The short answer is YES!
Ski holidays are normally considered to be a very costly adventure. Especially if you are going as a family and skiing on slopes overseas. The cost to purchase or rent the ski gear alone can be very high. Once you consider the travel costs, accommodation, food, and lift passes; you're looking at hefty price tag for the holiday. These costs increase even more snowboarding or skiing aboard. It's not something that everyone can afford, but the budget ski holiday is not an impossibility.
Budget ski holidays are simply not going to drop into your lap. You going to have to do some research in order to find those perfect deals and the internet is the best place to start. Most ski hotels have web sites in which you can regularly find discounts or package deal deals on rooms, dining, ski hire, and lift passes, especially during off-season times.
Best time to Ski
Taking your ski holiday earlier than the peak season or after it ends, you'll generally find these are where the bargains can be found simply by visiting their websites. Note that school holidays are going to be the busiest time during peak season. If you are taking the family, you might not be able to be flexible on dates. But if your not bound by school term dates, you'll find some great deals at the start and end of the season. Just check on the local snow conditions and research when the snowfall happens. Take your holiday too soon and the snow may not have arrived yet. Take it too late and the snow may have melted.
For discounts and package deals that offer flights, transfers, accommodation etc, look on sites like Expedia, Trivago, TripAdvisor and airlines too. As well as Googling for deals, visit or call your local travel agent. They may have deals you won't find anywhere else. Also think outside the box regarding getting to you ski resort. Flying to your destination and hiring a car will be expensive. But have you considered taking a coach? The bus ride might take a day or more, but its a fraction of the price of flights.
Where to stay
Budget ski holidays doesn't mean that you have to forego staying in quality accommodation. Of course it's handy if your accommodation enable you you open your front door and the ski slopes are right there. However, this convenience will will be very expensive. One of the biggest cost savings to be had is to find a hotel or apartment that located a little further away. Their normal prices will be cheaper and you'll find they will often run deals and promotional offers in order to ensure they fill their rooms. A lot of them also offer shuttle service in order to take you to the slopes for a minimum fee or even for free.
It might take you a little longer to get to the slopes, but you get the same level of accommodation as you would get in the heart of the ski resort, but at a fraction of the price. For example; in Les Arcs, Savoie in the French Alps, an 40sq metre ski apartment in Arc 1800 right on the slopes might be double if not treble the price of a 70sq metre apartment in town Bourg Saint Maurice which is 20 mins away. You get more apartment for your money, better priced local facilities and you have the awesome fun of taking the funicular up to the resort each morning.
When your doing your research, also look for a resort that isn't a big or mainstream as way of keeping costs down for your ski holiday. The lodgings and ski passes generally tend to be cheaper at these resorts. These resorts might have fewer visitors, but it doesn't necessarily mean the skiing is worse. They often have links and cable cars to other neighbouring larger resorts. To illustrate; Arc 1600 is the smallest of the Les Arcs resorts with fewer shops and hotels, but it is just a short cable car away from the larger Arc 1800 and Arc 2000 resorts.
Another tip to ensure a reasonably-priced ski holiday is to take advantage of group rates. Resorts and hotels will often have discounts for groups on offer as long as you make reservations well in advance. There's normally has be a minimal number of people in order to qualify for such offers. Join a ski club is a good way of getting discounts and you'll benefit from the group discounts. Be aware that you'll have to plan your holiday around the dates that the club trips are planned. Sometimes group discount see a saving in the region of 10% to 20% on the overall cost of your trip.
Lessons and Ski Passes
If your a beginner skier you may be considering lessons. They can be quite expensive. Private lessons are going to be being the most expensive option. Group lessons being the cost efficient route and they are a really good way to learn how to ski. Try searching on voucher websites like Groupon or Wowcher and see if you can pick up a good deal. They something have bargain 2 hour lesson vouchers on offer if all you need is a top up session with an instructor to blow the cobwebs off.
Sometimes enrolling into a group ski lesson will also include a ski pass for the week. Get with the ski school as to what offers and deals they have. Unnecessarily buying you ski pass and lesson separately could be costly. Most resorts will have family or group discounts. So take advantage of these discounts if you can.
Getting your kit
For your skis, snowboard, boots and winter gear, the question of whether to buy or hire is the dilemma. If you think you are going to go skiing more than once; buying your ski is the better option. It will pay for itself in 3 season compared to hiring. Buy you skis in the Spring or Summer. On the other hand; If your skiing holiday is a one off bucket list tick, then hiring is the way forward. But as always, book well in advance and shop around for the best prices. Ski shops and online seller will be selling off the end-of-line skis and boards. They will also be selling off ex-hire kit which are perfect as secondhand options. Plus you know they have been well serviced and looked after by the hire shop. Same goes for buying ski pants, jackets, helmets, gloves etc. Spring and Summer are the best times to pick a hot bargain.
Things to consider for reducing costs:
- Take your ski holiday off peak at the start or end of the season
- Book months in advance. The later you book it, the more expensive it will be
- Booking early with budget airlines are where great savings can be made
- The closer your accommodation is to the slopes, the more expensive it will be
- Look at all modes of travel including, trains, flying, driving, ferries, buses, coaches and driving including car hire.
- Check out the difference in costs for either self catering or all-inclusive accommodation. Dining out can be expensive, but you'll equally want a hearty meal at the end of day on the slopes!
- Research your resort on Wikipedia. They give useful facts like size of the resort, season start and end dates etc.
Cheap ski holidays are certainly possible. You don't have to spend a fortune to have a great time at the slopes. With a bit research and creative thinking, you can take that ski holiday that you were dreaming of with out emptying your bank account.