Money Saving Tips for Ski Holidays
A skiing holiday can be a bit of a logistical nightmare. You have to arrange accommodation, equipment hire, transport to and from the piste, lift passes, transfers and flights and that's before you get anywhere near the slopes. The cost of all these things can mount up frighteningly quickly. However there are a number of ways to make your ski holiday more affordable.
When to go
The ski season has peak periods just like the summer holiday season. Choosing less popular times of year can ensure fewer queues and more space on the slopes as well as saving you money. School holidays and the Christmas period are the most expensive times to go skiing so avoid these if possible. You can find information about school term times on the Direct Gov website .
Early December and the end of January are traditionally 'low season', when you'll be able to find some of the best deals. March can sometimes make for some great skiing offers if Easter is late that year.
Book in advance
Early booking can save you money on most types of holiday including ski trips. If you don't save on the price of the trip overall you might be able to find great discounts on childcare, ski hire or other extras.
Don't just think about flights and accommodation either, pre-booking airport parking can save you money you'll be able to use elsewhere on your holiday.
If you plan your holiday in advance you can compare the cost of ski essentials such as equipment and insurance. Bargain hunting for your ski accessories and clothing might seem natural but you can also save a considerable amount by shopping around for ski insurance. Give yourself plenty of time to compare deals. When buying insurance always check the fine print and make sure you're covered for 'risky' activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
Choose locations wisely
Picking a less popular ski resort can save you hundreds of pounds on the price of your holiday. Resorts in the Pyrenees, Austria or even Bulgaria are less glamorous than the larger ski centres in France or Switzerland but can make for a great ski holiday for a lot less.
If you want to ski in a popular resort, staying a little further away from the slopes can reduce the price of your hotel. It can also mean that the local restaurants, bars and other apre`s ski entertainment will be considerably cheaper than in more popular resorts.
However you'll be further away from the action so it will mean your ski lift pass is slightly more expensive. Make sure you weigh up your options to find out what could save you more and what suits your kind of ski holiday.
All inclusive vs. chalet
It is often tempting to choose an all-inclusive option on expensive trips. This way you know before you go how much the holiday will cost you. But if you are going as a large group, it may be worth look at self-catering options which have supermarkets nearby. Reduce the chores by taking it in turns for each member to cook. Turning each night into a Come Dine With Me style dinner party with secret voting adds in some extra competitive fun. You'll also be able to bring packed lunches with you up the slopes so you are not stung by expensive slope side cafes and restaurants at lunch time.
Cut transfer costs
Most people think there's only one option to take them from the airport to the ski resort- the transfer provided by the tour operator- but taking public transport can be a viable alternative particularly for couples without children or singles who don't mind carrying ski gear.
Choosing an airport close to your destination can also cut the cost of your transfer. Do some research to find the best airport for your destination. For example flights into Chambrey are best for the 3 Valleys, whilst flying into Geneva will be the cheapest option for transfers to the Northern Alps.
Check airport charges
If you are booking your flights separately, factor ski baggage charges into your decision. Read the fine print as some airlines have a different idea of what counts as ski equipment, e.g. some will let you take skis for free but any boots or ski clothing will count as extra baggage and you may be charged. Here's an overview of some of the more popular airlines and their charges:
|Airline||Is ski equipment additional to the personal baggage allowance?||What are the size restrictions on ski baggage?||What does ski baggage include?||What is the weight limit?||Further information|
|AirFrance||SA set of ski equipment counts as a single piece of baggage. Excess baggage fees apply for additional baggage or weight||If the baggage exceeds 158cm (height + length + width) there will be an additional fee applied.||Alpine skis: one pair of skis + one pair of poles + one pair of boots||23kg per item. A fixed-rate is applied for additional weight||Prior confirmation is needed from the sales department - (0818 776 057) for all baggage over 32kg or to place skis in the hold|
|American Airlines||Ski equipment can be carried free of charge as part of your free checked baggage allowance.
Skis and a separate boot bag can be checked as one piece for charging purposes
|The boot bag must not exceed 45in/114cm (total dimension). The pair of skis must not exceed 126in/320cm||Skis and a separate boot bag. The separate boot bag may only contain boots/bindings||23kg per item. A fixed-rate is applied for additional weight||Ski helmets are not counted as part of the ski equipment and must be checked in as part of the normal baggage allowance. Lighters or torches used to apply ski wax are considered dangerous goods and are not allowed in your checked or carry-on baggage|
|British Airways||A set of ski equipment counts as a single piece of baggage. Excess baggage fees apply for additional baggage or weight||Free baggage allowance is 90cm x 75cm x 43cm, although you can carry bags up to the dimensions 190cm x 75cm x 65cm for an additional charge||There is no set allowance for ski equipment||23kg per item. A fixed-rate is applied for additional weight||All ski baggage can be transported, but must be packed correctly to be accepted. See http://www.britishairways.com/travel/bagsport/public/en_gb for more information|
|Easyjet||You must purchase a sporting good weight allowance which gives an additional 12kg extra weight allowance||There are no size or dimension restrictions||The additional fee allows you to have a separate sporting bag. This must only be filled with sporting goods.||If a passenger buys a bag allowance and an additional sporting equipment allowance, the weight restriction is 32kg per passenger which includes skis|
|Emirates||Ski equipment can be carried as part of your normal baggage allowance. However, in some situations additional charges may apply when checking in ski equipment - please contact your local Emirates office for more information||There are no size or dimension restrictions||A set of snow ski equipment may consist of: one pair of skis, one pair of ski poles and one pair of ski boots.||Contact your local Emirates office for more information|
|Flybe||Ski equipment is treated as a normal baggage item and all baggage incurs a cost. Two bags, with a maximum weight of 40kg costs £44.99||There are no size or dimension restrictions||There is no set allowance for ski equipment||40kg maximum across two pieces of baggage||When selecting the 2 bags at 40kg option, this will only be carried on a space available basis when travelling to or from the following airports; Chambery, Berne, Geneva and Salzburg. If the airline is unable to carry your bag to any of these destinations they will refund your second bag fee. This does not affect bookings for skis confirmed through the Flybe Customer Call Centre.|
|KLM||A set of ski equipment counts as a single piece of baggage. Excess baggage fees apply for additional baggage or weight.||There are no size or dimension restrictions||Ski baggage may consist of a pair of skis, two ski poles and a pair of ski boots||23kg per item. A fixed-rate is applied for additional weight or baggage||Always make a reservation for your special baggage at least 48 hours before departure and ensure your reservation is confirmed.|
|Qantas Group||A set of ski equipment counts as a single piece of baggage. Excess baggage fees apply for additional baggage or weight||There are no size or dimension restrictions||No more than one pair of skis, one pair of stocks/poles and one pair of ski boots is permitted per passenger||23kg||Check here for excess baggage rates which can differ depending on your destination and when your ticket was purchased. See http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/prepaid-additional-baggage/global/en#airport-excess-baggage-+charges|
|Ryanair||No, you will need to pay an additional £50 to have your ski baggage entered into the hold||There are no size or dimension restrictions||This can include: skis, poles, boots and bindings||20kg||Any sporting item weighing over the 20kg allowance will be charged for the excess at the applicable excess baggage rate per kilo|
|United||A set of ski equipment counts as a single piece of baggage. Excess baggage fees apply for additional baggage or weight||There are no size or dimension restrictions||Up to two pairs of snow skis and associated equipment in one bag and one ski boot bag (which must only contain ski boots)||If the combined weight of ski bag and boot bag exceed 23kg, an overweight fee applies||If more than one set of ski equipment is checked, each additional set of equipment (as outlined above) will be counted as one special item, and the associated fee(s) will apply.|
|Virgin Atlantic||Yes, your ski baggage is free of charge in addition to your free baggage allowance - as long as it doesn't exceed 23kg||There are no size or dimension restrictions||One pair of skis, ski boots, poles, a mask or helmet||23kg across all baggage||Only ski OR snowboard gear will be accepted as part of free baggage allocation, not both|
Charges correct as of November 2012
If there are any airlines or information not included here that you would like to know more about, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include the most popular.