10 hacks that can save you money on a ski holiday

Whether you’re planning your first trip to the slopes or are a seasoned pro, travelling with the family or on your own, everyone likes the chance to save money on their ski holiday – especially following reports that most operators and agents have confirmed prices have increased by around 10 per cent on average, compared to those pre-pandemic.

What’s more recent research by Club Med revealed just how financially prohibitive Covid travel rules are. Sixty-three per cent of UK adults have delayed booking a ski holiday as they had been put off by the added financial pressure of testing.

While there’s a wide choice of budget-friendly resorts, in lesser-known mountain regions such as the Pyrenees, Andorra and Eastern Europe, where you’ll see your money go a lot further, there’s no denying that ski trips come with unavoidable additional costs. It’s easy to blow the budget on extras such as lift passes and equipment hire and often the price of lunch on the mountain in some popular resorts is enough to make anyone shiver.

Add to that the additional cost of Covid testing this winter – which for some families, who will be required to pay for tests for their children when in resort in order for them to access the likes of bars, restaurants and lifts, could amount to hundreds of pounds.

If you’re planning to head to the mountains, here are 10 ski holiday hacks to help save money on your trip including what accommodation to choose, alternative resorts to consider and how to cut the cost of extras once in resort.

1. Choose a chalet stay

Staying in a chalet or chalet-hotel takes a lot of the guesswork out of how much you’ll end up spending once in resort. Chalet board means you get a cooked breakfast, afternoon tea (usually including cake and maybe soup) and a three-course dinner every day except one – the chalet hosts’ day off. Wine at meal times is frequently included, meaning you can also save money on bar hopping if you wish. However, you should be aware that thanks to both Brexit and the pandemic, the number on offer has significantly shrunk. Crystal Ski has pulled out of chalets entirely and Inghams has cut its programme – including sister company Ski Total – from over 120 to just 17. If you want to secure a chalet, for a reasonable price, it pays to book sooner, rather than later, with a trusted operator. Find this season’s best chalet holidays here.





A chalet holiday comes with the perks of having meals and wine included


Credit: Le Ski

2. Go all-inclusive

Taking this one step further, plumping for an all-inclusive package may seem an expensive initial outlay – but it means holidaymakers spend virtually nothing during their stay.

All-inclusive specialist Club Med offers holidays with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. Included in the price are flights, transfers, full-board accommodation, drinks, lift pass, ski school and even extras such as off-piste guiding. As prices are set before the season begins, going all-inclusive means British skiers and snowboarders will be largely sheltered from currency fluctuations when in resort.

3. Embrace the packed lunch

One of the most notoriously expensive extras once on holiday is buying lunch up the mountain – particularly if you’re staying in a pricey Alpine resort. Rather than stumping up €20 for a burger and chips every day, buy sandwich ingredients and snacks in the local supermarket and do it yourself.

However, eating a home-made baguette while sitting in the snow and shivering is a miserable experience, so look out for resorts that have picnic rooms designed for thrifty skiers to enjoy their lunch in the warm and dry. The French resort of Val d’Isère, which isn’t known for having the cheapest on-slope eateries, set the trend in 2016 when it installed a new picnic area – it even has microwaves.





Eating lunch at restaurants on the mountain can add significant expense to a ski holiday


Credit: GypsyGraphy/Getty

4. Be currency savvy

Buying currency at the airport is an absolute no-no; you’ll end up getting the very worst exchange rate. Also avoid using a credit card abroad, as you frequently get stung with a hefty charge. Pre-loading a card with your currency of choice can save money on bank fees and ensure a more favourable exchange rate. The Revolut card, for example, allows travellers to spend in shops or online without a charge. Whether getting money out of a cash machine or using the card to pay, it automatically converts money into the local currency at the best available rate.

If exchanging cash in advance, check out travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com – it can tell you where to get the best rate within a few miles of where you are and allows you to pre-book currency for same-day collection.

5. Swap the Alps for…

Eastern Europe, Andorra, Spain – take your pick. One of the best ways to save money is to forget Alpine mega-resorts and head somewhere lesser known, both in terms of holiday cost and in-resort prices. Eastern Europe has seen huge growth as a skiing destination in recent years, particularly Bulgarian resorts such as Bansko, due to the extremely competitive cost of packages there. This is definitely worth considering – however, if you’re an adventurous intermediate or expert skier or snowboarder you may find the terrain limited and frustrating. Choosing the Pyrenees instead, with resorts such as Baqueira-Beret in Spain, the Grandvalira area in Andorra and the Grand Tourmalet area in France, gives access to varied and challenging slopes at a fraction of the cost of a trip to the Alps. Find this season’s best budget-friendly ski holidays here.





A ski trip to Eastern Europe to resorts like Bansko can help tighten the purse string


Credit: Kempinski Hotel

6. Don’t pay for a lift pass

Instead, look for packages that include a lift pass in the price – major tour operators often add this extra to packages during sale periods. This means you won’t be subject to an unfavourable exchange rate. If you’re travelling independently check the resort’s website as many run special offers or discounted days for those buying lift passes directly from the ticket counter, for over 60s and families for example – in the age of the pandemic, when resorts are eager to discourage queueing at lift pass offices, this is being encouraged more than ever before with discounts available for people who book online in advance.

7. Pick Easter, or Christmas, over half term

It can be tricky for families to save on skiing as they’re constrained by school holiday dates. If risking a fine for taking your children out of school is not your style, choosing the Easter break rather than the February half-term holidays can work out cheaper – and by considering smaller, lesser-known resorts, you can save money twofold. Skiing in spring has lots of advantages, not only is the weather more pleasant but there’s often a packed schedule of events and activities available to keep everyone entertained both on and off the slopes. If you’re keen to be one of the first back on the slopes this season (we don’t blame you) Christmas can also prove to be a better-value time to ski, compared to New Year or half term – plus there’s the bonus of pockets full of festive cheer, free events around resorts and relatively peaceful slopes.





Christmas, or Easter, in the mountains can be much kinder to budget-conscious families than half-term


Credit: Megeve Tourism

9. Get in the driving seat

Literally. Heading to the mountains by car can cost less and it has the advantage of allowing you to stuff your car full of food (and booze), plus it’s kinder to the environment. By booking a self-drive, self-catering holiday you can buy all the sustenance you need for the week, either in the UK or in a hypermarket on the continent, and spend very little in resort. Make sure you know all the essential information about driving in Europe, especially post Brexit, and your car is equipped with winter tyres and snow chains before setting of.

10. Trade the supermarket for an online shop

On a similar note, self catered ski holidays have seen a rise in both popularity and quality in recent years and can offer skiers, especially those travelling in large groups, a budget-friendly alternative to hotels and chalets. Many people are put off by the thought of having to visit a local supermarket when they get to the resort, and the costs associated with buying locally-priced food that may get wasted – or even prepare a shop to take with you from home. Instead, consider using a food delivery service such as Huski, which covers the majority of resorts in the French Alps and allows customers to place orders, as late as the day before arrival, for prepared evening meal packages as well as other essentials for breakfast. Including Alpine favourites such as tartiflette as well as more exotic options like curries all the meals on the menu are cooked from frozen in your apartment’s oven, with minimal washing up ­– the Huski team will even come and stock the fridge/freeze before you arrive so you can make the most of the slopes.