New Ski Gondola Lift Opens in Bosnia



Patrick Thorne

10 Sep 23

How To Save Money Skiing

Patrick Thorne

10 Sep 23

Alas, it is more and more of a challenge to get an “affordable” ski holiday as external factors including and increased costs associated with everything from higher energy and insurance bills to Brexit and the aftermath of the pandemic continue to add pricing pressure.

But we all need our snow fix and there are still ways to get a high quality holiday for half the price if you are in a position to make some savvy decisions. Many of these are well known to those who have been booking holidays for years, they’re just more important than ever now, others may be things less well known or especially relevant for the upcoming winter 23-24.

Travel Low Season

It sounds obvious and the suggestion always understandable annoys the many who can only travel in the peak school holiday periods but if you travel early or late season in particular, prices can be half that of high season. You may also have a better holiday with the slopes to yourself, no queues and easy restaurant booking.  Just so long as the snow has arrived or not melted away – early/late season book high altitude.

“The best thing you can do is avoid the peak dates,” confirms Xavier Schouller, boss of the specialist French ski holiday company Peak Retreats, who explains, “For instance, peak dates for skiing in France are the dates the French are on holiday themselves; this being 23/12-06/01, 10/02-09/03 and 06/04-04/05. The first two weeks in December, returning on or before 23/12, can be a great time to go skiing. Prices are lower and conditions in high-altitude resorts like Tignes and Les Arcs, can be ideal. The week of 16th Dec is great for those that have children already on their Christmas holidays, which includes quite a few UK counties this season.  Otherwise, if you can travel in January, or in mid March, this is normally when the best deals can be found, and normally when conditions are very good in the French Alps.”

Go To a Cheaper Resort

If budget is tight you’re likely to find better prices offered by a smaller resort you don’t know so well than at one of the famous resorts. But your holiday might be better than ever discovering somewhere new (to you!).

“The bottom end of the market seems to have gone to be honest as it’s just too expensive so we are seeing skiing being a past time of those with wealth. Where once Val d’Isere, Meribel and Courchevel would always be in our top 7 the volumes have dropped back and we are seeing better figures for the likes of St Anton, Ischgl, Obergurgl, Selva, Saalbach etc,” says Nick Edwards, boss of the long established ski holiday experts

Or A Cheaper Country

How To Save Money Skiing

“Try out a country which is new on the UK ski market, such as Bosnia & Herzegovina (introduced last season), where operators will be keen to attract the first skiers to the country, and potentially prices will rise as time goes on,” suggests Simon McIntyre, Iglu Ski MD, who also notes that some of the bigger ski nations can be cheaper than others, adding, “Last season the average price of a holiday to Italy came down year over year and there were cheaper lift pass prices too. For example, last season a 6 day Milky Way (400 kms) pass was around 230 euros (£198).”

“There has been a natural progression away from France, owing to prices, and towards Italy and Austria, where you get better value for money,” agrees Nick Edwards.

Book an Apartment and Fill It

Although you need to be careful with travel, transfer and list pass costs, on which more later, apartments are usually the cheap form of on-mountain accommodation, but don’t leave any empty beds.

“Fill an apartment which is the exact size of your group.  Empty beds are the reason many skiers don’t get the headline price when they book, so find out who is happy to use the sofa-beds in those compact French self-catering digs, and then take it in turns to make the pasta supper!” advises Richard Sinclair of ski holiday company

How To Save Money Skiing

Book Early

It used to be a big thing to get a late booking deal as spare availability was sold off, and sometimes that still happens, but more often these days its better to lock in a price as dynamic pricing tends to drive costs up as the date gets nearer, not down.

“I’d always recommend booking early as this gives customers more choice when it comes to resort and accommodation availability. There’s also often early deals that can be taken advantage of, such as our ‘buy one lift pass, get one half price’ deal on European holidays which is currently running, or the option to spread the cost of your ski holiday,” says Oliver Ward, Product & Planning Manager at Crystal Ski Holidays.

Look for a BOGOF Deal

“Book a package with BOGOF lift pass or similar deal, because it’s the single biggest cost on top of your holiday,” adds Richard Sinclair.

Buy-on-get-one-free deals are increasingly offered by tour operators and sometimes ski resorts themselves to entice bookings, particularly ahead of the ski season. Other offers to look out for are BOGOF deals on equipment hire or free carriage of your own gear on planes.

A growing number of ski areas are also following the American lead of offering cheaper prices if you book well ahead, the same dynamic pricing model as travel tickets and hotel beds. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the social media channels of the resorts you’re considering visiting as “flash sale” reductions on lift pass prices sometimes appear.

For families it’s those all-important free or heavily discounted child places to look out for and a whole lot more calculations to be completed on the cost of childcare and/or ski school.

Do Your Lift Pass Maths

Lift pass pricing has always been complex and never more so than now. For families in particular a 6 or 7 year old child might pay 75% of the adult ticket price at one resort but be completely free at another. With lift passes now costing hundreds of pounds a week at many top resorts, this can be a big factor in the overall price of your holiday and the best lift ticket price deal needs to be added to the best travel/accommodation deal to work out if what seemed a cheaper holiday will actually end up costing more than an apparently more expensive one when you add in the lift pass, or vice versa.

Go All Inclusive

One way to escape much of the maths nightmare is to go all-inclusive, so you know up-front exactly how much you’re going to spend.

“Picking the cheapest package can be a false economy, leaving you needing to pay for food and drinks in a ski resort, which is one of the most expensive places in the world to eat and drink out. It’s also more fun when you never have to put your hand in your pocket for the whole holiday, and can eat and drink as much as you like!,” advises Sno’s Richard Sinclair.

Consider A Different Type of Ski Holiday

There are some options if you’re prepared to consider a slightly different type of ski holiday. In France the not for profit UCPA organisation, represented in the UK by a company called Action Outdoors, runs modern hostel like centres where holidays this winter start from £368pp for 3 nights including full-board accommodation, ski pass and ski equipment hire and under 25’s can ski for a week, all-inclusive, with instruction, from £525.

UCPA was set up back in 1965 to encourage young people to take part in outdoors sports and today provides sport holidays to over 240,000 people a year from a wide range of ages with a huge range of accommodation options.

UCPA offers twelve world class ski resort destinations and holidays are available for all levels of skier and snowboarder, from complete beginner to experienced off-piste and ski touring experts, with everything on offer in between.

Managing Director of Action Outdoors, David Robertson, said: “We’ve got more on offer this season than ever before following our best ever winter last year. Whatever way you try to calculate it out, UCPA holidays offer the best value for money in the kind of resorts such as Val d’Isère, Tignes, Val Thorens and Chamonix. Our spaces get booked out very fast, so it’s crucial to book early and that locks in the best flight prices too.”


We have a regular Podcast called The White Out where we review the latest gear, talk about the latest snow forecast and updates on where is best to ski now, as well interviews with absolute ski legends AND we spotlight a resort every week and so much more.  You can check out our regular podcast here Apple | Spotify | Podcasts or search The White Out on your chosen podcast directory.