With the recession tightening its stranglehold on the UK, here are some ways in which you can save money on your next ski holiday.
First of all, why not consider a self catered holiday? In this day and age, self catering does not automatically mean tiny studio apartment s with fold down beds and people sleeping in the lounge. There is now a wide selection of excellent large self catered chalets available online, often with hot tubs and saunas. Self catered holidays tend to be quite cheap per person, as long as all bedrooms are filled.
Another excellent way of saving money is to drive to your ski holiday. Cross channel ferries seem to consistently have low prices in order to compete with the budget airlines, and with a full car you will pay a lot less than if you fly – especially over the main holiday weeks.
Another good reason to drive is that you can fill the car with provisions bought in the UK. This will stop you from losing money in resort because of a poor exchange rate. If the exchange rate recovers, having a car will still save you money because it will allow you to shop at the larger (and cheaper) out of town supermarkets rather than the smaller more expensive ones in the center of the resort.
Once in resort, you should consider buying a local area lift pass rather than the full wider area one. Most people tend to buy the most expensive lift pass which covers the greatest area. In reality, for 6 days skiing, the local area is often enough. It is also good to get to know the local area really well, rather than just skiing every piste once in the wider area.
Another mistake that many people make is that of pre-booking their ski hire online. Very often, the prices are no cheaper and indeed are often more expensive than if you walk into a shop off the street, and the equipment they give out is often of a low quality. Furthermore, once you have handed over your credit card details online you are also tied to that one particular shop. A better option is to talk to your tour operator and see what sort of deals they have for you in resort. Chances are they work with a particular shop because of the good service, good equipment and excellent pricing on offer.
In order to keep costs down as illustrated above, it is important to get your destination right. There is no point in planning to economise and then booking a holiday in Courchevel! Resorts such as Chatel, in the Portes du Soleil will help you save money for the following reasons;
1) The resort, although a major ski resort in the world's largest ski area, is actually very reasonably priced since it is still predominately visited by the French – it is an undiscovered treat of a resort.
2) The resort is located in the Northern French Alps so is one of the first ones you can get to driving from Calais.
3) Because all the accommodation is chalet style, there is a huge selection of well priced high quality self catered accommodation.
Although part of the massive Portes du Soleil ski area, the local Chatel ski domains has some fantastic skiing to explore in three main areas – Super Chatel, Linga & Pre La Joux.
5) If you decide to ski the whole area, the lift pass for the whole Portes du Soleil is a lot cheaper than some of the other big domains, sometimes the Trois Vallees or Verbier.
However, all of this does not mean that Chatel is some kind of second class resort. It is a beautiful alpine resort with a highly sophisticated skiing infrastructure in place.
In summary, just because money is tight does not mean that you have to put your annual ski pilotage on hold. You just have to choose your ski resort well.