Skiing is so much more accessible than it used to be, which means it’s no longer an activity just for the rich. Yay! However, as with any holiday, to save money, you just need to do a little extra research to uncover the best deals but trust us: the effort is totally worth it. On your family skiing holiday, you’ll all learn some sweet new skills, travel to a part of the world you might not have ventured to otherwise and experienced the culture, and you are bound to have more fun than you could possibly imagine.
If you are trying to keep costs down on your trip, how can you save some cash without putting a dampener on the fun? Amamaya have come up with some frugal ideas to help you save money on your family ski holiday, which will enable you to be less Grinch and more Buddy on the slopes.
Choose your travel dates carefully
You’ll need to figure out the logistics of when you want to go skiing before you even begin trawling the internet looking at which ski resorts are the best fit for you and your family. Try booking outside of peak season if you can, as this will prove to be substantially less expensive. Remember to check whether the country you’re travelling to has differing school holidays before you book, as this could impact on how busy the resorts are.
So to save money, the most affordable times to get your family ski action are before Christmas in December, the second week of January, and early March (before the Easter hols). Also, if you book flights for during the week, you could save a fair bit of cash on getting out to the mountains.
Don’t follow the crowds
Be a rebel and avoid the Alps. You can save a shed-load of money by heading to a lesser known resort in a destination far from the madding crowd. There are some amazing, family-friendly resorts in Eastern Europe, Spain, Andorra, Bulgaria…with highly competitive rates for skiing packages. The slopes are ideal for newbie skiers & young families, but if you’re looking for a challenge, we’d probably recommend the Pyrenees, which offers more adventurous skiing but without the Alpine price-tag. You can read our guide on the best places to ski with children here.
Book in advance for the best deals
Nowadays you might find that last-minute deals aren’t as good value, particularly when it comes to skiing holidays. You’re much better off if you think ahead and book your holiday months in advance – not only will you save cash, it’ll give you more flexibility on travel dates and save you getting stressed out too close to the trip, which is key (especially when your kids are involved). As well as flights, we’d definitely recommend booking as much other stuff as you can in advance – lift passes, skiing equipment, etc. – because you’re bound to get discounts for doing so.
Bonus tip: It’s not unusual now to see resort allowing kids under a certain age to ski for free – but read the terms and conditions (you don’t want to get stuck supervising them when you’re paying for ski school).
Choose a chalet stay
By booking a chalet or chalet-hotel you’ll not have to fret about having enough cash for mealtimes during the stay. You’ll all be fed a cooked breakfast, a filling afternoon tea, and normally a three-course dinner each day. So all you need to finance foodwise is lunch on the slopes, and (if you’re staying for 1 week) your chalet hosts will have one day off, on which means only one day of fending for yourselves catering-wise. For those of you who are partial do a glass (or two!) with dinner, you’ll be delighted to hear that bottomless chalet wine is frequently included! Hurrah!
Packed lunches for the win
As we mentioned above, you’ll need lunches if you’ve not gone all-inclusive, and it really can be extortionately expensive to buy lunch for a whole family in many of the ski resorts! So, instead of forking out for a mediocre meal every day (that the kids will probably shun anyway, right?), pop to the supermarket and pick up sarnie ingredients and enough snacks to last you the week.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting that you endure sitting on the slopes for a picnic, as everyone will get cold pretty quickly, so instead book a resort with picnic rooms. Lots of resorts – including the swanky Val d’Isère – have realised that these are a great idea, and they enable frugal skiers with families to stay warm and dry while they enjoy their dejeuner. Bon Appetit!
Hire skis, buy clothes
Knowing what you should and shouldn’t buy can save you a lot of money on your family skiing holiday. It makes no sense at this point to purchase everyone a set of skis, especially when kids grow stupidly fast and will soon be needing more. Plus, with numerous suitcases, hand luggage and all the other child regalia you’ve got to cart around, the last thing you need is skis! Not to mention the baggage charges!
It’s perfectly ok to hire all the bulky ski gear needed for the whole family. Hiring skis, poles, boots and helmets, is totally normal & way more cost-effective. We recommend that you buy (or borrow off a skiing friend) the other items: ski jacket, salopettes, gloves, goggles and especially base layers. We’ve written a blog to help you with packing, find it here.
The slopes aren’t just for skiing
Despite us referring to your trip as a “skiing holiday”, we’d encourage you – especially if you’ve got younger children – to take a break from the slopes once or twice while you’re away. Not only will you give everyone’s legs a rest, you’ll be able to save some cash by purchasing shorter ski lift passes. Use your achy limbs as an excuse to go and explore the nearest town or spend the day in the snow building snowmen or sledging! Lots of resorts have other entertainment – bowling alleys, ice rinks, indoor tennis – or you could just hang out in the chalet and play board games and watch some movies together in your comfies
Hopefully, this blog has demonstrated to you that a family skiing holiday doesn’t necessarily mean it has to break the bank. Skiing is such a brilliant skill to learn, a great way to stay active, and you and your nippers will have endless fun adventuring out in the snow. What’s stopping you?! Go go go!
And once you’re out on the slopes, let us know how you get on! We love hearing your stories and seeing your family snaps on Facebook and Instagram. Look out for Amamaya sharing posts about family adventuring, exclusive behind the scenes footage, and sneaky peaks at our new products!