Top 5 Money Saving Tips for Your Ski HolidayKatie's top tips for a ski holiday on the cheap...

Katie Blundell


1 year ago in News

Everyone knows that this time of year is HARD money wise. All those mince pies and Christmas parties really drain the bank balance. But this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a holiday to the mountains. As long as you are savvy with your money, you can still pull a great ski holiday out the bag.

Here are my top tips for doing a snow holiday on the cheap:

Travel

First of all, you need to get to the mountains. The obvious thing to do first is price up all the different options: flights from different airports (but consider how much you have to pay to GET TO the airport) or a flight with a change might be cheaper but more faff. Sometimes if you book your flight last minute it can be really cheap, but sometimes it is better to book further in advance – depending on the popularity of when you are looking to fly. Or if you don’t mind flying very very very early in the morning or really late at night it will be cheaper too. You could get the train if you’re heading to Europe. Even think about driving? If there’s a group of you it could work out cheaper. All chip in for fuel, pile all the luggage in the back so you don’t have to pay for it on a flight. Think about the route you are driving: you have to pay for expensive toll roads on certain routes through Europe. More benefits of driving are you take an industrial box of tea bags with you and not feel guilty, plus take lots of food/ drink so you won’t have to buy as much when you get there. Road trips can be an adventure and you could see some beautiful sights on the way. Make sure you have winter tyres on your car though. PS. The Tube+London+boardbag – don’t do it haha!

Accommodation

You need to think about where you want to be. Often accommodation further away from the slopes will be cheaper. It’s normally only a short bus ride away anyway. If you stay next to the lifts it can cost mega bucks. Think about what sort of accommodation you would like. A fully catered chalet is quite expensive (but lush and EASY). If there are a few of you, you could find something self-catered; the more people there are the cheaper it becomes. You could take it in turns to cook. If you buy your food BEFORE you go up the mountain it will be a lot cheaper. Having said that, there are often offers on catered chalets that actually work out better as they include all your food/drink, lift pass, rental and transfer/ flights. So good idea to have a look at everything and weigh up the options. You honestly get the best deals from speaking to people in the resort already. If you know anyone out there, then now is the time to call in some favours. Also, a good place to look is Facebook. See if you can find a page local to the resort and people often post good accommodation deals on there. Also, just spend time googling and researching.

Equipment

If you go snowboarding a lot, it could be worthwhile financially to invest in your own equipment. Paying for rentals each time adds up. You can get cheap deals on eBay, on Facebook buy/ sell pages and also going into snowboard shops and get some sale/ last season/ ex demo equipment. Maybe you have a friend selling some old equipment? Or even a very nice friend that doesn’t mind lending you their gear? If you decide to rent in resort, it can be expensive, but deals can be found by booking online in advance. If you’re thinking of buying, some shops will even let you try-before-you-buy. If you’re even more clever and a social media god/ goddess, you could see about writing reviews about the equipment and then the companies might let you “test” for freeeee.

The Mountain

Before you go in all guns blazing and buy a pass for the whole mountain for the whole week, really think about and be realistic about what you are going to do. If you are going to have a few heavy nights and not make it out onto the mountain until after lunch, some half day passes could work out cheaper. If you are happy to just do a couple of days and then chill in the hot tub for a couple of days and other activities, then a 2/3 day pass could be better. I always feel really guilty if I have a full week pass and don’t use it. Snowboard guilt is the worst! Plus you really have to drag yourself out sometimes to “get your money’s worth” even if you are totally exhausted. That’s when accidents happen.
Also check the weather. No point buying passes if it’s going to be awful weather and you don’t even want to go ride anyway. Check the snow conditions. If only certain runs are open due to lack of snow you might not need a ski pass for the entire area. If you are a learner/ intermediate, just a local area pass might suffice. If you are a total beginner, you might not need a lift pass at all for the first couple of days as you will be on the free green slope close to resort.
You can play it by ear with passes and buy them day by day. But bear in mind if you do end up doing all day every day, it definitely works out better to buy a full week pass. You can also buy one pass between a few of you and take it in turns if you don’t mind doing it that way?

Leisure

You’re obviously going to want to have fun and let your hair down whilst you’re on holiday. But in your down time from snowboarding you don’t have to go totally wild and splash all your cash. You can look for cheap thrills and cheap ways to do things too!

My first bit of advice if you want to drink would be 2 words… CHALET WINE. Take as much advantage of this free alcohol as possible. Drink before you go out. There is a limitless supply in most chalets. Even If you aren’t in a chalet, wine is still the cheapest beverage to buy/ drink in Europe. Don’t forget though, drink goes to your head quicker in the altitude so be careful.

There is definitely more to life than drinking and partying though. You can load up a device with good movies/ series to watch whilst you are away, you can play board games/ group games in your accommodation in the evenings or you can just cook some good food and hang out. Maybe even read a book?! There are other down time activities too (different ones in different resorts) including ice skating, horse riding, tobogganing, bowling, cinema, snowball fights, build snowmen, swimming, ice diving, husky dog riding. Some of these are free, some of these are $$$£££££ so just be selective.

Family Ski Trip

If you’re a parent, is a MASSIVE extra expense (as I’m discovering) is childcare. My advice would be to find an independent nanny who doesn’t work for a big company which can be a 3rd of the price. Best way to find these is put out requests on local FB pages or ask friends that are in the resort. Also, you may have very kind parents who fancy a family trip to the mountains but aren’t that fussed on skiing or arrange a trip with a group of other families and share childcare between you all? Mountain crèches work out a little cheaper too, but they have quite strict guidelines and can be a faff organising all the stuff they need (ie: slippers, labels on everything, lunches) and it can be like an even more stressful school run getting them there (in the snow) on time. Nannies come to where you are staying so way easier to organise. Whatever works out best, you know the kids will have a whale of a time and you will get to go snowboarding guilt free and KID FREE!