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How to Save Money on a Ski Holiday

Organising a family ski holiday on a budget, saving money on a family ski trip

There is no getting around the fact that skiing can be an expensive holiday and getting ready for a family ski trip needs a bit of extra prep as I explored in my last ski post packed full of tips for organising a happy family ski holiday.

But there is nothing that beats the sense of achievement, the snowy mountain scenery, the feeling that you have absolutely well land truly earned every last morsel of the apres ski delights – fondue, hot chocolate, cake, mulled wine, frites.

A ski holiday is an incredible adventure to have as a family, but you don’t have to ski every day for it to be a ski holiday!

How much skiing should we do?

I think a lot of people still think a ski holiday is all or nothing – that you have to get really into it and not just dabble in it –  and that you have to spend the whole time skiing for it to be worth it. I disagree, I’ve been skiing three times now, each time pretty much as a beginner, because each time was about ten years apart.

I don’t consider myself a skier particularly, but I don’t see myself as a complete novice either, and having been a few times I can see it is the sort of thing you can totally do once and get lots out of! It’s much easier to pick up than I expected and very rewarding. You will absolutely be surrounded by people of all abilities.

The first time I skied a German friend left me at the bottom of the nursery slope to get used to it, I swore and cried a bit and then I did it, I was stunned. It was like a step up from sledging, not the tricky art I thought it would be. That was just a day in a two week stay in Germany, but it was still a wonderful ski holiday in my mind because I skied for the first time!

The second time, as a teacher on a school trip, I loved the nursery lessons alongside my students but the first blue run came a little too soon for us. A whole week of skiing was exhausting and crazy fun, looking after kids made it especially full on and it really did feel like being on a schedule.

The third time we had a lovely teacher who totally got where we were at, unfortunately she could only be there for one day, and on the second day we realised we didn’t have passes for the runs she had suggested so we stupidly agreed to do a more challenging run with some of the other bloggers on our trip. We did it and they looked after us brilliantly, but it was very tough, you can read about it here.

That was a long weekend, with just two mornings skiing, and that felt exhilarating and lazy and relaxing in just the right measure. I loved pottering in Morzine – which was found to be the cheapest of French resorts – shopping, eating in cafes, admiring the scenery from the hot tub and lazing on the sofa, and long lazy dinners. It didn’t feel rushed like the school trip schedule.

I think you could say I have learnt lots of lessons about planning ski trips from being thrown into trips planned for me by others!

Plus, today I’ve asked some of my ski loving family travel blogging friends to share their tips for saving money on a ski trip:

Quality over Quantity Ski Lessons

Last post I shared how it’s never too late to go as a family, and that learning to ski together with tweens and teens can actually be a great bonding experience and more relaxed, especially if you share a private teacher. I wouldn’t scrimp on teaching, it is so important to feel you are progressing at a pace you are happy with, but do shop around, read reviews and don’t overbook yourselves. It is tiring!

A great goal might be simply to try skiing and enjoy everything else the resort has to offer, not to ski yourself into an exhausted heap!

Book early

If you can allow yourself plenty of time to shop around, compare deals and bag the best dates at the best resorts. School holidays can be competitive. More tips for choosing a resort in my last post and ski deals here.

Consider a term time break

Schools take kids on ski holidays because ski holidays are incredible learning experiences. If you think you can square it with the school or at least know whether or not a fine is likely, then I would really consider dipping into term time dates.

Take advantage of regional school holidays

‘Check the school holidays for ski resorts – so make sure you’re not in France when it’s their school holiday etc but also look for regional differences in the UK as you can pick up good deals from regional airports where the local schools aren’t on holiday but you are.’

Nicola, Globalmouse Travels

Don’t just ski!

‘As a family of five on a tight budget, we’ve thought a lot about how to save money while skiing. If lift passes arent included in your package, then perhaps do some alternative family activities on some of the days to save money on expensive downhill skiing. We tried ice hockey for a few euros which included tuition, and also paret skiing. We danced at an ice skating disco frequented by locals at the ice rink. Mountain biking on actual snow has got more sophisticated in recent years and you can rent fat tyres or electric ski bikes and strike out on your own.’

Kirstie, Family Adventure Project.

Self Cater

‘Go self catering! Chalets are SO expensive, and way more food than you could ever eat. I’d also say take a sandwich out on the slopes as piste restaurants are notoriously expensive. If you go often, I’d recommend buying your own ski boots and helmets (though not skis, as those need maintenance and cost a lot to transport). They’re expensive to buy, but you’ll save on hire costs over the long term if you go more than a few times.’

Helen, Actually Mummy and my co editor over at Space In Your Case.

Self catering places are also more likely to accept your booking mid week, which may make flights cheaper too. Or why not explore Airbnb and Skyscanner and DIY your holiday. Or ask around for chalets that offer self catered weeks.

Kid’s snow gear keeps it’s value

‘My friend ALWAYS bought her kids secondhand skiwear from eBay – we don’t get enough snow in the UK to warrant it, it’s pointless buying new for just one or two trips before they grow out of it. She’d then sell it and buy the next size up for equivalent money each year.’

Laura, Little Stuff

Borrow ski gear

‘Ask around to borrow ski wear. Often people will have used something once and forgotten about it. I lent a friend two pairs of kids ski trousers that they had outgrown for her recent ski trip. I had completely forgotten they were in the back of cupboard until she mentioned on Facebook she was looking for two pair!’

Erin, Yorkshire Tots 

It doesn’t matter if you decide you don’t want to ski every year, and that once is enough, it really is something you can enjoy as a one off. But who knows, you might get the bug. But until you are sure its worth not over-investing in kit.

Look out for special lift pass deals

‘Check resorts for offers on ski lift passes before you book. We have saved money this way, especially for the kids.’

Emma, Bavarian Soujourn


Do you have any money saving ski holiday tips to ad?


Image credits: Shutterstock – Skiers

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