Top tips for booking a budget ski holiday
- Credit: Archant
If family or friends’ have just returned from a week in The Alps or Pyrénées and you’re tempted to book for next year, but the cost is holding you back, checkout our super-savers guide for getting all the family out onto the slopes…
Short but sweet option
The first step to getting your family out on the slopes is planning ahead. When you're booking think about a long weekend rather than a full week. This will cut the cost of lift passes, ski hire plus food and drink which is an essential part of après ski. This is also just enough time for learners to find their feet and progress from the nursery slopes to a green run before heading home.
Lookout for autumn deals
Keep an eye out for deals at the beginning of September. Operators often entice early bookers with free or discounted lift passes, free lessons or complimentary childcare.
Travel by train
Cut the cost of travel, along with your carbon footprint, by not flying. The romantic sounding Eurostar Ski Train, from £160 non-peak adult return, has become a popular choice for British skiers. Twice a year Eurostar opens its ticket sales. In July you can book from London to the Tarentaise region of the French Alps. The popular service provides direct access to Tignes, Courchevel and Les Arcs.
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Hop aboard the Snow Express coach
You can also travel by the Snow Express coach for £99 return from London including luggage and ski carriage. Snow Express offers a weekly service every Friday to more than 40 resorts in the French Alps, returning on the following Saturday.
Driving to the Alps via Eurotunnel is perfect for friends who can share the motoring, but don't forget your snow chains and factor in about £80-100 for tolls. Eurotunnel Folkstone to Calais return - from £148 and ferry.
Fly on a Sunday
If you have to fly, why not enjoy a quiet Saturday on the slopes by making your changeover day a Sunday? Grenoble Alps Isére airport is now open on this day offering easy access to Vaujany and Saint Pierre de Chartreuse via Ben's Bus shared airport ski shuttles from £42.20 return.
Choose a value-for-money resort
Expert advice is to stay away from the swish resorts from Val d'Isere to Méribel where everything is expensive and find one at altitude with a selection of pistes to suit your level and offers that little extra for children and non-skiers. These include:
- Luxury for less at Megève which is becoming popular due to its vicinity to Geneva (70-minute transfer times to the slopes).
- Les Menuires - affordability is the watchword at this purpose-built resort as the whole family can ski at the children's rate when booking a six-day family pass (€816.00 for a family of four).
- Jaunt to Jura - one of the best resorts for children is Vaujany, part of the massive Alpe d'Huez ski area, and stay in a traditional Alpine chalet style apartments for as little as £28 per night with PowderBeds.
- Peace in the Pyrénées - choose from family favourites such as Font Romeu and Peyragudes and Piau Engaly where you can stay at the Skylodge for only €17 a night.
Other money saving tips include:
- Beg, borrow or rent your kit especially if you're a first skismart.co.uk
- Try to have a few lessons at a snow dome in the UK before going as this will save time and money on the slopes. snowdome.co.uk
- Enjoy a free mountain guide when you book selected Mountain Collection hotels in Les Arcs and Val d'Isere with Neilsen. neilsen.co.uk/ski/france
- Take a packed lunch to avoid high costs in mountain restaurants
- Take advantage of school ski trips where youngsters can learn in ski school rather than during your family holiday
- Prepared to be flexible as last minute deals are perfect for skiers with date flexibility.