Summer is well and truly behind us, and as the months get colder and the days get shorter, it can be easy to suffer from the winter blues.
However, if you need a reason to look forward to the months, then now is good time to start planning your next ski break!
There’s nothing like hitting the slopes and making the most of the fresh mountain air before heading to a cosy chalet for that world-famous apres ski.
And although ski holidays have a reputation for coming with a hefty price tag, it is possible to find some great travel bargains, so you can still have a snowy escape without breaking the bank.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to getting through the ski season without blowing your entire budget…
Oh, and to give you an extra dose of travel inspiration, we’ve also rounded up the top 15 ski resorts in the world , complete with how to get there for cheap.
What’s included in the guide?
- The best websites for finding bargain ski holidays
- 6 insider hacks for skiing on a budget
Top tips for your first week on the slopes
The best websites to find cheap ski holidays
Crystal Ski Holidays has a dedicated deals page so you can easily find the latest offers on both its ski and snowboard getaways. You can find breaks from as little as £290pp.
easyJet holidays has packages to the hottest resorts with bargain prices starting from as little as £174pp so it’s definitely worth checking out to see if there are any deals on your chosen dates.
Lastminute.com has everything from Bargain Ski Breaks to luxury getaways, and you can often find great deals on their packages – including savings of up to 50% off!
TravelSupermarket is great for finding a ski bargain – especially if you’re flexible with your dates as it searches out the cheapest offerings available at that time. And for an extra helping hand, it also highlights the top 10 deals happening right now.
Thomas Cook is great at putting together a bespoke package for you, whether you’re after a romantic snowy getaway or a family holiday.
Inghams has a dedicated offers page for last-minute deals in case you decide you want a spontaneous trip into the mountains!
6 insider hacks for skiing on a budget
The travel gurus at TravelSupermarket have shared some handy insider secrets to snapping up the best bargains…
1. Go for the right resort
Although you’ve probably heard many a story about Whistler in Canada and Chamonix in France , less well-known resorts offer the same snow-filled fun for considerably less money.
Stick to the east for the best value, home to cheap skiing destinations such as Soldeu and Arinsal in Andorra and Bansko in Bulgaria . If it has to be France, the Brides-Les-Bains area is usually one of the cheaper options.
2. Be flexible on your departure date
Rather than heading out on a Saturday, fly out mid week if you can and you can save hundreds – especially if you’re using a last minute or package deal.
3. Don’t buy your ski kit – borrow it.
Kitting yourself out for a week on the slopes can make a huge dent in your holiday budget and you’ll only be wearing it for a week. Don’t be ashamed to ask friends and family if they have spare stuff they could lend you.
For equipment, TravelSupermarket recommends shopping around online and booking rental skis and snowboards in advance – not only does it work out cheaper than turning up on the day but they may even deliver it to your accommodation.
4. Search for deals before you go
As well as grabbing a bargain on your actual holiday, doing a little bit of research beforehand can really pay off. Promo code sites such as Vouchercodes.co.uk have up to date ski hire deals that can save you up to €45 – that’s quite a few apres-ski drinks! They also have dedicated Crystal Holidays section if you plan to travel with them.
5. Go in January or March
They’re the cheapest months (while most expensive ones are December and February), with last minute, late season offers also saving you lots of pennies – just make sure you check the snowfall before booking.
6. Suss out the ski lifts
Ski lifts can add a big expense to your trip, so check out your options before you book.
As well as depending on area (Bansko in Bulgaria has the cheapest lift passes), you can also grab on a deal depending on your expertise. If you’re a beginner on the nursery slopes, you may be able to get draglifts free of charge – at least for the first few days – so its always worth asking the lift pass office before shelling out.
Another way to save on the slopes is to get a lift pass included in your package. Alpine Elements list all their resorts with current lift pass offers here , Crystal Ski have 2 for 1 on lift passes at certain resorts and Inghams have a selection of lift pass deals available such as free days, money off and beginner saver packs.
Top tips for your first week to the slopes
TripAdvisor snow-loving users share some handy tips on how to make the most of your trip.
1. Watch the weather
“Many resorts in the Western U.S. and Canada open as early as October,” says TripAdvisor user South691. “But you have to watch the weather. Last year, many resorts still did not have good snow in December.”
2. Consider a package deal
“You save a lot of money booking a ski package, with flights, accommodations, lift passes, equipment, and ski school included,” says user Figgygirl.
3. Choose the right equipment
Novices should steer clear of aging equipment. “Rent skis and boots instead of borrowing a friend’s old pair. Learning to ski on a modern pair of skis is not only safer, it will help you progress faster,” says user Janice M.
Use the money you save in airline oversize baggage fees to rent parabolic skis, which are easier to learn on, advises user Bonjours (a ski instructor).
If you’re set on buying your own equipment, don’t do it online unless you’ve already tried the stuff on in a store. “Proper fitting ski equipment is critical to a good and safe ski experience,” says user IslandGrl.
4. Stay warm
“The best boot heaters are the ones that are battery operated and are installed in your boot,” says user mexicocity.
For a cheaper alternative, buy some disposable ones and “put the adhesive in the toe of your boot rather than adhering it to your sock.”
“Avoid wearing cotton fabric, as it retains moisture and can make a skier or snowboarder colder. Synthetics, wool, or wool blends are much better choices for warmth,” reports user IslandGrl.
5. Pack wisely
IslandGrl always carries her ski boots on the plane: “Even if our luggage gets lost, I can still ski confidently as long as I have my boots.”
"As for getting non-ski gear, don’t bother with a second pair of heavy boots, says user Amos H, who just brings lightweight walking boots for getting around.
And don’t let the chill fool you, warns Figgygirl. "You’ll need high-SPF sunblock and lip balm to protect against the sun.
“The weather can change in one day, so always carry a hat and goggles with you. We take a small backpack to carry things on the slopes.”
6. Check your insurance
Check your health and travel insurance policies to see if you’ll be covered for injuries due to winter sports—not all plans cover this, says Figgygirl.
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