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How to do a family ski holiday on a budget

Read on to discover advice and tips on how to save money on your family ski holiday.

If you’re a parent and an avid skier, there are few greater joys than watching your kids fall in love with cruising across freshly groomed pistes in the same way you once did. 

However, the cost of additional passes, gear, and accommodation for an extra one or more little skiers can make a skiing holiday prohibitively expensive for many families.  

But it is possible to do a family ski trip on a budget, you just need to be selective about when you go, where you go, and where you stay. 

Below, we explore the most affordable ways for parents to take their children skiing while still having a fantastic holiday, including the cheapest resorts, types of accommodation, and times of year. 



How can a family ski cheaply?

Here is everything you need to consider if you're looking at how to do a family ski holiday on a budget, from low cost resorts to sourcing cheaper gear. 


1. Consider the best budget family ski resorts


It’s not just the supply of pistes that’s larger in the big name resorts - every imaginable expense, from food and drink to passes and accommodation, is likely to be much higher. 

That’s why the single best budget-friendly decision you can make is to book a ski trip to a smaller, less well-known resort

If you still desire the familiarity of the Alps, Livigno in Italy (which enjoys a special tax status), the bijoux Austrian resorts of Filzmoos and Alpbach, or France’s St Gervais are all great options. 

If you’re up for going a bit more off-piste, why not explore somewhere like Slovenia’s Kranjska Gora or Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Bjelasnica, both small resorts that are great-value alternatives to the Alps. 

And for a Nordic family ski holiday, why not take a look at Beitostolen in Norway for great value, comfortable, self-catering accommodation?

You could also choose to stay in one of the smaller villages in the bigger resorts, such as Les Menuires or La Tania near the Three valleys, or Montchavin near La Plagne. 

While the likes of La Tania and Montchavin offer lower cost accommodation than their more well-known neighbours, bear in mind you’ll still have to fork out for a pricey pass if you want to explore their extensive ski areas.

However, some offer cheaper, local passes that give you more limited access to the mountain. 

The key thing to note is that you shouldn’t see staying in a small resort as a sacrifice. As well as cheaper food, hotels, and passes (some even offer free lift passes to children below a certain age), you’ll get to enjoy quieter and more beginner-friendly pistes that are perfect for children to build their confidence on. 

We’ve written a full guide to the best family ski resorts, which includes a blend of budget and non-budget ski resorts. 


 St Gervais gives you access to Megève and the vast Evasion Mont Blanc ski area 


2. Consider what time of year is cheapest for a family ski holiday


If your children haven’t yet started school, you can avoid peak holiday dates like Christmas and Half Term, which are generally more expensive - mid January is usually comparatively cheap. That said, there are often good last minute deals to be found for Christmas and New Year in December.

In the same vein, a lot of late season deals tend to pop up in April, which, depending on when it falls, can be convenient for an Easter holiday ski trip. Many ski resorts, including Port du Soleil and those in the Three Valleys, drop the cost of their lift passes in mid to late April.


3. Look at what board type offers the best value for a family ski holiday


The initial cost of staying in a self-catered apartment will be cheaper than a chalet or a nice hotel, and you’ll have full control over your food budget if you make all your own packed lunches and evening meals.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that ski resort supermarket prices are vastly inflated, so, unless you’re in a position to drive in with supplies bought elsewhere, you might end up spending more than you would otherwise have done in a catered chalet or hotel, where breakfast, dinner, and drinks are (depending on the board type you choose) included. 

That’s not to say that will always be the case, but it’s worth doing some research on the price of everyday goods in your resort of choice and seeing how it stacks up against meal-inclusive accommodation before you book.


4. Look at how else can you make a family ski holiday cheaper


The little things can add up. Here are a few other top tips for saving money on your family ski trip:


  • Hiring ski gear - if this is a one-off ski trip, or you’re unlikely to go again for another few years, you can hire clothing like jackets and salopettes rather than buying everything outright. Prices can be as low as £30 for a week.
  • Find lift pass and ski hire deals - families can often get great deals on ski passes, whether that be free child passes, or through pre-booking your lift passes in advance. For example, the Three Valleys family pass allows everyone, adults included, to access the entire ski area at the child price. You can also save money on your skis and other gear if you pre-book your rental online before you arrive, and you may be able to secure a discount for a big group booking.
  • Look for shared transfers - if you choose a holiday that doesn’t include transfers, make sure to book a shared transfer option from the airport to your resort, which is always cheaper than a private hire vehicle.
  • Book a group lesson - similarly, group lessons will work out cheaper than private lessons - you can usually book a group lesson according to ability and a good ski school won’t have any more than about 8-10 people in a class. As an added bonus, you and your children might make friends with the other skiers in your groups.
  • Find all-inclusive deals - if you choose an all inclusive package deal, which includes ski hire, ski pass, lessons, food, drink, and airport transfers, you can control your budget by knowing exactly how much you’ll spend on the whole holiday before you go. Not only could this be cheaper than booking everything separately, it’s much less effort. For example, Club Med (France’s home of family all inclusive) operates in some of France’s best-known resorts, such as Meribel and Les Arcs.


5. Look out for great family ski holiday deals


If you’re on the lookout for the best budget family ski holidays, you’re in the right place. Iglu Ski is your one stop shop for family ski deals. 

Whether you want to find a great price on a family-sized chalet in a big Alpine resort or you’re up for going off the groomed piste and exploring a lesser-known resort, we can help you find your perfect ski holiday. 

We have deals on catered and self-catered chalets, hotels and apartments in resorts across Europe and beyond, as well as fantastic all-inclusive deals that include everything from flights to food. 


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