10 tips to save money on your ski & snowboarding holiday
There are holidays that the budget conscious among us take and then there are ski holidays. Often thought of as the Winter break for the rich, ski holidays are dismissed out of hand as being an unnecessary extravagance. But the reality is that by following these 10 simple money saving tips, your dream ski holiday could easily become a reality.
1. Book early
Some things are just plain common sense and booking any holiday early falls into this category. It’s a good idea to check out a ski resort’s website for some “earlybird offers” that may offer considerable savings. Many resorts will even throw in some free equipment rental or free ski lessons for those that book early.
2. Ski off peak
As with booking early, this tip applies to any holiday, whether it’s on a sunkissed beach or a snowbound mountain. The peak season is usually during the Christmas and New Year holidays and the month of February but booking in early December when the resorts have just opened for the season is a great way to find some excellent deals.
3. Shop around for equipment
Unless you are a regular skier then you will certainly have to rent your equipment for the slopes. While resorts will usually offer what seems to be a good deal on equipment rental, the best deals are more often than not found in the ski shops in the resort town. It’s also a good idea to consider hiring your ski gear at home and taking it with you on the trip as your local outdoor store won’t be charging resort prices, but remember tip 4.
4. Does your airline have a ski baggage charge?
If you have your own equipment or have chosen to rent in your hometown, then you should ask your flight carrier what the extra charge for carrying ski equipment will be. With each individual airline setting their own charges this may also be something to take into account when booking your flights.
5. Choose accommodation wisely
An on piste log cabin with a heated boot-room might be just what you had in mind but if you’re planning on making any savings then a privately owned apartment or chalet can be considerably cheaper than a resort owned property. Resort towns will usually have a few low cost hotels and guest houses while there are also many rooms for let in private residences.
Check the local tourism board’s website for a list of registered landlords or book with ski holiday specialist websites such as ChaletWorld or Interactive Resorts which has coverage of both hotels and chalets in most popular resorts.
6. Purchase lift tickets online
Many first time skiers fall into the package trap. Booking a package deal may seem like a good idea at the time of booking but even greater savings can be made with just a little time and effort.
There are websites such as liftopia.com which offer huge discounts on ski lift passes in resorts all over the world and with ski lift tickets being one of the costliest expenses on a ski trip, this could really make a difference to your holiday budget.
7. Use public transport
Airport transfers arranged by hotels or resorts are rarely cheap as the journey from airport to resort is usually at least an hour or more. Taking public transport instead can save you some money and need not be as bad as you may expect. Many buses and trains serving resort areas will leave directly from the airport and will usually have storage space for ski equipment.
8. Join a group class for lessons
If you need to take lessons then joining a group class is considerably cheaper than individual lessons. It also pays to shop around and check a few different schools in the local area to find the class or deal that best suits you.
9. Eat in
If you’re on a budget then the chances are you won’t have chosen an all inclusive package so you will need to take care of your own meals. Shopping at a local supermarket and preparing your own simple meals in your apartment or room will cut down on your eating expenses a great deal. It’s also a good idea to bring a packed lunch with you when you hit the slopes as mountain top restaurants can be very pricey.
10. Go out during happy hour
It’s nice to get out after a day on the piste but Après-ski is an expensive cost that can easily get out of hand. If you’re on a budget it’s probably best to enjoy the skiing by day and get an early night but if you need to unwind then go out during happy hour and with competition for customers quite high you may find some very good 2-for-1 offers.
Try out these 10 tips if you’re thinking of planning a ski holiday and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much cash you can save by being smart and organizing things in advance!
Author Bio: Contributed by Niall Tomas – a (very amateur) snowboarding geek – working as a writer for the independent snowboarding holiday guide.