Are you a first time skier? Or maybe you’re strapped for cash but really need to go shred on a budget? For some of us the thought of going skiing can be quite a big expense compared to how much you can spend on other types of holiday, so here we have some tips and tricks to help you on your way to saving.
It’s hard to say but skiing doesn’t come cheap. There are certain expenses that you won’t be able to escape but others are easy to cut corners!
1. When to book
Between the both of us at Mountain & Co we have been skiing for some 20 years and stayed in various places around the world from Canada to France. We have found that taking advantage of reputable ski companies such as Crystal Ski is best either booked way in advance or just two weeks before. This year we decided to book for a New Years ski holiday and looked into booking over the Black Friday sales to get top deals and also 2-4-1 on ski passes and extras. In the end this didn’t happen but luckily we managed to book last minute just two weeks before departing. This was after spending part of a day looking into Crystal Ski deals where we also managed to save £300 pp by booking in the afternoon rather than the morning. So keep a tabs on websites across the day, as you never know when prices could drop. There are also other reputable companies such as Inghams etc
2. Thinking about food
If you are going self catered one of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to take as much dry food with you as possible. This will cut your food costs dramatically as in the mountain food can be rather expensive. Any liquids and fresh foods can be bought in a resort supermarket. Food we took this year included:
- Porridge oat
- Nut bars/chocolate bars
- Dry fruit
- Tea bags/coffee
- Microwaveable rice
- Rowntrees squashed x2 to last you the week in fruit squash
- Water bottle – cheap way to keep hydrated on the mountains
- Toilet rolls –
- Bin bags – as from our experience you never get given new ones
- All toiletries
There is a proviso here though. Certain foods cannot be taken in and out of the EU for example. So you need to check what you can and cannot take with you depending on the specific countries rules and regulations.
3. Looking out for deals on the slopes
Something new starters usually don’t know is that the higher up the mountain you go the more expensive food tends be, so if you want a lunch while out exploring and are trying to save try and eat further down the slopes! Another thing you should take advantage of are any deals that your ski provider may have. Crystal Ski for example have a £5 Crystal card that you can buy which will get you extra money off drinks and food in certain areas/restaurants. If travelling with Crystal remember to make use of your in-resort rep and ask where the best deals across the mountain may be.
Make sure to check out Trip Advisor etc to find out where the best places to eat may be in your resort. It’s a good idea as well to check on the local town’s website to see if they have any free events going on. Sometimes food companies or the local town may host a free breakfast by the lifts or similar. A great (and slightly cheeky) way to save some money!
4. Savvy Aprés skiing
If you want to do a lot of Aprés but you don’t want to break the bank in an expensive mountain bar then you need to take advantage of the good old happy hour. The bars want you to be there having a drink and socialising, so this is a great time where you can grab a few drinks a little cheaper. A great tip if you happen to be driving to resort rather than flying (which by the way is actually surprisingly cheap) is to stock up before you go, or at the base of the mountain where food and drinks will be much cheaper.
5. Internet access
If you don’t have Wifi in your apartment or hotel and you need to get online then there are a few ways to do so on the cheap. Quite a few bars in resorts will host free Wifi so you can go have a pint and surf the web! Another way to get cheap Wifi is to look around for free hotspots. Some resort centres may offer areas in which you can access the internet for nothing, just for being there. For example in Courchevel 1850 this year we discovered that the info point area has free Wifi that was really fast! One last way to access cheap internet is to find the resort information or possibly a library. They usually have a couple of computers where you can access the internet for free or for a small fee. Don’t bother paying for Wifi unless it is already within your hotel/chalet cost as there isn’t really any need to. If you can’t access the internet much while away then you’ll have to remember that the detox from social media can be good for you!
Other things to consider
1. Even though you may book your holiday through a travel company don’t forget that when you arrive to your accommodation most places will ask for a security deposit. This is normally refundable at the end of the week but it’s important to bring the cash or a credit card to pay for this, as some companies don’t tell you about this when booking.
2. Make sure to tell your bank where you’re travelling so if you need to use a credit card it still works and there is no chance of it getting blocked.
3. We have always found it easier to book via credit card as this gives you more protection if your holiday falls through for any reason. Just make sure to pay it back asap! Another thing to keep in mind is booking with a reputable company, and even better if they are ATOL protected, which means you can be reimbursed if for some reason the holiday is cancelled or the company closes for any reason.
4. Don’t forget winter sports insurance! If you break a leg it is needed. Also your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) card is holidaying in Europe. The EHIC card gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
5. When you first enter your chalet/apartment make sure to take photos so that you are not caught out on getting your security deposit taken from you for any previously broken items. Report any broken or tarnished items to your reps/manager of accommodation.
6. Depending on where you decide to travel for your snow adventure, lift passes, ski hire etc will vary in price so make sure to check out various places before you book.
As we said at the beginning, ski and snowboard holidays aren’t cheap, but we hope some of these tips and tricks will help you save some money on your future snowy adventures.
Got any more tips you think we could include? Write us a comment below or drop us a Tweet @mountainandco