All Women's Talk

8 Tips for Affordable Ski Vacations ...

By Neecey

It’s winter, the snow is coming and thoughts turn to ski vacations. Generally, ski vacations don’t come cheap. On top of the travel and accommodation costs there’s ski passes, equipment hire and special clothing, and maybe a few lessons too, if you’re a novice. But winter sports holidays are exhilarating and wonderful. The swish of skis or snowboards as wonderful scenery sails past is truly breathtaking. Here’s some ways to make winter sports holidays more accessible with some tips for cheaper ski vacations.

1 Perfect Timing

OK, time now to start booking that ski vacation you’ve been going on about all summer. With your pile of glossy brochures for ski vacations scattered around and list of Internet links you’ll soon be on the first step towards your dream destination. Before starting to look, it’s best to check out the off-peak seasons in various destinations, as well as dates of their local school holidays because remember we are looking for affordable ski vacations and don’t want to pay premium rates during their high season time. Also it’ll make for quieter skiing. Make a list of pros, cons and costs of each vacation and do look out for any bargains on offer like ski passes … yes add those to your pro list.

2 Brave New Territories

I know jetting off to those famous resorts in Switzerland or France is what you are dreaming about, but these will be wildly expensive and we are actually looking for affordable ski resorts. I promise you that there are loads of lesser known resorts scattered all over Europe and where you wouldn’t even think of looking. I bet you didn’t know that pretty Zakopane in Poland is an excellent skiing hub with a great value ski pass or that Bulgaria is a great place for beginners as well as being at the lower end of the price scale. Otherwise look at the many bargains on offer in Slovakia for your winter sports vacation. You might even consider Chile or Argentina for ski vacations. Perhaps these are too far away? Closer to home some of the lesser known US resorts offer great value such as Snow King Mountain near Jackson or the Badger Pass resort with its magnificent views of Yosemite Valley and equally important is that their ski passes are only $42.00 per day.

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3 Choose Your Flight Wisely

Don’t get caught up in the rush for a budget airline as they tend to have lots of hidden costs such as extra charges for skis and snowboards, etc. Whereas with standard airlines, most of them do not charge extra for these additional items, e.g. Swiss Air, Virgin Atlantic and Air Canada.

4 Know Your Discounts

Equally important to reduce the cost of ski vacations is to look for all the discounts on offer – don’t forget the ski resorts are also caught up in the current economic downturn and will try anything to get as many bookings as possible. Offers such as early bird ski passes, and discounts for students, disabled people, families, long stays, big groups, etc. will all help to add to your list of pros.

5 The Higher You Stay the Higher You’ll Pay

I know staying in a chalet or hotel high in the mountains would be fantastic and is the ideal of perfect ski vacations as you’d be able to ski from right outside your front door but don’t get caught out. These chalets and hotels are way higher in price than those further down the mountain. Many of the lower slope ski resorts offer free bus transfers to the nearest ski lift as well as to nearby resorts.

6 Budget Your Après Ski

Try not to be carried away by the atmosphere of après ski drinks on ski vacations. Those tiny glasses of Glühwein at 4 Euros per gulp that are considered an ‘essential’ part of your après ski experience will soon eat into your carefully budgeted vacation spending money. Of course by all means go once just for that ultimate experience but if possible try to create your own après ski party, especially if you’ve booked self-catering accommodation. Try sitting on the slopes in your snow-proof clothing while drinking your own home made Glühwein and admiring the fantastic mountain views at the same time …. what possibly could be better?

7 Cost Cut Your Gear

If you don’t have your own ski gear, don’t be tempted to buy or rent from your resort – these will be expensive. As soon as you can, grab a second-hand bargain from eBay or Craigslist as this will prove much cheaper than hiring. Many people buy new gear before their winter sports vacations and then have no use for them afterwards, so start looking now for these nearly new clothing. Don’t be put off if they seem a bit old fashioned … who cares … they are a bargain!

8 Tinker with Your Timing

Another money saving tip for affordable ski vacations is to knock off a couple of days from your ski pass and instead of skiing the marked slopes on these days you could do cross-country skiing around the surrounding areas - this won’t cost you a cent and makes a pleasant change from ski slopes. This tip is more for the experienced skier, and you should always let people know where you are going. Talk to the local ski instructors about the best routes to take.

It does require a little time investment to make ski vacations affordable but it is worth it. Winter sports holidays are thrilling, are taken amongst some of the most glorious scenery and the nightlife of apres ski is jolly good fun. Who’s going skiing this season?

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