cost of living crisis



Patrick Thorne

12 Oct 22

Ski Holidays in the Cost of Living Crisis

Patrick Thorne

12 Oct 22

We all love to our ski holidays and are so addicted we’re prepared to do whatever we can to get on the slopes each winter. There’s never been any denying that skiing and snowboarding aren’t cheap though, and this season we seem to have a perfect storm of rising cost of living crisis at home, while the cost of ski holidays are hit by everything from rising fuel costs to the weak pound. But we’re probably all going skiing anyway, so here’s some advice on how to make the financial pain less severe.  

Ski Holidays in the Cost of Living Crisis

© Chris Dunne

Aim Low (Season) … If You Can

Timing is key for low prices with pre-Christmas, much of January then springtime typically cheapest. Of course, for families tied to school holidays, they may not be options, but Ski Solutions boss Craig Burton advises

“Consider looking at pre-Christmas or Easter as opposed to New Year and February half-term when slopes are at their busiest, and prices highest. At Christmas, some schools will break up early enough to squeeze a bargain early-season trip in before the festivities begin. Breaks at Easter are typically at least 25% cheaper than the same holiday at February half-term.”

Self-Drive, Self-Catering Is Usually Cheapest

If you’re prepared to drive to the Alps, you’ll usually save money if you have a full car, particularly if you have your own equipment you can carry as well, saving on rentals or carriage on a flight. The fewer in the car the saving per person diminishes on, say, a midweek low-season flight booked way ahead – assuming you can keep airport transfer and the other add-on costs down. Apartment holidays cooking for yourself usually cost the least, again so long as your party fills the apartment. Companies that specialise in this kind of holiday include Erna Low.

Do You Need to Be In A Famous Resort?

Typically, you pay more to stay in a “world-class” resort and less to be based somewhere less well known. If you don’t actually need hundreds of kilometres of slopes, perhaps consider a smaller place – you’re likely to get a higher-quality holiday for less. If you do need hundreds of kilometres of slopes, you can usually compromise by staying somewhere cheaper linked into the same circuit (although probably not on the lift pass cost – unless you stay in Cervinia to ski the area shared with Zermatt. La Tania, St Martin de Belleville and Brides-les-Bains are usually more affordable bases for a Les 3 Vallées holiday for example. Companies that specialise in this kind of holiday include Peak Retreats.

Ski Holidays in the Cost of Living Crisis

© Evgenia Kirpichnikova

Include Everything … Or Nothing

Sometimes you can save money by buying a holiday package with all elements included and discounted for the “bulk buy” – other times you save by avoiding buying things you don’t need.

“Try to find companies that sell the basics such as accommodation, with the option of upgrades and bolt-ons, such as transfers, catering, driver service, stocked bar, shopping, cleaning, lift passes, ski hire and even flights, etc. This way, you can pick and choose what services you want and tailor your package to suit your needs and budget,” advises Jamie Purkhardt of Ski Peak, who offer just that.

There are fixed-price all-inclusive options to consider too of course, which can include food, drink and all other costs, so you can feel like you’re on holiday rather than worrying about the euros every time you stop for a snack.

“Consider areas where drinks or lunches on the mountain are much cheaper, as in Italy and Andorra, or hotels where drinks and lunches are all included in the holiday price,” says Melvin Westlake, Inghams’ Head of Winter Product Manager.

Ski Holidays in the Cost of Living Crisis

© Daniel Frank

Limit The Lift-Pass Price

Lift-pass pricing is a very big part of your total ski holiday cost, and the prices have never been more “fluid”. It’s hard to give clear advice, but look out for online deals, consider buying early as some offer discounts if you book months before winter or just shop around.

“Resorts such as Le Grand Bornand in the Aravis and Combloux in the Evasion Mont Blanc are good choices, but there are plenty of other resorts without the price tags of places like Val d’Isère,” says Tim Andrews, founder of chalet rental specialist OVO Network.

Resorts even offer free or heavily discounted passes in very low season to encourage visitors, and some tour ops offer discounts to encourage bookings.

For families it gets much more complicated as different resorts offer free tickets or discounts starting and ending at different ages, as does the size of the discount offered. We really need some sort of live calculator … 

“Val d’Isère has just recently announced that children aged up to seven years qualify for a free lift pass; previously it was up to aged five. At some resorts, those from 60 or 65 might also qualify for a free or discounted pass,” Craig Burton adds.

There’s lots more to consider too of course, the options on rental vs purchase of your gear, ski school or guiding, childcare, insurance and whether to buy your skiwear cheaply at the supermarket, perhaps better quality but last season’s from TK Maxx, or even forget buying and rent high-quality from  

It’s always going to be a maze of options to work through, but once we make it onto the slopes it should all feel worth it, we just need to renew our focus and effort to get there as affordably as we can.