Top tips for skiing on a budget
Many of us are tightening our belts, but we're still super keen for a ski holiday this season. The good news is, there are loads of ways to keep the budget down and still get your slope 'fix'.
Marcus, Co-Founder of Heidi, suggests going for a slightly shorter ski holiday. Of course, you can still go for seven days, but by going for five or six days instead, you can still get plenty of skiing in but save on the trip. Marcus' other major budget-saving tip is you don't have to travel on a Saturday, which is usually the most expensive day:
" With Heidi, you can pick the day you travel. For example, travelling on a Monday can be much softer on the wallet."
As well as shortening your trip and avoiding flying at the weekends, here are Marcus' other top tips to save money on your ski holiday...
Ski in January or March
January is the skiing season's sweet spot for budget holidays. Frequent fresh dumps of snow mean it's possible to ski at a lower altitude, where you'll find cheaper resorts. And there are also fewer crowds on the slopes. Happy days! Alternatively, avoid the pricey February half-term and Easter school holiday frenzy with a ski trip in March. Soak up the sun on stunning bluebird days and make the most of peaceful slopes and warmer temperatures. Just remember to pack the sunscreen!
Book your ski trip well in advance or last minute
If you're super organised and can plan ahead, booking early can help you spread out the cost of a skiing holiday. You'll get the first pick of accommodation, too - don't miss out on that dreamy chalet you've had your eye on; book now! On the other hand, there are usually some fantastic deals around if you're happy to book last minute. You'll have to be flexible about where and when you go, but it'll save you a mountain of cash. Ka-ching!
Try cheaper, lesser-known ski resorts
Don't follow the herd; find somewhere off the beaten track for a super-budget ski holiday. Here are some of our top budget ski locations:
- Bansko in Bulgaria is more affordable than resorts in the western Alps.
- Kranjska Gora in Slovenia may not be well-known, but it packs a punch in terms of value.
- Livigno in Italy boasts low prices thanks to its tax-free status.
- El Tarter in Andorra is Soldeu's little sister. A great value spot for beginners and intermediates.
- Sestriere in Italy has a super long snow season, so pick up a bargain in April.
- Fieberbrunn in Austria offers great budget ski holidays compared to its French counterparts.
- Tignes in France is cheaper than its upmarket neighbour, Val d'Isère.
Book a small ski resort connected to a larger, well-known one
- Brides Les Bains in France's Three Valleys is connected by cable car to the exclusive high-altitude resort of Meribel. Brides Les Bains may not have the same level of lively nightlife, but you'll save a bundle on your accommodation.
- Les Menuires and Val Thorens give you access to the magnificent Three Valley ski area without the inflated price tag. They are chilled and laid back, too, so if you want all the fun of the largest ski area in the world without the hype, these resorts are ideal.
- Head to Fieberbrunn in Austria, instead of Saalbach-Hinterglemm to access the same vast Skicircus valley in a more peaceful setting and with lower prices.
- Kirchberg may not boast the same glitz and glamour as its Austrian neighbour Kitzbuhel, but with access to the same KitzSki pistes, the fun factor is on par. Cheaper accommodation will save you a pretty penny, and some say the nightlife is better too.
- Sauze d'Oulx is renowned for its access to the silky smooth pistes of Italy's 'Milky Way' Via Lattea ski area and its party-town vibe. But if a quiet night is more your scene, you can enjoy the same high alpine runs and get some great deals in the skiing resort of Claviere.
- Experience the renowned prowess of Chamonix at a fraction of the cost in Les Houches. OK, so you'll need to take the bus to Cham, but that's just part of the fun of a Chamonix ski holiday!
Check your lift pass
Ski lift passes usually eat up a lot of your budget. But you might not even need one. Many resorts don't charge for nursery slope draglifts, so newbies often get by without a ski pass – at least for the first few days. Alternatively, skip premium prices at the big ski resorts and choose a smaller one. If you're just starting out or skiing with littluns, you're less likely to need a large, expensive ski area. Some ski regions also offer mini passes with access to green and blue runs only. And some let kids ski for free! Want to know more? Give us a call at Heidi, and we'll point you in the right direction.
Plan your meals
Eating out in ski resorts can be expensive, depending on where you stay. From pricey mountain hut lunches and mulled wine stops to lavish dinners and beers in town, it soon adds up. Ouch! But if you're happy to keep things simple, hotel package deals with full or half-board dining can often save you money.
Buy your sunscreen and lip balm at home
The aisle of your local supermarket is the place to stock up on sunscreen and lip balm. Not the counter of a ski hire centre on the first morning of your holiday! Up in the mountains, you'll pay double the price for a quarter of the volume.
Book ski lessons in the afternoon
Most people want to ski in the morning, so ski schools offer discounts on afternoon sessions. Book your ski lessons after 2pm, and you'll likely get a bargain. You'll also get to enjoy quieter nursery slopes and uncrowded pistes. Win-win!
Save on ski gear
Save some money and do your bit for the environment by borrowing ski kit from friends and family or buy second-hand. Use apps like Preloved, Gumtree and eBay to find tip-top nearly-new gear. Some websites specialise in pre-owned kit too. Prefer to buy new? Check out discount stores like TK Maxx, Aldi, Sports Direct and Primark.
Buy your own ski boots, but not skis
Finding a good pair of ski boots is worth its weight in gold. Happy feet = happy days on the slopes! Look out for cut-price boots towards the end of the season. Or, if you really like a pair of hired boots, you might be able to negotiate a good deal and buy them at the end of the week. Ski boots can often be taken on planes as hand luggage, even with low-cost airlines. Whereas skis and boards usually cost extra, so it can be more cost effective to hire those in resort.
Follow all of these tips you could potentially save hundreds off your entire ski holiday. Need more advice on where and when to go to save costs? Get in touch and the Heidi team, we'd love to help find you an amazing deal.
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