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Guide to Cheap Skiing 2.0

clock 16th January 2014 | comment0 Comments

January can be a financially tight month but offers some of the best skiing of the season. With this in mind, and in our ongoing efforts to help more people hit the slopes, we've refreshed our Guide to Cheap Skiing. And if you're looking for a cheap last minute holiday be sure to check out our Top Tips for Last Minute Skiing.

Cheap ski deals are a bit of a misdemeanour as skiing is never cheap. By the time you have added your travel, accommodation, lift pass, ski hire/carriage, lessons (if needed) and food & drinks in resort, you are often lucky to get away with spending less than £1000. That's not to say that with good planning, realistic expectations and a bit of luck you can of course get a great deal, saving a small fortune.

People often flock toward the likes of Bulgaria and Andorra for a cheap ski break, but the realism is they are catching up with the rest of Europe year-on-year for price, yet the ski areas are not always as snow-sure or as challenging as the more renowned resorts. Andorra's lift pass prices are catching those of France, at £180, and the airfares to Bulgaria mean it often costs more than a cheeky week to a more renowned resort with a shorter flight.

Having taken into consideration the resort costs, including lift pass & ski hire, the holiday costs and the ski areas, I have put together an indication of where the best value cheap ski deals currently lie. There are a couple of self catered apartments, some value chalets and an all inclusive package, to give you a good indication of what to expect and where to look. Bargain hunting for cheap ski holidays starts as soon as the winter is over, so you now don't need to hold on in hope of getting a last minute deal.

To keep things fair and comparable I have looked at mid January, traditionally the cheapest time of the season where the resorts are fully open and for arguments sake have kept to London(ish) airports.

Cheap Self Catered Ski Holidays

Self catered holidays can be a false economy due to the cost of food in resort, though sneaking some dry foods and packet mixes into your suitcase can help with this — student-style skiing! But if you are there for the skiing and/or the nightlife, accommodation is often at the bottom of the list, therefore squeezing into a 20m2 apartment with three friends won't bother you in the slightest. 

Having kept to the dates mentioned before, you might be surprised to hear that the resorts of Avoriaz, La Plagne and Alpe d'Huez topped the list for accommodation costs and reasonable lift pass prices. Okay so €5 or so a pint may be the main downfall here, but there are some great value places to eat in both these ski areas. Pizza Roll in Alpe d'Huez is well used buy the underpaid resort staff and at €3 a pizza who can blame them. In Avoriaz ski down the Les Marmottes restaurant in the Lindarets valley for some great value mountain food — which will be much appreciated if a diet of pasta and sauce is on the menu in the evenings!

Alpe d'Huez offers 260km of great skiing, a glacier, Europe's longest black run — the 16km La Sarenne — the infamous Le Tunnel's moguls and the great value Quartier des Bergers Apartments apartments. The lift pass is £165, but includes use of the both the heated outdoor pool (budgie smugglers required), the indoor pool & sports centre and the resort bus, the ski & boot hire is from £75, ski carriage is £17.50. The cheapest ski deal here is again on the 18th January on a flight from Gatwick airport at £276 per person, based on four people sharing — the cheapest deal, but slightly higher resort costs.

  • Accommodation, flights & transfers: £266
  • Lift pass: £165
  • Ski carriage: £17.50
  • Ski hire: £75
  • Total (inc ski hire): £506

The Cassiopee apartments in Belle Plagne often offer great value, whether getting an early summer deal or a last minute cheap trip you can find prices here for sub £270 per person (based on 4 sharing). The lift pass is around £235 for the Paradiski Unlimited pass and ski hire is around £85 for skis & boots and ski carriage is £35. The best price at the moment from Gatwick airport on the 7th January for as little as £285 per person, based on four sharing a four person studio apartment — offering cosy but low cost accommodation.

  • Accommodation, flights & transfers: £285
  • Lift pass: £235
  • Ski carriage: £35
  • Ski hire: £85
  • Total (inc ski hire): £605

Cheap Chalet Ski Deals

Chalet holidays can actually offer better value than staying in an apartment, due to the fact most of your catering is covered (the staff have one night off during your stay). You are usually given a hearty breakfast, afternoon tea and a three course evening meal with wine. If you have good chalet hosts you can usually have a large breakfast with cereals, a cooked option and some fruit, then make yourself a cheese, ham or jam sandwich for lunch (though do this quietly as you are not supposed to) and ski back for tea, coffee and cake at 4pm and still have time for an aprés ski beer.

Based on out-and-out price, the Chalet Alice in Les Deux Alpes offers fantastic value. Again using a Gatwick flight the price for two people in a twin room is only £354 per person on the 25th January. So the difference in cost to have two full meals and afternoon tea, with only one evening not catered, is just £103 pp. Les Deux Alpes is a student favourite, offering good nightlife, glacier skiing and reasonable resort prices — the lift pass is only £190 and ski & hire is again around £85 and ski carriage is £35.

  • Accommodation, chalet board, flights & transfers: £354
  • Lift pass: £190
  • Ski carriage: £35
  • Ski hire: £65
  • Total (inc ski hire): £609

For a great overall deal, great value on the mountain and the chance to ski two countries in one holiday, then the Chalet Quatre Saisons in La Rosiere offers fantastic value. The ski area sits toward the end of the Tarantaise Valley, opposite Les Arcs and bordering Italy. Skiing down to La Thuile you can enjoy fantastic mountain food at great, Italian prices, giving great savings throughout the week. This time based on a flight into Gatwick and with two people sharing a twin room the price stands at £295 per person — at £180 for your lift pass with ski hire from as little as £55 (or ski carriage for £39) you are looking at £530 for a week with everything bar lunch and one evening meal paid for!

  • Accommodation, chalet board, flights & transfers: £295
  • Lift pass: £180
  • Ski carriage: £39
  • Ski hire: £55
  • Total (inc ski hire): £530 pp

All-Inclusive Cheap Ski Deals

Over in Les Deux Alpes, there are some ridiculously good value all inclusive deals with the Club Med Les Deux Alpes, though if you fancy a different resort the Club Med Arcs Extreme often has comparable prices. Club Med offer something different to the typical British ski holiday, first of all they are French run, owned and styled hotels, though they have English speaking staff. If you are here for the skiing and not the resort nightlife the hotels have everything you need. The price include accommodation, transport, all inclusive meals and drinks (apart from champagne etc), lift pass, ski school and on charter flights ski carriage. You can ski back to the hotel for lunch, a beer or a snack, the bar is open until early until the early hours and there is entertainment for all ages. If you head out on the 26nd January you are only paying £1084 per person, based on two sharing — this means if you have your own skis you don't have to spend another penny (apart from travel insurance) and if you don't ski hire starts at £104 pp.

  • All-inclisive accommodation, flights & transfers: £1084
  • Lift pass: £0
  • Ski carriage: £0
  • Ski hire: £104
  • Total (inc ski hire, lessons and all drinks): £1188

Whilst this deals is great last minute value, Club Med also offer terrific Early bird savings of up to £200 pp so booking early is highly recommended.

In a quick round-up, here are the overall price comparisons for the best value self catered, chalet and all inclusive for seven nights:

  • Quartier des Bergers Apartments including lift pass and ski carriage is £431 pp and with ski hire is £506 pp.
  • The Chalet Alice including, chalet meals, lift pass and ski carriage is £544 pp and with ski hire is £628 pp.
  • The Club Med Arcs Extreme including ski carriage and all-inclusive is £1084 pp and with ski hire is £1188 pp.

So depending on how much you expect to spend on meals both in your accommodation and on the mountain, whether you are heading out into resort to party, fancy a glass of wine over dinner, or want the freedom to enjoy a drink whenever you fancy, depends on what works out best for you. Self catered are cosy, but low cost, chalets are comfortable, yet good value and Club Med include everything you need for a great price.

* The prices in this article were correct at time of publish, though are subject to change at anytime.



Ski Yourself Fit This Season

clock 7th January 2014 | comment0 Comments
Burgers, Chips and Beer Yummy Cake & Bread




Christmas is over, you’ve eaten your bodyweight in turkey (not to mention all those Mince Pies!) and now your jeans are feeling a little too tight. Now, you’ve got a ski holiday booked and you’re worried about all that indulgent mountain food – Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue. ‘How am I ever going to get in to shape again?’, I hear you cry. Well, never fear, all that skiing or boarding you’re about to do may just allow you to eat whatever you want without having to worry…


Snowsports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles. Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.


When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins which lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.


Cake Sausage & Bread




So how many calories does skiing / snowboarding burn?
Skiing or boarding for 6 hours can burn a whopping 2000 - 3000 calories, depending on your age, weight and height. With that in mind, it may take a lot less time than you think just to burn off that mulled wine and 3 Wiener Schnitzels you had for lunch…


Fondue Pastries for Breakfast




Here are a few examples of some popular, hearty ski foods and drinks with an estimate of how long it takes to burn off each one (each food portion is based on a 300g serving).


Food / Drink Approx. Calories Approx. amount of Skiing / Boarding it takes to burn it off
Tartiflette 550 1hr 18mins
Fondue 793 1hr 54mins
Apfelstrudel with Custard 548 1hr 18mins
Käsespätzle 885 2hr 6mins
Germknödel 458 1hr 6mins
Raclette 1000 2hrs 24mins
Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Cheese 700 1hr 42mins
Goulash Soup with Bread 468 1hr 6mins
Tiroler Gröstl 758 1hr 48mins
Wiener Schnitzel 750 1hr 48mins
1 Nutella Crepe 579 1hr 24mins
3 Glasses of Mulled Wine 820 2hrs
3 Pints of Beer 546 1hr 18mins
1 Mug of Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows and Whipped Cream 321 48mins

Chocolate Fountain Drinks & Choccy Biscuits




Health Tips for Skiing & Snowboarding
The amount of calories burned while out on the slopes are immense and give you reason to feel less guilty about what you consume après ski. A day in the mountains can be exhausting and you will find yourself needing to consume more food in order to feel energised. If you want to know about the best foods to eat in order to keep you powering through, we’ve created a little guide below.


Healthy Canapes Healthy Salmon




  • Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal and if you want to set yourself up for a day of skiing / boarding then don’t skip it! Eating in the morning will kickstart your metabolism and give your body the fuel it needs to get through those first few runs. A protein heavy breakfast featuring plenty of salmon, ham or eggs is ideal, as it will keep you full for longer. Throw in some carbs, such as bread or potatoes, and your energy levels will be all set to go.

  • Mid-morning snack – Top up your energy levels mid-morning with a granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. It’s light enough to digest while still skiing, plus it should give you that little extra boost. Remember to keep hydrated too and to drink as much water or fruit juice as you can.

  • Lunch – Lunch is a great time to rebuild your energy. Think carbs and go for a baked potato, pasta, or a whole whole-wheat sandwich. Soups and salads are a great option too as they are packed full of healthy vegetables. Avoid too much fried, greasy food as this will sap your energy levels and leave you feeling groggy. Before hitting up the piste again, try and allow 1 hour to digest your food. If you try and get skiing again too early you risk getting stomach ache and even feeling a little dizzy – not good when navigating slightly more complex runs!

  • Mid-afternoon snack – If you feel tired again mid-afternoon, grab another granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. Fruit is another great, light option too to help keep you going until the evening.

  • Dinner – By the end of the day, your muscles will be tired and will need some good food to help them recover. Eat plenty of protein again – cheese, chicken, red meat – and some more carbs – bread, pasta, potatoes – to restore your energy levels.


Feeling in the mood for a ski trip now? Check out our Last Minute Ski Holidays 2014.


Happy skiing, snowboarding and eating, everyone!

Healthy Canapes



December/January Ski + Snowboard Events in Popular Resorts

clock 13th December 2013 | comment0 Comments
Ski Events Calender Dec 2013/Jan 2014

1st-21st December 2013
Advent Magic in the Park - St Anton, Austria


Escape the Christmas rush this year and visit the picturesque resort of St Anton in the mountains of Austria instead. The start of the month saw St Anton don wonderful Christmas decorations, complete with open fireplaces and wonderful themed areas, getting visitors into the festive spirit. After a hard day out on the slopes, visitors can take part in a selection of fun activities such as designing greeting cards, indulging in delicious festive cookies and listening to recitals of traditional Austrian Christmas stories and poems. This event is perfect for adults and children alike with plenty to keep the little ones entertained – namely a festive trail and craft workshops with the resident elves!

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


Week 1: 14th–21st December 2013, Week 2: 8th-15th February 2014, Week 3: 29th March-5th April 2014
Ibiza Rocks The Snow – Meribel, France


Enjoy a touch of Ibiza on the slopes this winter, with the organisers of the infamous Ibiza Rocks music festival. Combine skiing and snowboarding with some wild après ski and cracking live music over the 8 day festival. The festival runs three times over the season starting on December 14th and finishing on April 5th 2014 with performances from artists such as Kissy Sell Out, Mistajam and Clean Bandit.

To see our Ibiza Rocks the Snow deals click here
Igluski Blog: ‘Ibiza Rocks Is Bringing the Heat To Meribel’
For more information and to buy tickets click here




16th December 2013-14th April 2014
Kissy Sell Out - Various Resorts, France


Looking for some wild après ski? Then look no further – electro DJ Kissy Sell Out will be playing at various resorts around France this season. The tour kicks off with an appearance at Meribel for Ibiza Rocks the Snow, followed by further appearances at Les Deux Alpes, Val Thorens and Val d’Isere.

For a full list of dates and to buy tickets please visit individual resort websites. To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here
To see our ski holidays in Meribel click here
To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here
To see our ski holidays in Val d’Isere click here


21st December 2013
Synchro Ski World Cup – St Anton, Austria


Watch skiers from around the world compete in this entertaining competition in which competitors much complete each run in pairs. The full competition runs from morning till evening, beginning with qualifiers and ending with the final run.

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


2

21st December 2013
Ice Skating Gala “Les Etoiles De La Glisse” - Courchevel, France


Elegant figure skaters from around the world will gather to perform in this spectacular ice skating gala at one of our favourite resorts. Watch the performers execute graceful moves while donning wonderful costumes against a backdrop of impressive lighting effects. Perfect entertainment for all the family!

To see our ski holidays in Courchevel click here


21st-27th December 2013
Christmas, A Magical Week – Courchevel, France & Magical Xmas – Val Thorens, France


Spend a magical Christmas abroad in France this year, with plenty of festive entertainment to keep you occupied in between riding the slopes at both the Val Thorens and Couchevel resorts. There will be workshops for the little ones, live music and shows, torchlight descents and to top it all off, a visit from Father Christmas himself.

To see our ski holidays in Courchevel click here
To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here




22nd December
World Snowboard Day – Les Deux Alpes, France


Celebrate World Snowboard Day this season at the fantastic Les Deux Alpes resort. Spend 24 hours exploring breathtaking backcountry runs, carving up the slopes and trying out some jibs in the freestyle park.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here


25th December 2013
X-Mas Events – Les Deux Alpes, France


Fancy spending Christmas somewhere a little different? Spend your days riding the slopes, then relax with a glass of mulled wine, a great choice of festive food and epic fireworks to wind down the day. There are also a selection of Christmas markets and a special street parade on Christmas Eve, complete with a visit from Father Christmas.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here




31st December 2013
Tignes Fire Mix Party – Tignes, France, Val Tho Crazy Night – Val Thorens & NYE – Les Deux Alps, France


What better way to see in the new year than on the slopes, combining adrenaline fuelled runs with wild après ski. This New Year’s Eve, Tignes will play host to the Fire Mix Party, featuring a range of top class DJ’s, fireworks and an open air nightclub. It’s time to don those thermals and party into 2014! Val Thorens will also play host to some great NYE entertainment with plans for torchlit descents, ski and snow freestyle shows, live music and fireworks to see in the new year. Finally, Les Deux Alpes will also be spending NYE in style. With a giant firework (and champagne cork!) display and plenty of lively evening entertainment, this celebration provides the perfect end to a day out in the snow.

To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here
To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alps click here
To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


31st December-20th February 2014
Night Carnival – Val D’Isere, France


Experience beautiful illuminations, spectacular ice carvings and comforting hot drinks between your skiing and snowboarding adventures at this winter festival in Val d’Isere. With plenty of market stalls to explore and a host of evening entertainment, you’ll never be stuck for something to do.

To see our ski holidays in Val d’Isere click here




4th-25th January 2014
Ladies First – St Anton, Austria


Take advantage of a range of wonderful off-piste skiing, ladies-only concessions and plenty of goodies during this ladies week at the St Anton resort. Some of the great offers available include one day of lessons completely free of charge if you book a ski course with Arlberg Ski School. The resort are also offering 20% discount on all ladies slopewear and sportswear. Finally ladies, pick up your special voucher book from any of the Tourist Offices around St Anton for a range of surprises and further special offers, including the chance to win a week’s summer holiday for two!

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


5th January 2014
Savoie Snowboard Tour – Val Thorens, France


Why not take a break from carving up the slopes of Val Thorens to watch this regional 8 circuit snowboard competition. Local competitors under the age of 20 will participate in this event which aims to promote promising new talent as well as the sport of snowboarding.

To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here




7th-9th January 2014
X Speed Tour – Tignes, France


The X Speed Tour is a celebration of high speed skiing and is organised by the world record speedskiier, Xavier Cousseau, who made the headlines when he achieved a top speed of 131.89mph. Watch the thrilling ski demos and if you’re up for it, then you can even have the chance to try and beat the record yourself!

To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


12th January 2014
Moguls French Cup – Tignes, France


Visit Tignes on the 12th January for a chance to watch some spectacular skiers compete in the French Mogul World Cup. With breath taking jumps, tricks and high speed runs fins some inspiration from these talented thrill seekers!

To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


19th January 2014
World Snow Day – Les Deux Alpes, France


January 19th plays host to World Snow Day and what better way to celebrate than with a day spent carving up the slopes at Les Deux Alpes. With a Snowboard half-pipe competition, sledging, free of charge skiing lessons and a chance to try a jump onto the Big Air Bag, amongst other things, you’d be mad not to join in! After a day spent exploring all of the adventurous activities, take some time to relax with hot wine and live music from one of the many bars on the resort.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here



Next month: Fun Festivals, the Freeride World Qualifier and an attempt at the World’s Longest Jump!





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