Holidays & Travel

Can skiing ever be affordable? How to hit the slopes on a budget

Here’s how to make your money stretch on the slopes.

Is it possible to make ski holidays affordable?
Friends skiing together Is it possible to make ski holidays affordable? (Alamy Stock Photo)

There’s always been a huge appeal for skiing in the mountains – it’s beautiful, fun, and there’s non-stop snow. But, skiing holidays have traditionally been notoriously expensive too.

So, is it possible to make it more affordable, and how can you hit the slopes on a tighter budget? An expert shares some tips…

Book with a package provider

“One of the best ways to make your money go further on a ski trip is to book with a package provider, which helps reduce extra expenditure and hidden costs on destination,” says Jack Bolus, market lead UK at Sunweb.

“For example, the price of a lift pass – one of the most expensive parts of any ski trip – is included with every package on Sunweb, and skiers can also get flights and accommodation all in one.”

Take packed lunches on the slopes

A couple having a picnic lunch on a snowy mountain (Alamy Stock Photo)

Skiing is inherently an expensive hobby, but there are undoubtedly ways snowsports enthusiasts can reduce costs whilst out on the slopes.

“One of the more obvious methods is simply taking a packed lunch to the mountains, rather than buying food,” says Bolus. “There are plenty of picnic spots dotted throughout every resort, and some restaurants will even have designated areas for you to eat your own food.”

Avoid going during school holidays

A woman in ski gear standing on a balcony looking out across snowy mountain range (Alamy Stock Photo)

Not always possible if you’re taking children of course, but trying to go outside of school holidays will help trim costs – particularly the February half-term.

“This is because costs are always inflated, as it’s the most popular time for British families to go skiing,” says Bolus. “Going outside of peak months will reduce costs massively, and make it a more affordable holiday.”

Hire or borrow your ski equipment

Buying new gear can be a very exciting part of an upcoming ski trip – but it will certainly add to your costs too.

“Ski gear – like jackets, salopettes, thermals and gloves to name but a few – can all add up in cost. If you’re a first-time skier or someone who doesn’t ski particularly often, it’s worth checking if any of your friends or family have some equipment you can borrow,” says Bolus. 

Ski gear and equipment rental shop in Szczyrk Poland (Alamy Stock Photo)

“Failing that, there are plenty of companies where you can rent equipment for the specific time period you’ll need it for, which can be both cost-effective and a more sustainable way of going skiing,” he adds. “When it comes to skis, boots and poles, these can all be rented from the local ski shop in your resort.”

Opt for half-board accommodation

“While opting for half-board accommodation may seem like more of a daunting up-front cost, the price of eating out means it can actually save you money on your overall trip,” says Bolus. “What’s more, ensuring you’re fuelled from breakfast is vitally important before a big day out on the mountains. So, not only will going half-board save you cash in the long run, it’ll also ensure you can maximise your time out on the mountains, and in turn, provide better value for money on your trip.”

Another option to look at is self-catering, if you’re up for doing a food shop there and cooking.

 Choose lesser-known resorts

Montafon Ski resort in Austria (Alamy Stock Photo)

Going to well-known or popular resorts may sound fun, but there are many other ski resorts you could get a great experience at, but at a much lower cost. 

“We would also advise choosing lesser known resorts within large ski areas, such as Les Menuires in Les 3 Vallées or Vaujany in the Alpe d’Huez ski area, which allows you access to world-class skiing at lower prices than the more well-known resorts in those regions,” says Bolus.

“Though the smaller resorts may be slightly further away from the big snowy hubs, there are a number of local buses which can take you at little cost, meaning you can save money on your accommodation costs, without compromising on the quality of skiing.”