Whether you’re a nervous beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a ski holiday for you on icelolly.com. There are so many countries and resorts to choose from, you’ll always be able to find something that’s perfect for your group – in fact the hardest part is narrowing down your options! We’ve provided some handy tips to help you choose the ideal resort, and save money along the way. Follow our guide, and use the icelolly.com search to compare ski breaks across Europe and worldwide.
How to Get a Cheap Ski Holiday
Go in low season: Skiing holidays are most popular and expensive in December and during the Christmas and February holidays, so avoid these times if you can. January is fairly quiet, when everyone’s bank accounts are recovering from Christmas spending, and the shoulder periods of late November and mid-March can offer big savings.
Look out for all inclusive: Some tour operators will offer all inclusive ski holidays including flights, accommodation, transfers, lift passes and equipment hire if you can be flexible on dates. The best way to find these packages is to sign up for ski holiday email newsletters, so you’re the first to hear about great deals!
Stay in a 'satellite' resort: Satellite resorts are small, quiet resorts that are linked to larger resorts by ski lifts or buses. The locations are slightly inconvenient and the après-ski scene is minimal, but you will save money on accommodation, food and hire and have access to all the same ski slopes as those in the main resort.
Book extras beforehand: If you haven’t got equipment hire and ski passes included in your package, booking in advance online is usually much cheaper than buying in resort. If you go skiing regularly, buying some of your own gear is worth the one-off expense, especially if you find some decent second-hand equipment.
Tips for First-Time Skiers
Get into shape: Skiing is a high-intensity sport, and you’ll find it much easier to get into if you’re physically fit. Cardio like running or cycling are great for building stamina, while squats and lunges will help to strengthen the muscles in your legs.
Have lessons beforehand: Nobody wants to spend half their holiday in ski school! Get the basics right at an indoor slope before you jet off, then you’ll have a good start to build on when you hit the mountains. If you want a couple of lessons in-resort, a quick search online can reveal the best value-for-money ski schools.
Don’t splurge on gear: Don’t bother investing in tons of expensive gear until you’re sure you love skiing and are going to get plenty of wear out of them! Borrow as many ski clothes as you can, buy other essentials from a reputable but affordable brand, and hire all the bulky gear in-resort to avoid extra luggage fees.
Do your resort research: Check that the resort you’re considering is suitable for beginners. Ski maps are colour-coded to show the difficulty of the pistes; green and blue indicate easy routes while black and red are only suitable for experienced skiers. Pick a resort with plenty of blue and green slopes so you have lots of slope options.
Which Ski Resort is Right for You?
France: France has tons of variety and choice in terms of resorts, flights are cheap and plentiful, and have longer snow seasons than many other resorts. There are many connected mountain ranges where you can ski into Switzerland or Italy, and the après-ski scene is legendary, but all these plus points mean the French ski resorts are busy and expensive.
Italy: Italian ski resorts are typically a lot cheaper than the French resorts, and a lot quieter! You can replace all the carbs you burn off on the slopes with big helpings of pizza and pasta, but the resorts can be less accessible in terms of flights.
Austria: Austria has some lovely ski resorts with quaint, traditional accommodation and hearty Austrian food, and there are slopes to suit all abilities. However the villages are quite small so don’t expect a big party scene, and there are very few high altitude resorts.
Bulgaria: Bulgaria beats most European resorts on price for accommodation, food, ski passes and equipment hire, and is great for beginner slopes, so it’s a good budget option for your first ski holiday! However the resorts aren’t as varied, and for the time being flights are limited.
Canada: Canadian ski resorts have stunning scenery, a huge variety of slopes, and delicious food in generous portions, with a lot of other activities to do in the resort if you don’t want to ski every day. However the flights from the UK can bump up the price significantly, and it can be a lot colder than European resorts.