So that long coveted winter wonderland ski resort holiday is on the cards, but you have a small to massive problem – you are on a budget. And let’s be fair, skiing holidays around the world are hardly known for their low budget or cheap price tag – however, getting excellent value for money is not a fantasy. And before you close the door on your dream holiday tour tracking through the powder on some of the world’s most famous runs, check out some of the best package deals that you and your travelling companions can enjoy.
Yes there are plenty of slick ski resorts in the world, complete with prices to match, but these big name society headliners have some smaller, more affordable sister lodgings in close proximity; you just have to do a little digging. The beauty of these locations means that just because you are saving a little money doesn’t mean that you are sacrificing on any of the glorious skiing surroundings or getting an inferior quality winter wonderland holiday.
Here are our top 5 choices for the best ski resorts to visit if you are travelling on a budget.
- Les Houches, France
Everyone may have heard of the famous ski resort in France of Chamonix, but not as many people are familiar with Les Houches. Chamonix may be the ultimate ski enthusiasts dream destination, but with a reputation for being the best and possibly the most expensive, it puts many a dream on hold. But at the tip of the bottom of the Chamonix Valley sits enchanting Les Houches. There are plenty of gorgeous boutique hotels and stunning restaurants and all at affordable prices. Plus it is also much quieter than the bigger resorts – so there are fewer queues at the lifts – bliss. There are 47kms of runs and is a popular training base for various ski teams, so you know the going is good. Intermediate and above standard skiers will enjoy the uninterrupted run from 1,860m summit of Khandahar.
- Söll, Austria
Söll is the shy girl in the class next to big time socialite Kitzbühel in Austria, one of the more famous and more expensive European ski resorts. But Söll, you will be delighted to know, shares some of the very same skiing areas as the bigger attention seeking compatriot does. For far less money, you can enjoy all the perks and pistes that everyone else does, as well as the jovial social atmosphere. The only downside is that you will need to grit your teeth and close your eyes, braving the ski bus or get a car to take you to the slopes – but considering the amount of money you are saving, who cares? Soll is part of one of the biggest ski networks – SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixenta, so all levels of skiers should find plenty of slopes to challenge them, with plenty of facilities so you can soak up that Tyrolean charm.
- Andermatt, Switzerland
Let’s put it this way, if somebody at Verbier is grinding pepper on their food, you will be able to hear them, except your food will be a mere fraction of the price. And to be realistic, we are in Switzerland. How often have you hear the words ‘’let’s go to Switzerland for a cheap ski holiday?’’. But Andermatt is an affordable Swiss resort. Decidedly crowd-less, Andermatt has some impressively remarkable stats – like the 2,963 metre high top lift for starters. There are long runs into the village which has a good selection of shops and restaurants and eco lodges and week long passes costing the same price of a beer at neighbours Saas Fee and Zermatt, make this a hugely desirable destination.
- St Martin de Belleville, France
Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens – all ski resort names that will fog up your ski goggles when you mention the prices. High class, super slick and luxurious and certainly not a budget friendly option – but entirely outstanding if you can afford it – lucky you. The average Joes who are in the market for something a bit less, well, outrageously priced, but like the lap of luxury as much as the rest can give thanks for the existence of St Martin. It has outstanding facilities, the breathtaking surroundings of the Three Valleys, access to no less than 600 kms of piste, 6 sumptuous course meals, chauffeurs and every possible bell and whistle the discerning but budget-conscious skier could ask for and then some.
- Lake Louise, Canada
If you want a North American ski experience, you know that the travel element is going to be more than staying in Europe, but it’s good to know there are also some budget ski resorts across the Atlantic, in the USA and Canada. You could do a lot worse than choosing Lake Louise. The resort is in Banff National Park and in one of the largest ski areas in the whole of North America. Described as having 5* facilities at 3* prices, Lake Louise covers over 4,000 acres and offers 139 runs. With excellent snowfall, early season prices are affordable and attractive. Ski-ing is for all ages, with gentle slopes ideal for beginners and families. Accommodation choices include the huge Chateau Lake Louise and a selection of charming inns and lodges.
Smaller and more budget friendly ski resorts may be the very answer for beginners or families travelling together, who want to enjoy a variety of activities like snowboarding and exploring the charming local towns, doing a spot of shopping and sightseeing as well as hitting the fluffy powder every day.