The 8 Certain Ways to Save on Your Next Ski Holiday
Follow the code, and you'll be making your money go further
But we are delighted to be the bearers of some pretty epic information – it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.
The tips in this series combined with a little bit of research before you go will ensure you are laughing all the way back from bank after checking your post-holiday balance. [part title="When to Go Skiing... (Avoid the School Holidays)"]
If you can avoid school holidays, do so at all costs. Not only will the price of your holiday be up to 50% cheaper, you will also save yourself the pain and anguish of lengthy lift queues and crowded slopes.
Even better, if you can afford to be completely flexible and are not afraid to gamble, then the last minute deal offers some unbelievable value. Booking the week before your departure can land you in a chalet with people who have paid up to four times more than you.
Most of these deals are done on allocation on arrival which means you will know nothing about where you are going, bar the country until the eleventh hour. You might even hit the jackpot and end up in luxury accommodation in a top notch resort.
Brides les Bains, for example is a 30 minute gondola ride from Meribel but offers you the chance to ride one of the best areas in the world for a fraction of the price.
For the ultimate resort guide check out the Whitelines Location Guide. [part title="How to Get to the Ski Resort: The Cheap Flight vs. The Package Holiday"]
The allure of a cheap flight is pretty strong. In fact sometimes it seems too good to be true. And to be honest where skiing is concerned it often is. If you’re opting to book all of the elements of your ski holiday separately you need to beware that lowfare airlines charge through the roof for baggage.
If you take a look on Ryaniair's website and find a cheap flight from Stansted to Memmingen (just outside Munich), then work out the costs to the nearest ski resort, then the additional costs were a bit of an eye opener.
Ryanair will charge you £50 for a 15kg bag and a staggering £100 for your skis – ouch. In addition to this cost, you have to fend for yourself when it comes to getting to resort from the airport.
As a general rule, Austrian resorts are pretty well serviced by public transport. French resorts are not so easy to get to. A transfer to Val d’Isere from Lyon for example will set you back a minimum of €100.
Make sure you do the research before you leave on how much it costs and how long it takes to get from your destination airport to the resort.
Self-catering deals are always a draw due to the lower price tag. But I will tell you this now:
Contemplating cooking a meal after a day on the slopes with several après ski pints on board will fill you with dread and you’ll either end up eating cereal and toast all week or saying screw the budget and eating out every night.
If you are motivated to cook, you should beware that nipping down to the local shop is not like nipping out to Tesco. Yes it will offer similar food options but with price tags you would expect to see on jars of caviar in Harrods.
Tour operators offer really good half board options that include breakfast and dinner. The food at the lower end of market might not always be gourmet but generally you’ll be treated to hearty meals such as spag bog and goulash that hit just the spot after a day on the mountain.
A collection of snowboard jackets at Snowboard Asylum.
It’s all about balance when it comes to choosing gear. Aldi may claim to kit out an entire family of four for under £150, but there is no such thing as a free lunch. You will regret scrimping on gear when you are freezing your tits off on top of the mountain, trust me I’ve been there done that and it was no walk in the park.
You can find out more about the latest snowboard gear on Onboard.
Nice Goggles, but probably not needed for your first ever trip.
Outdoor shops will offer huge discounts on ski gear at the end of every season so if you can tolerate wearing last season’s gear then that is a great time to buy. Good gloves and socks are also a good investment while items like goggles and helmets are always good to items to borrow as their uses above and beyond your week long holiday are pretty limited.
If you intend to buy these items then don't be scared off by the top end of the market. Of course, these items have their uses but are aimed at the pros rather than the have a go heroes. Top brands offer more wallet friendly products that are perfectly adequate for your first, second or even your third ski holiday.
This seems a little bit more in the price zone of a budget holidayer.
If you want to check out some cut price gear for your holiday, see Whitelines' Classifieds.
[part title="Discount Ski Rental"]
There is no doubt that the package holiday can offer exceptional value. But one thing to be wary of are over-enthusiastic reps who will try to sell you anything and everything from the moment you book your holiday. Ski rental, lift passes, lessons and pub crawls. You name it, if they can sell it to you they will.But if you are savvy you can easily avoid this money downfall.
Take ski rental for example. A little bit of research before you go can end up saving you a packet. Most resorts offer discount rental shops that offer last season’s gear for a fraction of the price. Websites such as www.best-price-ski-rental.com are a good place to start as they will provide a benchmark from which you can compare individual quotes.
If you are travelling with a group don’t be afraid to call or email the shop and haggle for a group discount. The bigger the group the bigger the discount. If they refuse a discount, hang up that phone and try the next shop. Resorts are jam packed with rental shops, the majority of which will be very keen to get your business.
Preparing a packed lunch will save you a fortune and also allow you the flexibility to picnic on some of the best spots on the mountain. Don’t be afraid to be cheeky either; if you have booked a half board package you can take advantage of those cheese and meat heavy breakfast buffets and make up a couple of sarnies fit for a king.[part title="Booze on the Cheap"]
Last but not least, après ski is one of the most important aspects of a ski holiday and can never be overlooked. Anyone who has been to France will know that the cost of beer alone can be enough to bankrupt you.Thankfully Austria and some of the lesser known resorts across Europe are not so bad.
‘Seasonaire’ is the secret code word for getting cheap booze around resort. Although beware, this will work less and less as the season progresses as the barmen will be pretty familiar with most of the seasonaires in resort.
If you want to find out more about the World's Most Expensive Beer, check out Brewdog.