How to Plan a Ski Trip on a Backpacker’s Budget

by Guest Blogger on February 20, 2013 · 2 comments

Skiing at Montgenevre

Skiing at Montgenevre (photo: Michael Coiffard)

Traditionally, skiing and backpacking hasn’t been a likely combination, what with the cost of rentals and insurance, not to mention all those pricey restaurants and top-level mountain resorts.

But it’s not always necessary to go with the Michelin-starred option: if you consider alternative locations and travel options you may find you can do a budget ski holiday after all.

The first thing to look at is your destination. You may have heard of the Three Valleys in France and Tirol region in Austria but if you delve further east, there are little-known gems to be found in places like Romania and Bulgaria.

Slovenia shares the same Alpine good-looks as neighbouring Switzerland, but a holiday to Vogel can offer family run hotels within walking distance of the slopes for much lower rates.

For Western Europe, Andorra has always offered a cheaper alternative to France, though recent years have seen redevelopment and raised prices as a result.

However, with its duty-free shopping and self-catering options, resorts like Soldeu are still a good alternative for the backpacker.

Going for the underdog can make skiing much more affordable. Try the French Pyrenees instead of the Alps and enjoy the small, traditional villages around Avajan while you’re at it.


Montgenevre (photo: Will Noakes)

Or avoid the obvious and stay in Montgenevre on the French-Italian border, rather than Sestriere. It’s more family orientated but the savings and the relaxed, low-key vibe may just be worth it.

Some general tips will still help when planning for your ski holidays in 2013. Group travel can have major savings if you split a chalet and share a hire car.

Another way around the budget is to stay within travelling distance of the good snows, without having to pay the doorstep rates.

So access the Kitzbuheler ski area by way of Soll, situated in the middle of ten ski areas, with a doable 1km journey to the slopes via the ski bus.

Bottom line: it’s all about shopping around and getting your timing right. The peak months of February and March are best avoided and if you don’t mind the less reliable snow forecasts, the time for deals is either November or April.

Gear costs can also be controlled by looking out for sales in advance or searching online.

The good news is that ski holidays on a shoestring are perfectly possible, so long as you’re prepared to sacrifice a little convenience and do some bargain-hunting.


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