Ski holidays can be expensive, many added extra’s you have to consider compared to a conventional trip, it is off putting.
Once you go on your first trip it’s hard to resist, even with the high end price, Skiing is just pure fun.
Past ski trips have been costly, That’s why I decided to look into if its possible to do a Ski trip on a backpackers budget.
I managed to pull it off and wanted to share with you some handy advice that I picked up along the way.
Next time you get the urge to chuck yourself down a piste, follow these simple money saving tips and enjoy an affordable skiing session.
Travel in Bulk, go with a group.
Many European backpacker/expat magazines (In London check out TNT Magazine) run cheap Ski trips for rock-bottom prices. It’s possible to do this by filling up block amounts of buses and maxing out cheap chalet apartments.
In student groups, a ski pass is cheaper when purchased in larger volumes.
Also, if you are a student why not look out for student associations who also run similar heavily discounted trips in Europe and they will most probably pick you up from your University dorm as well which is an added bonus.
I recently Went on A student Ski trip to the French alps for £295 and all I had to do was buy food and supply my own equipment which if you already have, can be a really affordable trip. Bulk buy in mass amounts is a great way to afford a ski trip.
Travelling alone or in small groups of 2-4 people can be expensive, but seeking out the above method and tagging along with a mass organized trip can really affect the price dramatically, grab them if you can find them.
Once you have Transport, Ski pass and accommodation covered providing you have your own skiing equipment, there isn’t that much extra to fork out providing you can remain frugal.
Also, these types of trips can be exciting and a great way to meet new people who want to ski/board. Everyone is up for a good time and the experience will be epic. Pretty much party, party, party (ApreSki!).
If you’re not too fused about the ski resorts destination, and remain flexible, then you can also end up with a good price, looking further a field to Bulgaria for example can be a much more affordable ski destination as the demand is not so high compared to the post popular spots across Europe.
Bring your own supplies of food.
Ski resorts are hard to reach places, it’s hard to deliver supplies which increases shop prices. Local convenient shops have no competition and can charge whatever they want, expect high prices.
I took along a week’s worth of instant noodles, alpine bars and ground coffee, which come to around £10 for a week’s worth of food, not bad. You find local shops charge higher prices for meat and salads, however, in France local beer, french bread and chocolate is not so badly priced.
Bring along your own basic food to cut costs, then stock up on the cheaper items when you arrive. Beer and wine were cheaper in France to buy at the resort, compared to back home, this saved me having to carry it all the way too.
You can ask if your tour bus will be stopping off at a large French Supermarket to stock up along the route, this is also another money saving option.
You can also get together with your roommates and cook in bulk, maybe you could split up the cooking days and share it out equally and then that person has to bring enough for everyone. Smart and simple to sort out if you know who you are sharing your room with in advance you can put together a cooking rota.
Eating out can be easily avoided, this can add up very quickly if you decide to do this every day. Ski resorts can charge up to £15-20 for a fully loaded pizza and a small beer and this can break the bank quickly.
Go self catering and cook yourself, normally organised bulk trips come with catering option rooms.
Borrow Ski Gear
If you don’t have your own gear, need not worry. Ski gear sits in a wardrobe until you go skiing, It sits there not getting used so why don’t you ask your friend if you can borrow their gear?
Most people don’t mind if you borrow their boots and skis, but please promise to compensate them if they get damaged and do offer a small contribution such as a bottle of French wine for being nice. But at least it will be a lot cheaper than buying new equipment that will hardly get used and be a lot cheaper than the rental price.
You can also try Car boot sales/flea markets/ garage sales or Ebay to seek out unwanted Skis for a small price compared to rental prices, then you can sell them after use.
Insure only what you have to
Skiing without travel insurance is pure stupidity, make sure you get it. Paying for annual ski insurance and only going skiing for one week out of the year can also be expensive.
Purchase Ski insurance separate from your normal Travel Insurance, not as an added addition to your general policy. This brings your general policy rate down. For one week skiing in France my cover was around £25 which is a perfect amount for the reassurance it gave me in case of an emergency.
It would have added an extra £50 to my yearly policy if I was to add Ski as one of my extreme sports, Would have saved me money if I planned on going skiing for a month but as I only travel once a year it’s cheaper to purchase individually for this trip.
Bring sun screen
Ski resorts are a death trap for sun cream, as there is such a demand for it, they charge whatever they want, can you blame them? You will need it so buy it at home and save on the overly-priced ski resort prices on sunscreen.
arrange to ski Early or late into the season
Peek times in the season mean the best snow conditions and this makes the rates higher, take the risk and ski in March/April and you could grab yourself a bargain. It’s risky as past seasons in Europe have seen these months to have no snowfall at all but in recent years the conditions have never been better so take the gamble and ski later on into the season.
Find free WiFi
Turn off your 3G Data plan, it’s expensive and you will find it hard to get a connection anyway. WiFi seems to be impossible to find on Ski resorts as they normally team up with WiFi providers at a charge per use rate system. You’re probably staying in the cheapest chalet in town so free Wifi will not be an option so look out for bars or cafes offering free WiFi. Normally they are happy for you to use it whilst you enjoy a Euro Espresso then you have the password for the rest of the week, be frugal and seek out free WiFi, paying for it can quickly add up, but hey! Your skiing! Log off the internet for a while!
Bring Walkie talkies
Phone use abroad can add, you will need to communicate with a handful of people so why not bring your own walkie talkies to communicate with each other? Much cheaper than over priced phone calls and you can meet up again if you get lost. Ask around on Facebook if anyone can let you borrow a pair or rent them out for the duration of your trip and split the cost with your friends.
Use YouTube instead of hiring out expensive instructors
If you have never been skiing, then you have no way out of it but to take lessons, learn from the professionals.
If like me, you have been skiing for a while and just want some tips and pointers to improve yourself why not use YouTube? It’s full of helpful videos on how to do tricks and moves whilst skiing, you can download them onto your laptop and come back to them every evening to see how you’re getting along. Little crazy, but an idea to think about for sure.
If you haven’t skied for some time and want some recap lessons, why not travel to an indoor ski or dry slope centre close by to have a one day catch up session, this will give you confidence when you get to the real deal and won’t cost a lot and avoid eating into your real slope sessions when you hit the mountain.
Make the most of Happy hour.
It’s quiet around 4pm-5pm, many bars will host a happy hour Apreski, make the most out of it! After a long day of skiing, nothing beats a nice refreshing taste of a cold beer and when it’s half price it tastes even better.
Ski bars can be expensive, so start the party when it’s happy and then stop when it hits sad hour (an hour after happy hour). Skiing takes a lot of energy so you might want to cook up a meal and hit the sacks. Work your party around the Happy hour and save big.
If you decide to party on after it’s been Happy then pick up some cheap beer from the local grocery store and carry on the party in your Chalet balcony. Also make sure you keep an eye out for any deals using four square or using a special bar card which your ski rep will hand out at the start of the trip which might save you even more money.
Simple rules to follow, but very effective methods on saving cash in order to make your ski trip more affordable. Do you have any more tips to add? I would love to hear from you, post in the comment section below, thank you.