There’s no denying it: skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports. A week of skiing can set you back a pretty penny, especially if you’re planning to ski with the whole family. Between accommodation, ski passes, ski lessons and rental equipment, the amounts can start to add up. That’s not to mention that if you’re restricted to travelling during half-term or Christmas, you’ll always have to pay high-season prices. Fortunately, there is a solution: many lesser-known ski resorts in Europe offer ski holidays at a fraction of the price of big resorts, so you can still have great ski holidays without breaking your budget.
The Czech Republic has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best alternative spots for a budget ski holiday. Yes, the slopes are shorter and lower-lying than in the Alps, but that doesn’t mean the skiing’s not good. Modernised infrastructure and fairly dependable snow conditions make the Czech Republic an attractive option. The most popular Czech ski resort is Spindleruv Mlyn, with gorgeous slopes, a quaint village centre and prices that are easy on the pocketbook.
The irony of France is that while it has some of the most expensive ski resorts in Europe, it also has some of the best-value ski resorts in Europe. Valfréjus, just around the corner from the famous Val Thorens, offers affordable ski-in, ski-out accommodation and 50km of slopes. La Norma’s ski area, around the same size, also offers low prices and a pedestrianised village centre popular with young families. If you’re craving mileage, check out budget destinations like La Joue du Loup and Superdévoluy.
Valfréjus isn't far from Val Thorens
Austria is best-known for behemoth ski areas like the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, but this country also has its fair share of ski resorts off the beaten path. Relatively inexpensive ski areas in Austria where you can save money and beat the crowds include Brandnertal, Diedamskopf and the Wildkogel-Arena. If you need more slopes, try Wildschönau, around the corner from the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental but much cheaper. Holidays in the provinces of Carinthia and Styria also tend to be cheaper.
Wildschönau is close to Ski Juwel
As a general rule, Italy’s ski resorts tend to be less expensive than the ski resorts in Austria, France or Switzerland. If you’re looking for especially attractive deals, consider Meransen, Pinzolo or Fai della Paganella. There’s also the tax-free haven of Livigno, where you can ski all day and then shop til you drop.
What are your favourite cheap ski holiday destinations?
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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