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Hitting the slopes: how to ski on the cheap this season

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan

With the ski season in full swing, we look at how to keep the costs of a holiday on the slopes down.

• Budget friendly resorts

The destination you choose will of course dictate the true cost of your holiday. Look at budget friendly resorts including, Bansko in Bulgaria or Ordino Arcalis in Andorra and avoid the top-end resorts of Courchevel and Sierra Nevada. (See below for the some of the cheaper spots to ski or snowboard this season).

• Hire before you fly

One of the biggest expenses can be the cost of the equipment. Consider hiring your ski equipment before you depart to reduce the expense of hiring when you reach your destination, advises Kathryn Wright, money-saving expert at discountvouchers.co.uk. Spend some time searching online for the best prices available and you will easily find great discounts.

• Look for discounts on equipment

If you have to hire gear at your destination, then always ask if there is a discount available to residents from your hotel. Plenty of local ski hire stores will have partnerships with near-by hotels.

• Search for discounts on lift passes

As soon as you have your holiday dates set in stone, start searching for online codes and discounts for lift passes. Yes, this will require a bit of time and patience on your part – some hotels require a seven day advance purchase for passes and discount sites may have offers with a short expiry date – but putting in the hard work will pay off in the end.

• Buy the right pass

If you’re planning to do more après-ski than ‘actual ski’, only buy a ski pass for the number of days you plan to hit the slopes. The cost of ski passes quickly adds up, so don’t pay for what you’re not going to use.

• Budget your food costs

Dining at the restaurants on the mountains can be one of the worst offenders for bumping up the cost of your holiday. Avoid the inflated costs of food on the mountains by taking your own food with you for the day wherever possible. Also, it may be worth opting for a catered chalet rather than self-catered. At least with the former, you can budget more precisely.

If you’re travelling in a large group, it may be worth booking your own holiday to get the best deals.

There are some fantastic self-catered chalet deals in great resorts for larger groups, so may be worth having a look around for your options. 

Here’s an example for Chamonix, from the experts at holidaylettings.co.uk.

A three bed chalet, sleeping 6-8 people, can costs from as little as £850 per week (just £106 each based on 8 sharing). That is just £15 per person per night. As well as the obvious saving here, the fact that you have an entire house to yourself, with all kitchen equipment, etc, allows you to eat and drink in – as and when you want – potentially saving you a small fortune on restaurants.

A similar standard hotel in the area would cost £91 per person, per night (based on a 3 star Expedia hotel).

• Plan your transfers

When it comes to transfers from the airport to your hotel or chalet, look into private mini bus hire companies which will drive you to your accommodation for a fraction of the price of local taxi firms. Do a simple online search for the deals.

• Consider short breaks 

If possible, opt for a shorter ski break. When on a ski trip every day adds up, so reducing the amount of days you go for will make a big difference to your overall spend. Plenty of tour operators now offer great deals on four day breaks.

• Buy your gear in the sale

If you want to start adding to your ski gear collection, wait until the end of the season for serious bargains. Keep your eyes peeled on ebay, ski retailers’ and sports shops’ sites for the bargains. 

• Hire a car before you arrive

If you plan on hiring a car, do it as early as possible to avoid paying the last minute bumped up prices. According to discountvouchers.co.uk, holidaymakers can save over 40% by booking car hire six months in advance in comparison to one week in advance, and up to 30% booking 6 months in advance compared to booking three months before your pick up date.

• Lastly and most importantly, do not forget insurance. Read our comprehensive guide getting the right winter break insurance.


Currency sale… 

Asda Money has a rate sale coming up from 8am on 4 February to 8am on 7 February on currencies from some of the top ski destinations.

• Euro
• US Dollar
• Canadian Dollar
• Swiss Franc
• Norwegian Krone
• Bulgarian Lev


Looking for cheap alternatives to the more busy, popular resorts? These resorts not only have fewer people on the piste, but also enjoy lower prices and nightlife.

Destination Cheapest return flight in February (direct) from London airports
Krakow (for Zakopane) £52
Prague (for Krkonose) £56
Sofia (for Borovets) £99
Inverness (for Cairngorm) £41 Cheapest return flight prices during the month of February.
Prices from Skyscanner.net, prices correct as of 21 Jan 2014.