‘Ski holiday’ and ‘budget trip’ are concepts that do not generally go together well, and with the British pound and the euro virtually interchangeable at the moment, ski trips to European ski resorts can become decidedly expensive. However, with some money saving tips and budget-savvy manoeuvres, there are many ways to cut the price of your ski holiday. Here’s a round-up of Mad Dog Ski’s ten top tips for skiing on a budget.
1. Strength in numbers – Get a group together for your next ski holiday and book your trip en masse. Leverage your bargaining power for freebies on accommodation and ski hire and book group transfers and ski lessons.
2. Get the apron on – Restaurant prices can be sky high in ski resorts, so a great way to keep your ski holiday on budget is to stay in self-catered accommodation. Bring some staples with you, and when you’re booking your transfer schedule a stop at the local supermarket for stockpiling supplies. You’ll cut your food costs considerably by cooking together and you can make it fun by running a ‘Come dine with me’ style cook off.
3. Go all-in – Although self-catering can help keep costs down, going for an all-inclusive package can be cheaper than you think. Getting an all inclusive ski holiday deal in a catered chalet can help you stick to a clear budget by avoiding those nasty hidden costs. This will take care of breakfast and dinner, and it’s often possible to arrange a packed lunch service with your chalet host too.
4. Pack a picnic – If you can’t arrange a catered packed lunch, but have access to a kitchen, or even just a kettle or a fridge, then you should be able to whip up a tasty budget ski picnic for your mountain adventures. A flask of coffee and a baguette filled with local cheese or meats makes for a perfect piste-side picnic.
5. Ski off peak – The best budget ski holiday deals are of course found outside of the peak season periods of Christmas, New Year and the school holidays. If you can take your ski holiday off peak then this will lower the price considerably.
6. Creative kit out – Unless you are ultra style conscious, then instead of forking out on brand new ski kit, ask around. People often have some perfectly good spares lying about. Failing that check out TK Maxx or Aldi for budget ski-wear, and of course there’s always Ebay.
7. Last minute deals – If you don’t mind leaving it to the last minute and you’re flexible on ski holiday dates, then keeping tabs on last minute deals can reap some great budget ski rewards.
8. Bargain hunt – If you are eating and drinking out and about on your ski holiday, then keep your eyes peeled for budget friendly set-price menus and Happy Hour après-ski deals. Sticking to beer and wine is substantially cheaper than spirits too.
9. Take the edge off – Not that we’re advocating drunkenness, but you’re probably going to want to get at least a little merry some, or (let’s face it) most evenings. To keep your drinking budget down, pick up some duty free on your way in and buy some bottles of local wine to enjoy with dinner before hitting the bars.
10. Bunk up – If you’re a seasoned back-packer then you’ll be well used to bunking up in a hostel dorm room. The French youth hotel association (FUAJ) runs a winter sports programme in many big resorts, such as Tignes, Deux Alpes and Chamonix. There are not usually any Sat-to-Sat date restrictions with this type of accommodation either, so you can take full advantage of budget flights.
Read more MadDogSki budget skiing articles here.
(All photos copyright of Val Thorens Officiel)