When most people think of skiing holidays they think that it will be a pricey affair but with a bit of smart preparation and some savvy budgeting skills, skiing needn’t be prohibitively expensive.

Ski gear

You don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet before you even get up the mountain. New skiers should ask friends for their gear! Buy them a card/flowers/a bottle of wine as a thank you, take care of their threads, and you’ll have more money to spend on the slopes. Failing that, Surfdome has some great discounts and of course, there’s always TK Maxx. 

Where should I ski?

One of the mistakes a lot of skiers make is buying an expensive ski pass which provides access to a huge interlinked ski area. While these are worth the money if you plan to ski a different area every day, beginner skiers would do far better to find smaller resorts, or nearby villages, with cheaper ski passes. Be aware that many villages are interlinked and may offer a full area ski pass; make sure yours is a local area ski pass.

If you’re based in the UK, then we can’t recommend heading to Scotland enough. Glenshee has beautiful powder and you won’t need to break the bank to get there. The nearest airports are those of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee and cheap fares are available through many of the budget airlines.

Other resorts that offer good value for money include many of those in Eastern Europe such as Bansko in Bulgaria, Zakopane in Poland, Vogel in Slovenia, and Les Menuires in France.

Where to stay and what to eat?

Check out the youth hostels and Airbnb. They offer accommodation at a fraction of the price of chalets and your typical ski hotel. We saw prices starting at €16 per night at Hostel pod Voglom in Slovenia and Airbnb often have rates starting at £20 per night.

Wherever you go, check out the kitchen facilities beforehand, then do a supermarket shop and whip up your own delicious and nutritious meals. Saving is all about planning in advance and if you plan a few cheap meals then you’re going to be quids in.

When to go?

It will come as no surprise that the most expensive times to ski are when school’s out. Skiing over the Easter, half-term and Christmas breaks can cost around £600 more over a week (per person) so if you can avoid it, do. That’s trickier with children, however, there are plenty of good deals for families so speak to a range of ski travel operators to check what’s available.

The best tip that we can give families who will be skiing during peak times is to book early. It’s risky to wait for a last minute deal and actually there are less of these about than there used to be. If you book early, you’ll have cheaper accommodation options available to you too.

Stock up on booze and pre-drink in your accommodation and/or hit the bars during happy hour

At the swankier resorts a pint of beer is eye wateringly expensive and buying a round can give you heart palpitations. Spending €50 on one round is easily done but everyone wants to have fun on the mountain so what do we do? Try and limit your daytime drinking to a couple of beers, get loads of good skiing in, finish early and hit the bars during happy hour!  

Of course, pricey beers are less of an issue if you head to Eastern Europe where beers cost on average £2. In Jasna, Slovenia beers cost a bit less and you can drink to your heart’s content. Just remember to rehydrate.