Skiing is a sport largely associated with the affluent, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed by all. It doesn’t have an extensive rule book and the basics can be learnt in a couple of hours. If you’re determined to ski without spending a fortune some careful planning can ensure you make it to the slopes without breaking the bank.
- Research your dates carefully. The general rule is Christmas and New Year is expensive. School holidays also see a hike in prices, so look for deals on ski chalets that fall outside these periods. Peak-season varies from country to country and a quick Google search on a particular resort should tell you which times of year will severely dent your bank account. Avoiding these times can mean more for your money.
- Book a self catered ski chalet. The European property boom has seen huge investment in new builds surrounding all the ski resorts in The Alps. Renting a self-catering chalet can be luxury at just the right price and with many properties bought and used by seasoned skiers, you may find you’re renting a small palace with ensuite spas and media systems included. Self-catered accommodation is very common in Europe and even the most basic chalets provide a comfortable abode. Self catering also means eating for a lot less than the cost of the local speciality (usually starting at 7€ a plate) Continental beers are also much cheaper in the supermarkets than in the bars, allowing you to enjoy yourself without emptying your wallet.
- Driving to a resort on The Continent can not only save you money, but it’ll also be a fun road trip. Sharing petrol and ferry costs can make the trip surprisingly cheap.
- If you’re hiring your equipment, research what’s on offer. In some cases the resort will have several shops offering competitive rentals. In other cases the website you’re booking with will have good equipment deals. However, don’t hand-over your credit card details until you know you have the best deal. It may take a little time to research, but it’s better than getting stuck with poor equipment.
- Research the resorts and what they charge versus what they offer. Consider just how many kilometres of snow you’ll actually ski during your trip. What’s your ability? You might find a smaller resort gives you what you need for a week of skiing. Seeking out a resort popular with locals can also get you better value for money. One rule: the further east you go, the better the price.
- Plan your skiing and buy your ski pass accordingly. Will you actually ski seven days straight, or will you take a day or two to explore the area? Answering this question ahead of time can save you some cash. Alternatively, you can buy a local pass rather than an area pass. Concentrating your skiing in one area is a great way to master more difficult slopes. It doesn’t just save you money; it could also improve your skiing.
With a little careful planning you can continue to enjoy ski chalet breaks on a budget.