Skiing can be quite an expensive hobby: there are the skiing clothes, lift passes and other equipment to think about before you even consider booking flights and accommodation. Some resorts are more expensive than others based on their reputation and facilities on offer. So how do you find the resorts that are more purse-friendly?
If you’re on a shoestring budget, you might not even consider a skiing holiday. But it can be done. The trick is to find the resorts that are less well-known or newer resorts but still offer a superb experience. Below we’ve detailed the best places worldwide to go skiing on a budget, so there’s no excuse to either try out the sport for the first time or feed your long-term skiing passion.
Central Europe: Try Val d’Isère for a French skiing experience. Although it’s a larger, popular resort, you can still enjoy the brilliant experience that this resort provides by being savvy. France is very well connected, so shop around to find the best route to travel there. Do your research into the area, such as reading this guide by Ski Bonjour to find the best places to eat, drink and shop. A well-known café that sells cheaper options is Marmottes. Plus, head to the town centre’s market on a Monday to get your shopping fix, rather than the more expensive designer shops surrounding the resort.
Eastern Europe: If you’re not able to shop around, then heading to Eastern Europe offers a fantastic alternative. Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are the best bets, with a week-long skiing holiday including accommodation, lift passes and equipment coming in at under £300. The facilities are often just as good and the slopes provide a range of skiing opportunities for the beginner to the experts. Check out Spindleruv Mlyn, “Spindler’s Mill,” with slopes up to 1600 metres and year-round skiing. There are perfect opportunities for beginners, experts, snowboarders, and those who want to watch the Europa Cup in Freestyle Skiing.
Japan: The next few suggestions are maybe not what you’d consider the perfect place for skiing, but they are a unique way to get your skiing fix with a smaller budget. Starting with Japan, the ski resorts are very reasonably priced and offer fantastic skiing opportunities, plus the runs are safe for all levels. The slopes aren’t too steep but the snow is deep. Japan itself can be quite pricey, so concentrate on the skiing and you won’t go wrong. Try Hokkaido, the north island of Japan, as it’s known for being good for budget-conscious travellers but has cold air from Siberia and fantastic snow levels.
India: In northern India, the Himalayan mountains offer fantastic mountain skiing alongside breath-taking views. It’s an area that has some of the cheapest skiing in the world but your experience will be enriched by infusing your holiday with the local culture. Do bear in mind that a local guide is advised, since avalanches are common and you don’t want to find yourself in a dangerous area. The resorts in the area, such as the main ski resort town of Gulmarg, are basic. Don’t go expecting the accommodation of the Alpine ski resorts. But instead of the fancy facilities and pretty villages, you’ll see the wondrous Himalayan mountains. That’s something that can be comprised!
China: Finally, China is a great place to ski on a budget since the accommodation and facilities are very affordable and the winter snow conditions are top-notch. Stay in lodges and explore the local towns alongside the slopes. Yabuli Ski Resort houses the Chinese national ski teams for training, so it’s almost guaranteed that skiing will be great. The slopes here are mainly intermediate to advanced, with slopes up to 3000 metres and a vertical drop of 805 metres. The accommodation is incredibly modern and also has facilities for ice skating and tobogganing.