal. Weekdays, usually at the start of the week, tend to offer the best savings.
Where to Stay?
If you want to save some much needed cash then self-catering is the way to go. Even after factoring in food as well, it will usually be the cheaper option.
Do remember to book early as the cheaper options will sell out first. You might also get a discount for booking early; make sure you check out any deals your potential resort might offer.
If you do self-cater, remember to stock up on goods before you hit your resort. Prices at the on-site hypermarkets can be painstakingly high and undo all that thrifty planning you have just done.
Some great information on where to buy your food before heading up the mountain can be found on our:
Travelling to the 3 Valleys by Car page
Other options are finding a hostel, UCPA or using Airbnb if you don’t mind sharing. Some hostels in France offer full holidays with all the ski arrangements made from tuition to ski passes, all at a fraction of the price.
So a ski holiday doesn’t have to suck you dry every year, leaving you no cash for anything else. With a little planning and choosing the right area, transport, accommodation option and time of year, it can be an affordable getaway without scrimping on any of the fun.