There’s no doubt that skiing is an expensive past time and one where the costs can really add up. With ski gear, cold weather clothing, lift passes, lessons and equipment hire on top of accommodation and flights it can be off-putting to the average family. However skiing is a wonderful experience and a real gift for children to have a chance to learn. Over the years we’ve picked up more than a few tips on how to have a family ski holiday on a budget.
Top tips to have a family ski holiday on a budget
Go self catering
We’ve stayed in expensive hotels and self catering apartments when we’ve skied and have quickly realised that if you stay in the latter you can keep your food costs almost to the equivalent of a week at home. With a simple meal planner of dishes that can be cooked up easily with just a hob ring it’s easy to avoid those often expensive in-resort prices.
Look for last minute deals
It’s amazing some of the prices that you can get last-minute, especially if you’re able to get out of peak times. Look at ski operators like Crystal Ski for last minute deals and bag a bargain.
Use the difference in school holidays
As I said above if you can take your kids out of school for a week you will get much better prices but if you can’t you often find half terms can fall on different times in the country so if your school in Yorkshire is off for the first week of February and Bristol is off for the second then look at holidays flying from Bristol for a good deal (you can check dates by looking up local authority websites). It’s worth the drive to save some money.
Borrow the ski gear
Ski clothes can cost but it’s worth asking around to see if anyone has any of the ski gear – salopettes, ski coats, snow boots and ski goggles you can borrow for the week you’re away. If you’re planning in advance it’s also worth looking on local selling sites particularly after the main snow seasons to pick them up when there’s less competition to buy them. If all else fails some of the cheap supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl often sell bargain ski wear.
Pick your resort carefully
Prices can really vary once you’re at the resort so pick carefully. Places like Slovenia and Bulgaria will have much cheaper ski hire and lessons than France and Austria so it’s worth spending some time picking the right place.
It’s definitely important to cost up a trip independent to a tour operator. We have picked up really cheap flights to Geneva in the past and then worked everything else out from there, finding a transfer service and then accommodation. You might even find independent accommodation in a rented apartment for the week is available at a good price.
Choose your ski lift pass carefully
Ski lift passes can be a big expense but it’s worth looking in to exactly what you need before you commit to the full pass. If you’re a beginner you might be able to make do with the magic carpet lifts which might not even need a ski pass and some resorts have “kids ski free” passes, so it’s well worth doing some research into resort charges before you commit.
Ask about cheaper ski lessons
It’s worth having a chat in the local ski school office to see if they have any deals on ski lessons. For example it might be cheaper to ski in the afternoon rather than the morning or there might be a private group you can join for less than the ski school. It’s worth shopping about a little and talking to the school before simply signing up for the obvious choice.
Read more of our features on skiing here, we have lots to keep you inspired including destination guides and videos.