How to Have a Low Budget Ski Holiday to the French Alps – Three Valleys?
So you want to hit the slopes but have about £3.59, a chocolate bar and a bus ticket left in your bank account? Have a gander at this.Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are growing in popularity, crazy quickly. These are no longer holidays to be enjoyed just by the 1% rich, famous and royal of the World. Every single season hoards of students, both school and university, flock to the slopes of Europe to fly down mountains and party hard.
You might have necked all the cheap French wine and champagne on previous visits with mates, but this time it’s a different story. So can you have a tasteful, enjoyable couples winter holiday in the Alps for under £1,000? That is exactly what I set out to find out.
Cheap Courchevel Ski Passes & Accommodation
It’s no secret that Courchevel 1850 is one of the World’s most luxurious and expensive ski resorts in the World. It’s not just the bulk buy discount ski passes that can set you back hundreds of Euros before you’ve even sorted flights and accommodation here. One thing I wasn’t able to find discounted on this trip was the ski passes. The general theme tends to be a discount for volume, if anyone has every found different please get in touch and share.
So why choose Courchevel as the subject of my experiment? Easy. If you can do it here on a budget, you can do it anywhere!
There are other reasons for my choice though. One of the finest resorts in the alps for beginners, here is an exceptional place to both learn to ski and develop your skills. Therefore great for newbies to the slopes then like my girlfriend.
Budget Ski Holiday Accommodation
How to achieve this in three easy steps:
– Book as early as you possibly can
– Shop around absolutely everywhere you can
– Be flexible on your dates
Now for the detail. Why book early? We went to Courchevel over New Year for example and booked in April using an online booking site like AirBnB. By doing this we secured a lovely apartment right next to the slopes without the hassle of check ins/check outs and meal times etc.
Shopping around everywhere? Don’t be afraid to hit a different resort! In fact, this trip was never originally planned to be to Courchevel. Val Thorens is another great resort I’ve visited before and actually looked at first. It was only when I saw the benefits, and prices, of Courchevel that I changed my mind.
So with that, keep an open mind. Be flexible about when you can travel. We ended up getting a fantastic accommodation price by allowing flexibility of just a few days! Our nest for the week came to just over £300 in total. Considering that was at one of the most expensive times of year to stay (over New Years), it was simply amazing.
Cheap Flights to the Alps
Booking flights seperate to accomodation can actually save money. Something we achieved in our test. The same three rules apply to obtaining cheap flights to your destination airport.
First, book early. Flights for December come out in April for example. Have a look at this handy guide for best flight booking times to find out more. By ensuring we grabbed them as early as possible we got an absolute bargain, paying less than £150 for two returns from Manchester to Lyon, which normally sit between £200 and £300!
Again being flexible on the time you decide to go can have an affect on this. By playing with your dates for your flying time and hotel stay you can certainly save.
Total Cost of Winter Holiday
So how much did this crazy cheap holiday to the luxurious mountains cost?
– Flights = £150
– Accomodation = £300
– Lift Passes = £240
– Ski hire = £150
– Car Hire = £150
Total = £990
You couldn’t write it. £10 under budget. However you still have to include the cost of spending money, warm clothes and any ski lessons needed before you take off.
The price of everyday items like food and drink are extortionate on the mountains so bear this in mind. You’ll probably need at least £300 spending money for the week.
Beginner on a snowboard or the planks? Lessons are essential. Whether you choose to have them in the UK or abroad these can run into the £100’s too. Making sure you are comfortable on a piste before you go is ideal as it allows you to enjoy the scenery that little bit more.
Finally, if you don’t have the warm gear you could be in for a shock. High quality ski gear can cost a lot of money. Spend over summer on end of season sales to bring this down a bit, but definitely do not compromise on quality and freeze to death.
So, is it really possible to have a monster budget ski holiday on a £1,000 budget. The answer is yes I guess… if you take your own food and booze and don’t spend while you are there, but who the fuck is going to do that?! Check out some ski resort reviews to decide where you should go.