14 ways to get cheaper skiing holidays
All the cool kids go on skiing holidays. Sadly though, taking to the slopes can cost a pretty penny – good thing we've got loads of cost-cutting tips, then!
Being an avid skier and a perpetually skint student can be a bit of a tricky combination, with a seven night holiday easily totting up to £500 per person. Ouch!
What's more, these figures often don't even include some of the skiing mega-essentials, such as your ski pass and equipment hire.
Don't panic though – we promise you'll see some snow and you will go to the ball! Our top tips below are sure to save you some cash.
Saving money on skiing and snowboarding holidays
Book well in advance
Hopefully we're not too late letting you in on this tip! If you know when you'll be jetting off, make sure you look up prices well in advance and book as soon as you're able to.
You might be tempted to think a last minute deal might save you a few bob, but this doesn't apply to the ski season – the longer you leave it, the higher the prices get.
Do your research
This might sound like a no-brainer, but basically the worst case scenario is finding what you think is a great ski holiday package deal, stump up the cash, only to find that you could've got a much better deal if you'd bought your flights and accommodation separately.
The key is to take an hour our two of your time (or more) to compare the offers out there. Don't forget to factor in other expense like accommodation, travel to and from the slopes as well as ski passes when you're doing the maths.
Proof, as if proof were needed, that doing your research pays off comes in the form of Chelsea 'Travel' Dickenson.
She's pretty much the world's leading expert on how to get cheap holidays, and as part of her mission to go on 10 holidays in a year for the same price as the average Brit's annual vacation spend, she did a lot of research. Listen to our interview with her on our podcast!
Go with uni or in a big group
Nine times out of time, the cheapest way to get a holiday is to go with a big group. You can usually get some great deals with a group discount, and skiing trips are no exception.
Not only is it cheaper to go with a society (or a group of friends), but it can also be more fun. You'll be with a crew that's likely to be up for a good time, and your après ski is well planned out for you.
Use the snow conditions to your advantage
If you do end up leaving your booking to the last minute, the one way you could wrangle a discount is if the weather isn't looking so hot (or cold... whatever).
A low snow level which isn't showing any sign of improvement you can be used to your advantage.
If the ski company hasn't already reduced its prices as a result of this, make the case to them that you shouldn't be expected to pay full whack for the use of just half of the ski runs.
And if you're not confident that you'll be able to persuade them, check out our guide to haggling and getting results!
Choose your destination carefully
France and Switzerland consistently come out as some of the most expensive skiing destinations, so why not opt for somewhere a bit off-piste (like what we did there)?
Europe is jam-packed with amazing places to ski, so there's really no need to stick to the big name ski hubs. Skyscanner have put together a great list of cheap skiing destinations, which helpfully includes the average cost of a drink, too!
Although, if nightlife isn't quite your thing, then staying in a slightly smaller village away from all the action and bars will be even cheaper still.
Test out ski gear for free
Earlier in the ski season (from around late October to early December) loads of resorts host events where skiers are able to test the latest equipment from big name brands completely free of charge.
This is suitable for everyone from first-time skiers to pros, as brands want you to use their latest equipment and give as much feedback as possible before the season properly kicks off.
Go at off-peak times
As well as keeping an eye on the snow conditions, always try to book during off-peak times. As a student this should be a lot easier for you, as your schedule tends to be a lot more flexible than people who work full-time (unless you've got a tonne of essays and exams, of course).
Try not to go around Christmas or New Year's, as these periods are always priced at a premium. The beginning of December is often a good shout, while the end of February is decent too. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of snow!
And, there's no better advice than avoiding the school holidays – both in England AND for the country you're visiting (do your research)!
Try getting a student discount
As far as we know, there are no major companies or resorts offering student discount – or, at least, none that will make a huge difference to the cost of your trip (a few companies offer student skiing holiday packages, but these seem to be more expensive than just finding good deals yourself).
That said, there's no harm in asking the hotel or ski company for a student discount – even if they don't explicitly say that they offer one.
This may have a better chance of working if you're in a large group of students, as they'll probably just be happy that you're willing to book so many slots as once.
Worried that you won't be able to talk them round? Check out our guide on how to haggle and win!
Borrow skiing gear from a friend
Skiing gear can be extremely pricey (not just to buy, but to rent too) so you might find it massively bumps up your costs.
If you have any friends who regularly go on skiing holidays, ask them if they wouldn't mind you borrowing their gear in exchange for a nice home-cooked meal (or something else that's both cheap and heartfelt).
If you're planning on making a habit of this skiing lark, it's probably worth looking into the cost of buying the gear yourself as opposed to renting every time. This stuff ain't cheap, but it can work out cheaper than renting in the long-term.
Watch your spending money
Work out a daily budget before you leave. Better still, pop it on a prepaid credit card (or one of these app-based bank cards!) with a good foreign exchange rate – that way, you'll never go over your holiday budget, and you'll spend less on shady transaction fees.
If you're in a group, it's also worth seeing if people are interested in taking turns cooking each night rather than eating out regularly. It can be fun and you'll save a packet!
Book your skiing lessons wisely
When you're booking skiing lessons, think carefully about how many lessons you'll actually want or need.
While you obviously don't want to under-book, you might not need one every day – and paying for lessons you don't use will be a real waste of cash.
Also factor in any heavy nights you might have, as getting up for a morning lesson afterwards will be hell on earth (and you'll definitely need one of our hangover cures).
That said, if you're confident that you'll be fighting fit throughout your trip, it's best to book lessons in bulk as you might get a session for free (or at a discounted rate).
Befriend ski reps
If you get networking while you're out there, you never know what might happen! Not that we're suggesting you should use your irresistible charm to exploit your instructors – just be your friendly self, and karma might throw in a good word.
And if you don't manage to get a free lesson or two out of it, you'll at least have made some good friends!
Find the best exchange rates
Although exchange rates make for some of the most boring conversations known to man, again it's well worth spending a bit of time to find out where offers the best rates.
To get the best bank for your buck, compare the market. As we mentioned earlier, a prepaid credit card is likely to offer you a good foreign exchange rate (as are app-based banks), and we've got the best of the rest of your options outlined in our guide to spending abroad.
Get the best value travel insurance
When it comes to holiday insurance for your trip to the slopes, the first thing to know is that you really do need it.
Secondly, skiing insurance comes with a premium so it tends to be a bit more costly – because, unfortunately, the chances of you needing to use it are a bit higher when you're throwing yourself down the side of a mountain every day. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the cheapest travel insurance deals don't often include ski cover.
Thirdly, you can save a wad by comparing ski insurance deals which still provide you the same necessary cover. Start with our guide to cheap student travel insurance, but remember not to go too cheap and get cover which doesn't fully... well, cover you!
So, if you’re determined to ski come rain, shine or snow, use these tips and head straight for your favourite search engine to have a real hard look for the best deals out there.
Oh, and one final note that's worth us reiterating! Beware of the "student ski holiday" – it's likely to throw up what is marketed as a cheap package, but there are often hidden costs and the resort is usually not ideal.
Looking to get away this summer? Check out our list of the best student holidays for under £200!