Can you do a "cheap" family ski holiday?

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  • Can you do a "cheap" family ski holiday?
  • wrightyson

    Or will it be some kind of b and b hell hole in the middle of Andorra! Been on about it for a while now but never really been able to afford it! Kids aged 9 and 6 and with the wife that makes three total novices. Is it worth spending a bit more as it’s our first time??

    Bulgaria is cheap, but receives very mixed reviews!

    Crystal and Neilson do some really good all in deals for beginners. Check ’em out!

    Oh, and Serre Che FTW! 🙂

    Premier Icon bruk

    Sorting out cheap flight via Easyjet/Ryanair and picking a small resort near Geneva and going self catering can be reasonable but nothing matches coming back from a great day on the slopes to warm cake and tea in your chalet. If you do end up eating out it is pretty expensive.

    Lift passes are expensive but if 3 are total beginners then you may not even need passes for them for the 1st few days as a lot of nursery slopes are pass free in some resorts.

    Last minute booking with esprit? Esprit ski are great ….but not cheap. But you get what you pay for. Avoid crystal they are crap bulgaria has limited slopes. Esprit ski has good food good chalets and we will be going with them until our daughter no longer needs lessons or child care. Did i mention esprit?
    Dont go in school hols, busy and they ramp up the price


    Worth sorting yourself out with a reasonable package deal for the first time, can recommend Crystal Ski anywhere in the Alps.

    If you don’t already subscribe to it, go to the travelzoo website and sign up for theit weeekly top 20 email, they find some excellent deals and email them to you. I’ve had several good hols this way

    Can you do a “cheap” family ski holiday?

    No, spend a bit exrta so they enjoy it and want to go back! Learning to ski is hard work, don’t ask them to cook, clean etc after a day of lessons.
    Book a reasonable chalet and get good ski school – then thats the key!


    If it’s ure first hol then spend a bit more on a nice place to stay / suitable resort, I would say makes a difference, ( ure in there a bit and good food and comfy rooms are a must) also get plenty of lessons dry slope or snowdome it doesn’t matter, it will pay off when u get there, I would use crystal or neilsons as they are pretty good and very good at in resort help if it’s ure first hol.
    p.s I wished my parents would have taken me when young 🙂

    Book a reasonable chalet and get good ski school – then thats the key!

    Or a hotel.

    For the best ski school I know, see here;

    Lessons are available if you book a Neilson all in package. Very, very much recommended.

    Hmm crystal… Go with them if you want a crap chalet, mouldy food being served, idiot reps and to top it all an idiot chalet host with the comedy name chris peacock! I went witn crystal once and esprit 5 times. You get what you pay for.


    IMO there is no such thing as a cheap family skiing holiday.

    The way we do it is to sacrifice our summer holidays as we are mad on skiing.

    Is there anyway you could go self catering and take along some friends to help out with child duties and cost?

    Premier Icon pop larkin

    Look at slovenia- we had a great time and the food and drink is much cheaper than france etc- lots of pizza and cheap wine- fine by me!
    Enough skiing for my lot for a week

    To save money book passes online before you go, never eat on the mountain restaurants mega expensive, you could go self catering. Eat and dine in. We tend to get lunch from sandwich panini bars in town rather than on the piste. Avoid famous resorts like val disere as they always charge you more!


    look at or for coach holidays.

    skiweekends, when I went, are more direct and go through the chunnel, snowcoach transfer to ferry.

    I went to La Tania for a weekend with skiweekends, although they don;t go there now but further down the valley at Brides les bain, which isn’t so good.

    I went with snowcoach to Valmeiner which was also good. The Aigle hotel was like a big chalet and the food was excellent that year as they had a michelin stared chef working a season there. The hotel is opposite the main ski lift as well.

    the coach seats recline a lot with tons of leg room (a lot more than an aeroplane) and people even take sleeping bags and pillows. If you are the sort that can doze off easily you are golden.

    plus you get 7.5 days skiing where flyers will probably only get 6.

    Premier Icon leffeboy

    Strangely enough it is worth looking at Chamonix. They seem to have a lift pass deal where if there are 2 adults and 1 child then subsequent children appear to be free 🙂,25,en.html

    If they are beginners then Le Tour at the end of the valley is very nice but you might have to come back to Argentiere to stay.

    Chamonix involves lots of buses to and forth from the slopes. Your kids will hate spending an hour a day on buses rammed with skiiers and poles etc! Ski from resort is where its at. Les gets tignes etc!

    I guess it depends very much on your definition of cheap. Anything coming in at under £100 a day now (Eg sub £500 package holiday with half board and a a £200 lift pass) is as cheap as you can reasonably expect if you want to go somewhere snowsure.

    Having said that going with kids/using only beginner lifts you may do a little better. I’d try for La tania/ La Praz – lift linked up to Courchevel for a decent snow record but without the attitude/price. transfer times from Chambery may seem atractive, but it’s fairly renowned for delays…


    oliverd1981 – that’s a good point about the beginner lifts. I know that within metres of the main village in Flaine the lifts are free for beginners ( easy drags)

    Ok wrightyson!

    Give a budget and expectations (flights, accom, food, lift passes, ski school) and see what we, the STW Massive can do!

    I regulary book loads of buddies for this kind of stuff 😯


    i hear Andorra is meant to be pretty good though! my bosses go every year and they’re pretty competent skiers and find its a steal when comparing it to some of the french resorts


    With a big group has always worked out cheapest for me but it always costs a fair bit.

    One year we went with a group of around 40, stayed in a massive chalet in Les Arcs (I think) and had live in housekeepers and cooks. It was a rough coach journey there and the food and wine was plentiful if a bit cheap.

    Because of the number of people we got massive discounts on ski hire and lift passes, it was around 200 quid each (about 15 years ago) for ten days in total. Amazing value and I absolutely loved it.

    Premier Icon totalshell

    cheap.. family… ski.. holiday… not four words you d usually associate with each othet .. other than the basic holiday price factor in clothing and lessons before hand and for a week i suspect you have to budget for 2500 3k being a more comfortable all done figure

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Are you George Osborne?


    As a skier with a kiddy I can tell you only two things:

    Don’t go at half term, you will get shafted. Ask the Head if s/he minds you taking them out of school in January and you will get a much cheaper holiday. Anyway the slopes will be quieter during term time, check French holidays online to avoid the crowds.

    Don’t be tempted by Ski Miquel, there’s a reason why their holidays are cheap.

    Premier Icon crispo

    I cant offer much advice re booking cheap holidays except for possibly trying to avoid the larger resorts and book accommodation in some of the smaller satelite resorts which share the same ski area (as long as they have their own beginners area and ski school), but some tips for being first time skiers going on your first trip would be:

    1) Deffinately invest in a few lessons in a snowdome before you head out to the alps. If you are spending a substantial amount of money on a holiday you want to go and get the most out of your time there so a couple of lessons before you go will make the first few days much more enjoyable.

    2) They will be shattered if theyve never been before. Spending a whole day in a snow plow will shatter out kids and the mrs alike so it might be worth trying to find something non self catering as everyone might be abit too tired to cook and clean etc.

    3) Get the kids started early. If they do want to learn to ski at all (and why wouldnt they – its awesome) then the younger they do the more they get out of it, its much harder to try and learn when youre older.

    Just a couple of my thoughts.


    Firstly, define what you mean by cheap. Somewhere like Andorra costs less because there’s a 4 hour transfer, the slopes are limited in number, snow quality, and technical challenge, but that may not be a problem for you.

    What you need is to be able to ski (at least a bit) before you go. Money spent now on dry-slope or snowdome lessons will really pay off, otherwise you’ll spend half of your week wobbling on the flattest of green slopes.

    As to costs, the absolute cheapest way to get there, for a family of 4, is to drive there using Tesco vouchers to pay for the Eurotunnel, and not stopping off at a hotel.

    That means a French resort (7-8 hours drive from the tunnel); I recommend Les Gets/Morzine becuase they’re accessible, there’s a load of instructors, there’s an excellent lift system and there’s a good number of beginner-friendly slopes. There are loads of other resorts though.

    Accomodation – go self-catered. An apartment for a week in high season will cost around £700 if you’re in Les Gets/Morzine area (or less if you book directly with the owner – put up a request for accomondation here and you’ll get a decent response). Cheaper if you want something nasty or further away from the slopes, but I’d not recommend that for a first trip.

    Self-catering means cooking for yourself, but if you’ve driven, take a camping fridge if you can borrow one and take a load of stuff with you. A lot cheaper than the local supermarkets.

    Don’t eat on the mountains, or stop for drinks – €3 for a coffee/hot chocolate is blood-chillingly pricy – or at the very least restrict siad purchases to the kids. Definitely eat in most nights – €12 for a pizza hurts!

    Book skis on-line and then pick up in the shop – save yourself an easy 25% this way.

    It will still cost you a load, but you should be able to do a week’s skiing in a decent resort, with lessons/lift passes/ ski & boot hire/transport/food for less than £2500 if you plan it carefully. I never skimp on equipment, and get good private insructors (ski school is painful – you really don’t learn very fast, and the kids can often be the only English-speaking ones in the class), then save in other areas.

    PS I’ve a place in Morzine which might suit you. If you’ve any interest, let me know and I’ll send you some details.

    Get a cheap flight to Lyon/Chambery/Grenoble during a week that is not one of the UK school holiday weeks. Hire a car and book your own accomodation at somewhere like Aussois, La Norma, Val Cenis or Les Karrelis. We booked a 6 person slopeside apartment in Aussois for £9 per night. Beat that for value.

    Avoid anywhere that appears in a glossy holiday brochure. There a plenaty of other places to choose from.

    EDIT: I recommend flying as, living in Scotland, driving is a major ball-ache for a week of skiing.

    Most heads are fine with this. You just have to ask them in advance for permission

    Premier Icon beanum

    I don’t know if other companies do a similar deal but you could look at ClubMed? It’s expensive and I guess it only works if the children go at a reduced rate but crucially, it’s an all-inclusive price AND there is lots for the kids to do when they’re not skiing.
    It won’t compete with Bulgaria, Slovenia or Andorra in cheapness but I reckon that even if you go self-catering in France you could end up spending more in total once you’ve added it all up?

    Beware of les gets morzine as very low approx 1000m . In the last 5-6 years they have had 2 bad seasons. Great resort and ski area but i will only return there on a late booking when i know the slopes are all in action.

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Just paid £1000 each for flights + one week full board in Schladming, Austria at the Feb half term. Ouch!

    I remember the days we were doing this for less than £500 each.

    At least or lil’un is still free this year – going to be a even more expensive in the future. 😯


    +1 Andorra.

    4hrs transfer!!! (Chuckles!), Toulouse Airport is only 2&1/2 hrs away (Although you may need snow chains). Girona Airport is about the same.

    This year for Chrimbo and New year all in was £900 Each, this was for – 9 adults, 9 seater Vito, Fuel / Tolls, Flights, Premium Ski Hire (New Equipment), 6 day Ski Passes, 4* HB Hotel (Hotel Euro Esqui) for 7 nights, i’d say thats a bargain!

    Organise the trip seperatley it’s much cheaper.

    Slope prices are approx 25 – 40% higher than town prices but you can ski back to Soldeu or take the Gondola.

    Premier Icon lunge

    You can do a cheap ski holiday, I do each year, but it is pretty inviolved so not sure I’d suggest it for someone who is new. However, what works for me is:

    Book a flight as early as possible to wherever is cheapest of Chambery, Grenoble and Geneva (or indeed any other airport that is close to the hills).
    Put a request for accomodation at Chalet’s direct for a self catered chalet at a resort close to your chosen airport saying you will pay upfront so they don’t have to wait for the season to start to get money. This seems to attract some good deals.
    Look at public transport to the resorts and if this doesn’t work get a cheap shared transfer.
    Book lift passes on line and book them early as some resorts have book early and/or group discount deals on line. Do the same with lessons and ski hire if you need it.
    If possible stop at a super market out of the resort to stock up on essentials that cost more in resort.
    Make sandwiches each morning and don’t even think about eating at a mountain cafe.
    Ski all day, you will be worn out come the evening so won’t want to go out, hence…
    Cook in the chalet each night and drink cheap supermarket beer/wine.


    **slight hijack**

    Nickf – please send me details of your place in Morzine.

    Details in profile



    Skiing aint cheap but you can minimise costs if you’re willing to do some work and sort things independently.

    I have two kids in school/college, so I’m tied to school hols.

    I’ve just booked my Feb half term trip to Kronplatz as follows:
    1. Overnight ferry Hull-Rotterdam for family of 4 = £300 (yes tesco/tunnel is cheaper but this is convenient and allows a clear day’s drive after without need for hotel)
    2. Drive through Germany/Austria, over the Brenner Pass to Italy. (Say £350 fuel and tolls return). Have both winter tyres and chains.
    3. Accomodation – 7 nights half board £900ish for two rooms/4 persons.
    4. Ski pass is about 238 Euros per adult for 7 days. (total 881 Euros for us)
    5. Equipment – have our own.

    That just leaves food on the hill and drinks to be added.
    That’s about as cheap as I can do it for main holidays in a good resort. Probably about £3000 all up for 7 days skiing when the cash spend is added in.

    We always go for Austria or Italy.
    [edit]food on the hill is not cheap anywhere but 10 euros per head buys a reasonable light meal in most Austrian/Italian resorts. I budget on 50 euros per lunchtime [/edit]

    Scotland? dunno if it would be cheaper and it can be grim but maybe worth investigating?


    4hrs transfer!!! (Chuckles!), Toulouse Airport is only 2&1/2 hrs away (Although you may need snow chains). Girona Airport is about the same.

    I’m only going on the coach journey I endured on the way there. The way back was worse – we flew at an unsociably early hour, so had to leave the ‘resort’ at about 4am. Some of the coach trip had just stayed up drinking, and after an hour of twisty mountain roads, there was the most appalling chundering. Spending another couple of hours in vomit-smelling hell is not my idea of fun.

    Never again.

    Another reason why Serre Che rocks – Only about a 40 minute transfer….


    Another reason why Serre Che rocks – Only about a 40 minute transfer….

    By helicopter from the nearest aiport or from the bus station in Briancon?

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