Finding cheap ski deals can seem a difficult task. However, if you choose your ski resort wisely you’ll find plenty of off-the-beaten-path destinations around Europe, which are not only a joy to ski, but go easy on your wallet too. Although resorts such as Courchevel, Val d’Isere and Verbier are widely touted as the crème de la crème for ski holidays, there are many resorts in Europe (many of them close neighbours to the bigger names) where you can get excellent cheap ski deals. They may not have the name dropping kudos of Courchevel, but these resorts still have great skiing – and all at a cheaper price to the bigger names.
Situated in Austria’s Enns Valley, Schladming has a thriving local community and offers great skiing across the Ski Amade region (www.skiamade.com). Only an hour away from Salzburg (both Easyjet and Ryanair have direct flights), you can either visit for the week or the weekend. There’s a good selection of budget accommodation in and around the town.
This popular, snow-sure resort (famous for its classic Austrian après-ski scene) has never really taken off with the Brits. However, it is a great place for cheap ski deals, with well priced accommodation (try Skiworld and Ski Total), plus enough happy hours to save you plenty of beer euros. www.soelden.com
Söll shares the famous Kitzbuhel ski area, but offers a great budget ski alternative to its more well-known neighbour. There is well-priced accommodation in the small town (try Crystal or the Alpenpanorama Hotel), and though there is a 1km journey to the slopes (either by car or ski bus), the budget price far outweighs the inconvenience.
Just a short journey from the heart of Méribel you’ll find the pretty spa town of Brides-les-Bains, ideal for a budget friendly ski holiday. The nightlife is a lot calmer (which some will see as a bonus) and you have access to the Three Valleys’ amazing skiing without the price tag. Try booking a cheap ski deal with skiweekends.com, which often has great ski holiday offers.
Flaine ski resort is becoming an increasingly popular budget ski holiday destination. It is the highest ski resort in the Grand Massif ski domain, and though the resort itself is no beauty, the skiing is great for intermediates. Good value childcare and restaurants make it a great place for a family ski holiday. Check out Iglu Ski or Crystal Ski for cheap ski holiday deals.
Beginners are fast working out that there’s little point in paying a huge whack for your ski pass in the Three Valleys if you’re only going to be skiing a handful of runs. That’s where smaller, cheaper resorts such as Bansko really excel. Food wise, you’ll find great traditional Bulgarian mountain food served in the many atmospheric inns around town. Locals are friendly and hospitable and it’s a great resort for family friendly budget ski holidays too, as childcare is very reasonable.
Cervinia is on the other side of the Matterhorn from the famous Zermatt and is a smaller and cheaper base from which to experience the Matterhorn ski area. Inghams’ Dragon chalet-hotel offers budget accommodation, and there are many well-priced restaurants to choose from too. Remember that skiing on the Swiss side will incur an upgrade fee and you’ll also need to watch where you have lunch over there, or your weekly budget will be all eaten up!
Close to the big guns in the Swiss ski scene (think Verbier and Zermatt) Andermatt remains relatively under the radar, yet has one of the cheapest ski passes in Switzerland. Try Ski Solutions or Powder Beds for budget ski deals and accommodation or check out some of the cosy two and three star hotels in this pretty and compact little town.
(All photos copyright of Val Thorens Officiel)