Can You Ski on a Budget? Frugal Tips for Hitting the Slopes as a Family

Skiing is often viewed as a luxury or an expensive activity, and as a result, skiing vacations are generally considered to be the preserve of the wealthy. This is not necessarily the case, however, as lots of families benefit from relatively cheap skiing opportunities that they thoroughly enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you find that inexpensive family skiing vacation of your dreams.


If you have children, you’re likely constrained by school vacations, so target Easter and Christmas to get the best deals in Europe, and avoid the New Year. In the US, November is generally a light use month on the ski slopes, and deals around Thanksgiving can be very generous. Weather is always an issue when it comes to skiing vacations, so keep a close eye on local forecasts when planning your trip.

Gearing up to go skiing

The majority of ski resorts can supply you with everything you need in terms of ski equipment – for example, skis, boots, sticks, etc. Lots of retailers offer really good deals on ski clothing, so before you go, make sure that you have organized everyone’s ski jackets, purchasing salopettes and a new ski jacket for anyone who needs them, as kids will grow out of last year’s clothing very quickly.

Finding accommodation

If you’ve planned well, you’ll already have decided to avoid the A-list ski resorts entirely; the next thing to think about is deciding where to stay. The good news is that “less-fashionable” villages offer just as good amenities as those that are better known. Self-catering is a great and cheap way to go when it comes to accommodation.

Look out for the bigger, multi-family apartments so that cooking chores can be shared – they sell out pretty fast because this is such a good way to do a vacation.

In terms of food shopping, in-resort prices at the mountaintops will be much higher than those in one of the valley hypermarkets, so do your shopping where the food is cheaper. If you stay in the valleys rather than next to the slopes, you’ll save a ton of money because the accommodation costs will be so much cheaper.

Go large

Big groups are a great favorite of tour operators, so if you’re traveling with one or more other families, you may be able to benefit from a few free places, free lift passes, or special deals on hiring equipment. In the same way, booking early can pay great dividends, and those with more freedom in terms of vacation dates can also benefit from booking late.

Whether you’re taking a skiing vacation in Europe, the US, or elsewhere, you’ll want to make the most of the currency exchange rate before you go, so keeping an eye on this is a worthwhile part of your preparation and planning. Spend a few weeks checking how currencies progress against each other, and you might just land a bargain when it comes to exchanging your dollars.

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