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Where to go for a budget ski holiday?

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 deacondeacon 09 Jan 2021

Where would you guys recommend for a cheap, no frills ski holiday?

We've been to Slovenia a couple of times which has been great. I absolutely love the country, the scenery and the people. The skiing was perfect for my 6 year old but she's outgrowing Kranska Gora now.

So where next? Bulgaria, Sierra Nevada, some little out the way resort in the Alps?

Main criteria is cheap tbh. Slovenia was perfect for this. 

...and yes I appreciate that it won't be this year, or possibly even next year the way things are going but it's still nice to dream 🙂

 pec 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

The cheapest way to ski is to drive to France and stop in a self catering apartment. It helps if you have a frugal diesel and works out cheaper the more people go. You can stop in a Formule 1 motel en-route quite cheaply to avoid driving through the night.

We are constrained by school holidays which whack up the accommodation costs but have our own skis and always buy a full area pass. Stopping in the good resorts, Maribel, La Plagne, Chamonix etc, we ski for about £600 each for a week.

Ski hire would add c.£90, a limited area pass would save c.£50 but still give access to more skiing than most Eastern European resorts. Easter is a good bit cheaper than Xmas and Feb half term and the weather’s better! The better resorts still offer good skiing at Easter.

Lesser resorts would save a good bit on accommodation or the “out of the way” parts of the high end resorts which can still give reasonable access.

 marsbar 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

https://www.action-outdoors.co.uk/winter/family-weeks/summary

UCPA is a similar set up to youth hostels, not for profit and you make your own bed and clean your table after meals.  

I've only been to Tignes, I'd recommend it. You get the swimming pool included with your ski pass and it is a family friendly resort.  The centre is well located.  

 crayefish 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

My brother lived in Bansko (Bulgaria) for nearly a decade so I used to go there a lot.  Enough runs to be occupied for a week, rental (ski and accommodation) is very cheap, and nightlife/food is pretty good.

Only trouble is that they don't groom the piste as often as they should, so can be a bit lumpy when it dumps a lot of snow.  However, the off-piste is decent if you know where to go.

 Reach>Talent 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Bansko in Bulgaria is cheap, but depends on how you measure it:

£/km of piste a holiday to Bansko is more expensive than the 3 valleys but if you aren't clocking up huge ski mileage it probably doesn't matter. I don't know if they have finished upgrading the main access lift yet but it is also a bit of a bottleneck and restricts time on piste unless you like an early morning queue. 

If you want best experience for minimum cost then I believe taking the train to one of the French resorts and self catering probably works out pretty well, a friend of mine has done it a few years running. Not sure what the post-Brexit situation will be like though as I think a few UK based travel operators were reviewing their position on European skiing. 

In reply to pec:

You refer to Easter as a good time to go to the big French ski resorts. My experience in the past was that French school holidays were a terrible time to go, because they were absolutely over-run with people and one spent a large part of the day in queues. Whether the weather is "better" at Easter than earlier is also a matter of personal taste. For my taste, I think the coldest times of the year are the best of skiing (particular with climate change). Easter can be good for sun and sun-bathing but the snow can be horribly soft and heavy. I prefer about -5 C and even like skiing when it is snowing, as long as the visibility is not too bad, because one is continually getting new snow on the pistes.

Post edited at 15:22
 Doug 09 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I went to Le Plagne with my girl friend of the time for a week's skiing many years ago. Can't remember what we paid but was very cheap & included full board accomodation, lift pass, ski hire & instruction plus reduced prices on the TGV from Paris & shuttle bus to the resort. Self service/buffet style meals but the food was good & we had our own room. When I was there it was all in French but I think they now offer English speaking instruction

 OwenM 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

The first two weeks in January are always cheap, Christmas and New year are popular so expensive.  Things start getting pretty expensive towards high season end of January February time. Whether you can get away at that time with a six/seven year old is another thing.

 marsbar 09 Jan 2021
In reply to Doug:

My instructor spoke fluent English.  

The food was great.  I went by coach which was extremely cheap, but I wouldn't be recommending that with a child.  

In reply to deacondeacon:

Depends what time of year you are going..

Andorra but not as pretty as other resorts.

Bourg st Maurice is a good spot..Les Arc,Rosiere and Val...not ski in..but 1600 accessible.

Funny but I find Austria to be cheaper ..on the mountain...food,drink.

Any way..time of year and height should be a consideration.

 deacondeacon 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Thanks for all the advice everyone, really appreciate it. Is Bansko a pretty resort? Or is it a concrete, purpose built set up?

I am tempted to drive out to the alps but I'm in Sheffield so it is a pretty big drive, and Is it really that much cheaper than flying? 

 Garethza 09 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

> UCPA is a similar set up to youth hostels, not for profit and you make your own bed and clean your table after meals.  

> I've only been to Tignes, I'd recommend it. You get the swimming pool included with your ski pass and it is a family friendly resort.  The centre is well located.  

+1 for UCPA being the cheapest and probably the easiest option, everything is included (except alcohol) and you can choose from a variety of different lessons which cater to all levels or have none at all and just head out on your own.

 TheGeneralist 09 Jan 2021
In reply to pec:

> The cheapest way to ski is to drive to France and stop in a self catering apartment. It helps if you have a frugal diesel and works out cheaper the more people go. You can stop in a Formule 1 motel en-route quite cheaply to avoid driving through the night.

> We are constrained by school holidays which whack up the accommodation costs but have our own skis and always buy a full area pass. Stopping in the good resorts, Maribel, La Plagne, Chamonix etc, we ski for about £600 each for a week.

That's a rather bold claim, and not really correct.  We did Arabba, St Anton , Ortesei, St Anton four consecutive years flying from Manchester and only one of them was more than £600 IIRC, and even then only just.

Post edited at 19:15
 TheGeneralist 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

> I am tempted to drive out to the alps but I'm in Sheffield so it is a pretty big drive, and Is it really that much cheaper than flying? 

Not if you are cunning with flights. Need to think a bit flexibly, but eminently possible to get flights for around a hundred quid each. For example, we flew to Frankfurt to get to Ortesei ( yes I know, daft) Munich or Nueremberg for St Anton.  Our cheap package to Arabba was via Innsbruck, but that was an exception.

Last year we did Torino IIRC to Gressoney with Jet2.  They were by far the most expensive flights, I think around £150pp.

> +1 for UCPA being the cheapest and probably the easiest option, everything is included (except alcohol)

This is so completely not true.  Ok it is probably an easy option and much less stress, but to say it is the cheapest, and all inclusive is ..... To quote from the linked page:

> In a few words, our family weeks are of very high quality where everything is included in the price, but that price has a much smaller impact on your pocket. Included is: accommodation, three meals day, lift passes, great equipment hire and instruction/guiding. The only extras you need to budget for is travel and social drinks from the very reasonably priced bar on site.

£580 without travel is soooooo not the cheapest option.  It is pretty cheap, it is probably an excellent holiday, and very stress free, but it is a long way from being the cheapest.

LOLs at them trying to pass that off as all inclusive.

A key thing to look at if you want budget, isn't the flight, or the accommodation, but the lift pass OP.  Lift passes are now the most expensive part of the holiday for us.  You say your kid is 6

> The skiing was perfect for my 6 year old.

Sella Ronda is a good place to look. When we went you got free full area lift passes for kids under 9 if you bought an adult pass. That saved a stack on its own.

https://www.valgardena.it/dl/stchristina/dss/Listino_prezzi_202021DSS.pdf

(Apologies if most resorts do this, I wasn't aware)

Post edited at 19:41
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Not really correct...I'm thinking they packed their car with kids,food for a week,skis......never eat out,sandwiches on the mountain....

In reply to John Stainforth:

> You refer to Easter as a good time to go to the big French ski resorts. My experience in the past was that French school holidays were a terrible time to go, because they were absolutely over-run with people and one spent a large part of the day in queues. Whether the weather is "better" at Easter than earlier is also a matter of personal taste. For my taste, I think the coldest times of the year are the best of skiing (particular with climate change). Easter can be good for sun and sun-bathing but the snow can be horribly soft and heavy. I prefer about -5 C and even like skiing when it is snowing, as long as the visibility is not too bad, because one is continually getting new snow on the pistes.

Yes...cold is good and I've skied in BC..but I'll always remember Myhof in April.

Ski high,then finish sunbathing and swimming in the out door pool down in the valley.

Kids loved it.

 sxrxg 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Slovakia is good. Jasna is a quality resort, cheap flights can be had to Poland (or to Jasna Tatry giving a 30 minute transfer if you can fly from Luton) and accomodation, food, etc is all cheap compared to the Alps.

The other cheap option is to drive to one of the less visited french resorts. Examples would be Valfrejus, Les Karellis, etc. 

I also know friends who have visited the central massif and skied, again cheaper than the Alps. Super Besse or Le lioran are the largest resorts. 

Abetone in the Apennines in Italy may also be a cheaper option. Not sure of the logistics to get there though and if it could be done cheaply, maybe out of season flights can be had to Florence or Pisa...

Post edited at 19:47
In reply to TheGeneralist:

> Not if you are cunning with flights. Need to think a bit flexibly, but eminently possible to get flights for around a hundred quid each. For example, we flew to Frankfurt to get to Ortesei ( yes I know, daft) Munich or Nueremberg for St Anton.  Our cheap package to Arabba was via Innsbruck, but that was an exception.

> Last year we did Torino IIRC to Gressoney with Jet2.  They were by far the most expensive flights, I think around £150pp.

> > +1 for UCPA being the cheapest and probably the easiest option, everything is included (except alcohol)

> This is so completely not true.  Ok it is probably an easy option and much less stress, but to say it is the cheapest, and all inclusive is ..... To quote from the linked page:

> £580 without travel is soooooo not the cheapest option.  It is pretty cheap, it is probably an excellent holiday, and very stress free, but it is a long way from being the cheapest.

> LOLs at them trying to pass that off as all inclusive.

> A key thing to look at if you want budget, isn't the flight, or the accommodation, but the lift pass OP.  Lift passes are now the most expensive part of the holiday for us.  You say your kid is 6

> > The skiing was perfect for my 6 year old.

> Sella Ronda is a good place to look. When we went you got free full area lift passes for kids under 9 if you bought an adult pass. That saved a stack on its own.

> (Apologies if most resorts do this, I wasn't aware)

Can vouch for Canezi.... kids loved the ski school.

 Doug 09 Jan 2021
In reply to sxrxg:

I've skied in the Massif Central (touring rather than resort based) - snow cover is far from reliable, probably similar to Scotland. Good for a day or weekend if you live nearby but I wouldn't travel from the UK for a skiing holiday there

 mike123 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon: something  else to add into the mix / some  food for thought . This maybe granny sucking eggs territory but here goes. Travelling on your own with skiing / climbing gear is really quiet easy . Traveling with all of that plus kids and kids skis / skiing gear is a whole different ball game .

Flying : load you , your gear , kids and their  gear into car at some ungodly hour .  drive to airport . Unload all of above at parking . Transfer to departures without loosing child / bag / your new touring skis with 400 quids worth  of dynafit bindings etc ) Check in . Fly . Pick up hire car. Attempt to load all of above into undersized hire car . Mange just . Drive to resort . Find apparatnent . Unload . Have top draw fun week. Now reapeat all of above  of above in reverse . Oh AND easyhet loose your bag with all your touring gear etc , meaning 3 hours waiting around at Geneva only to be told we will get it to you in a few days , no fun when with your mates , really really no fun when with three small children . I could go on and on about this  but flying with kids and lots of gear is flippin hard work . 

Driving : load all  of above into car at some ungodly hour . Drive to Dover . Ferry / tunnel / drive to resort , unload etc etc . 

 My thinking is this . If you have all your own gear and a herd of children ( me) with their own gear  , driving is a no brainer. The  layers of faf and potential for f ups is reduced dramatically . Load at home . Unload at resort . Not much different than going with mates back in the day  , just a few more pee stops . ( other than that that  trip with a non driver who kept whining  about needing to pee and was never allowed to come Again ) . Make sure Kids have iPads / phones / headphones / plenty of power / back up power etc and are trained to pee in nalgenes 

If you have a sensible number of children ( 1 less than me ) , are hiring everything when you get there  and have one bag each , flying possibly wins . 

 pec 09 Jan 2021
In reply to John Stainforth:

> You refer to Easter as a good time to go to the big French ski resorts.

I said Easter was cheaper for accommodation than half term and Christmas. The OP has a school age child so is likely to be constrained by school holidays. Obviously it will be busier than outside school holidays.

> Whether the weather is "better" at Easter than earlier is also a matter of personal taste. 

The weather at Easter will typically be warmer, sunnier, less windy and less foggy. The lifts run for longer and the evenings remain light later. With a 6 year old child in tow I would think most people would think this to be “better”. If you go to a high resort the snow will be fine except perhaps the very lowest runs, I prefer skiing on soft snow to ice but as you say it’s all a matter of personal taste

In reply to mike123:

I've liked that...3 kids and a 4 month old..a holiday to forget.

Sorry for being an arse on another thread.

 pec 09 Jan 2021
In reply to John Stainforth:

Sorry if my reply to you (just above) sounds a bit arsey, that wasn’t my intention, just on re-reading it it sounds a bit that way.

I was just tailoring my response to the OP.

 pec 09 Jan 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

> That's a rather bold claim, and not really correct.  We did Arabba, St Anton , Ortesei, St Anton four consecutive years flying from Manchester and only one of them was more than £600 IIRC, and even then only just.

Sub £600 is pretty good for anywhere decent.

Was that last minute deal prices and was it in school holidays?

School holidays is the killer for prices, especially half term.

 Graham Mck 09 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

> Thanks for all the advice everyone, really appreciate it. Is Bansko a pretty resort? Or is it a concrete, purpose built set up?

> I was in Bansko March 2019. The old town is very pretty and has benefited from significant investment to pedestrianise it over the the last 5-years.  There are lots of apartment complexes fanning out from the centre and many of these are available for hire. Flights into Sofia are reasonable and transfers are easy to arrange and pretty good value.  Bars and restaurants are good and much cheaper than the Alps.  The ski area is Ok for an intermediate for a week.  Biggest gripe is the main gondola from the town up to the ski area....big queues at peak times...don't think it has been upgraded yet as planning permission had been refused not long before I was there.  We got round this by taking a mini bus taxi to the top each day, cost about 7 euros each but saved time and hassle.  We used the same driver every day and he picked us up from outside our apartment.  HTH

In reply to pec:

The closing time of lifts varies, depending on the country. In the USA, the lifts usually close at the early hour of 4, regardless of the season. Quite a few have "night skiing", though, which goes on for quite a few hours after night fall. My family were very much in the habit of trying to get the very last lifts right up to the top to the resort, and then having a leisurely final run back to base, stopping to take photos etc.

So much of this depends on personal taste and the enthusiasm of the party as a whole. I have found that, as I get older and my legs tire more easily, I have become more fussy about snow conditions.

I don't know how things are in Alpine ski resorts at the moment, but the Californian resorts have really escalated their prices a lot in the last couple of years. They had quite of few years of poor snow conditions, and now Covid, so the outlook is not looking good. When I was at South Lake Tahoe in Feb, the resort had just about priced itself out of the mass market, and seemed to be relying mainly on retirees like myself. (All the music on the slopes was of late 60's and 70's vintage, presumably aimed at that market!). The younger, snowboarding contingent had dwindled a lot.

 Ian W 09 Jan 2021
In reply to pec:

> The cheapest way to ski is to drive to France and stop in a self catering apartment. It helps if you have a frugal diesel and works out cheaper the more people go. You can stop in a Formule 1 motel en-route quite cheaply to avoid driving through the night.

> We are constrained by school holidays which whack up the accommodation costs but have our own skis and always buy a full area pass. Stopping in the good resorts, Maribel, La Plagne, Chamonix etc, we ski for about £600 each for a week.

> Ski hire would add c.£90, a limited area pass would save c.£50 but still give access to more skiing than most Eastern European resorts. Easter is a good bit cheaper than Xmas and Feb half term and the weather’s better! The better resorts still offer good skiing at Easter.

> Lesser resorts would save a good bit on accommodation or the “out of the way” parts of the high end resorts which can still give reasonable access.


+1 to basically all of this - when i was a young keenie, we'd go in cold season to maximise the skiing; more than once we caught and overtook the piste patrol at the end of the day. With a family, completely different; later in season, and stay in lower resorts, driving or using ski bus to access higher areas. When the kids / her indoors came, we bought second hand skis / boots from a shop in Newcastle, then sold them on our return. Waaaay cheaper than rental in resort, kids absolutely guaranteed to have outgrown them by next year, and it means getting well fitting stuff before even leaving home. Yes its a pain driving to the alps from northern england, but so much cheaper than 5 flights, and we had a 7 seater peeps carrier anyway.

staying in lower resorts and late season also gives the option of other activities; interlaken in april meant skiing on the glacier, brill in the morning, and then some other activity in the afternoon - climbing, walking, rafting etc etc etc.

 TheGeneralist 10 Jan 2021
In reply to pec:

> Sub £600 is pretty good for anywhere decent.

> Was that last minute deal prices and was it in school holidays?

> School holidays is the killer for prices, especially half term.

Believe it or not, all February half term. The Arabba trip was indeed last minute legs deal (£243 pp) but all the others were booked in advance (DIY obviously)

Bit more info:

Yes, it is pretty stressful, even with just two kids.  Key things:

ROCES adjustable ski boots are the way forward.  We had three pairs at about £50 each, and they did most of 7 years for our kids.

4 pairs of skis and poles WILL fit in one ski bag under 20kg up until the kids are about 13 or so. You may need to remove some binding bits to achieve that.

The ski bag must have wheels (snowandrock one was fine).

Those lovely battered North Face Duffels you've used and cherished through your twenties and thirties... Leave them at home.  Get down to gooutdoors and buy three Berghaus roller mule bags. You can fit all the kit for 4 people, including boots, pads, airbags, helmets in 3 bags.

If you are buying Avi bag then get an electric one rather than compressed air (obvs)

Ryanair is good.  Had a quick look at old emails. One set of four flights at half term was only £477.  The other was £177 Including ski transport and baggage.

BAHN.de is even better. Family ticket from Munich airport to At Anton train station was way less than 100 quid.  Much much much infinitely less stress than car hire.

Frankfurt airport is a cheap option for skiing in Italy, but quite a drive 😁. I booked flights MAN -FRA for £5 + taxes the day we returned from another shit Scotland ski trip one year. Knowing that if I found a better deal we would get £360 of the £400 returned if we found a better deal elsewhere as it was taxes/charges.

https://www.stantonamarlberg.com/de is your friend. Do a search for your dates and focus on Pettnau, Schnan and the other place to the east. We paid between €600 & €850 for a 4 bed for a week at half term.  Big shop by taxi on arrival day and/or top up with perishables each day at the end of skiing.

The free ski bus works well, but you need to train the kids. Make it clear to them that they DO need to get on the bus come what may.  

Don't get fixated by France. Loads of Brits seem to think that Skiing =France. Austria is generally loads cheaper. And less busy, even at Fasching.

Looking at a previous post of mine, looks like we did 6 proper week Feb Half term holidays. The cheapest was £2200 but most were around £2600. But that included everything apart from our Annual Ski Insurance 😁

Taxi to airport.

Flights.

Luggage.

Ski carriage.

Accommodation.

Food.

Lunch in a hut.

Booze.

Lift Pass.

Ski School on most of them for the kids.

A day off piste guiding.

Sounenirs.

BUT. To echo the poster above, it wasn't relaxing.

Post edited at 11:07
 Cobra_Head 10 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Poland is cheap but can be variable for snow.

It can be quite hard getting around, Polish is quite hard to get a grip on linguistically, but that can be part of the fun.

We used to get a week for under £350, which included everything flights, digs, ski hire, passes, food and drink.

We had a Ploski with us though, so she was our interpreter.

 Ally101 10 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Madrid is pretty snowy at the minute.

In reply to Ally101:

So is North Yorkshire...skied from my front door yesterday, neighbour says we haven't had this much snow since 1986.

Post edited at 11:25
 robhorton 10 Jan 2021
In reply to pec:

You can save quite a lot on food if driving and self catering but it's a good idea to either take food with you, stop at a hypermarket on the way or get a delivery to the apartment (if they will take delivery for you). The food selection in most resorts is a bit limited and expensive.

In reply to John Stainforth:

I think you can safely say Lake Tahoe to ski from the UK is not a budget holiday.

I fancy it just for the chance of bumping in to Cody Townsend..

 mike123 12 Jan 2021
In reply to robhorton: food delivery to apartment , now there something I've never thought of. That would save a job / time. One of the advantages of going to the same place over and over is that all the annoying things that waste time have largely  been ironed out . Barring stuff like lost bags that are unavoidable . Did I mention lost bags . Wonder if anybody has ever managed to make the delivery happen ?  When I had friends living in Cham did get one of them who owed me more than a favour or two to go down to the hyper market with a large list .  But that was a one off .

In reply to robhorton:

> You can save quite a lot on food if driving and self catering but it's a good idea to either take food with you

Just don't take any meat or dairy products now!

 Alex1 12 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Italy can be a lot cheaper than France

- there are (well there used to be) dirt cheap flights to Milan

- Car hire is cheap

- Resorts are <1.5 hr up a motorway

- Lift passes are lower than France (although resorts smaller)

- Restaurant food is much better value (lower price and FAR higher quality)

 Not tried it during school holidays though so that may scupper the car and flight bit

In reply to Alex1:

> Italy can be a lot cheaper than France

It's a interesting what makes a complete ski holiday.....if you are skiing with young children then you want a lift reasonably close,not overly busy..easy slopes to finish the day on,child friendly lifts....magic carpet,heated seats,protected from elements.

Pistes that are well maintained...groomed... good piste markings...lots of mountain restaurants(toilet)...

It is hard to beat Austria and surprisingly good value...

Throw in the apre ski for the adults.

Post edited at 20:18
 TheGeneralist 12 Jan 2021
In reply to Shaun mcmurrough:

> if you are skiing with young children then you want a lift reasonably close,not overly busy..easy slopes to finish the day on,child friendly lifts....magic carpet,heated seats,protected from elements.

> Pistes that are well maintained...groomed... good piste markings...lots of mountain restaurants(toilet)...

Not sure if you're maybe overthinking it a bit.  Fair enough, if you're loaded then by all means get them, but they're not really needed.

And the OP is taking 6 year old, which is not so young.

We stressed for ages about whether it was a mistake booking Arabba for our five year old, as the resort runs were all red or black.  He was fine, the only bit that upset him was the fact that we told him his ski instructor wouldn't be able to come to his birthday party the following August.😄 He had such an amazing time. We all did.  Best ski hiday ever.

 ALF_BELF 12 Jan 2021
In reply to sxrxg:

Another vote for Jasná in Slovakia, we stayed here; https://mist-adventures.com/

Was £300 for 6 days and that's including your lift pass! It's basic but good for a cheap blast away.
Modern ski lifts and no queues either!

Post edited at 22:20
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Yes,maybe over thinking a bit but then I've had a cracking holiday at the Nevis Range with my kids...it's just a few thoughts...6 could be considered quite young...😉

My youngest started skiing at 2,at 8 he  could ski from the top tram at Jackson Hole but he's been spoilt...my other 3 had to make do with a later start..

Ps..ski school at Val di Fassa was very good.

Post edited at 22:47
In reply to ALF_BELF:

> Another vote for Jasná in Slovakia, we stayed here; https://mist-adventures.com/

> Was £300 for 6 days and that's including your lift pass! It's basic but good for a cheap blast away.

> Modern ski lifts and no queues either!

Sounds good...👍

 JH74 13 Jan 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist and other ski flyers

Crikey people. Flying short haul to go skiing? Talk about heads in the sand.

Surely there's a bit of you that thinks it's not a great idea, all things considered, what with global warming and all and aviations role in that and the effect it's having on ski resorts already?

Why not focus on ski resorts you can get to by train? Nicer than flying and less guilt, if you care about that kind of stuff? Cheap isn't everything.

In reply to deacondeacon:

We've had similar criteria to you for the past 6 years and have generally ended up in Italy.  Big draw was kids get free ski passes until they're 8. Self catering accommodation, drive out, buy skis/boots and pass them down through the kids as they grow.  

In terms of specific resorts, Cervinia was great. First trip we bought the little pass that only covers Italy, next trip we got the big one that allows you to go to Zermatt. Loads of easy to mid grade pistes, reliable at Easter as top lifts are high so guaranteed snow, occasional coffees are cheap.

Have also been to La Thuile which is a couple of hours less driving.

 deacondeacon 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam W:

That's sounds really promising, if I can pursuade the wife that driving to Italy is a good idea. Lol

 TheGeneralist 13 Jan 2021
In reply to JH74:

> In reply to TheGeneralist and other ski flyers

> Crikey people. Flying short haul to go skiing? Talk about heads in the sand.

> Surely there's a bit of you that thinks it's not a great idea, all things considered, what with global warming and all and aviations role in that and the effect it's having on ski resorts already?

> Why not focus on ski resorts you can get to by train? Nicer than flying and less guilt, if you care about that kind of stuff? Cheap isn't everything.

Yep, that is indeed a problem.  Regarding train travel, can I ask which part of the country you live in ?

 galpinos 13 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

It's worth noting that it's only "Family Week Plus" for under 7s, it sells out within a few days of going on sale. Also, with this years bookings being cancelled, there is an offer to move them to next year so it might be 2023 before there's a spot available!

 Moondancer 13 Jan 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Can't speak for JH74, but I did the journey by train from Edinburgh last year and would do it again. Took the train Friday afternoon/evening to London, stayed in Travelodge near Kings Cross, then direct Eurostar to the Alps the next day. On the way back we did the whole journey in a day. It's a long-ish journey, but fairly relaxing. And it means a proper night's sleep rather than getting up in the middle of the night for a 6am flight. 

 OwenM 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Moondancer:

Roughly how much did it cost you, and where abouts did you travel to.

 Moondancer 13 Jan 2021
In reply to OwenM:

I booked all of it (Eurostar, hotel, lift pass) as a package, so not sure how much the transport alone was. If I remember correctly, the train package was a little bit (but not much) more than the equivalent flight package. The main difference was the additional cost of the train return to London + night in the Travelodge, which totalled about £90pp. That was to Les Menuires - train to Moutiers and then 40 minute shuttle to the resort. 

 S Ramsay 13 Jan 2021
In reply to OwenM:

If you book when the train tickets go on sale its about £80 each way for the overnight one and a bit more for the day train. At first this looks expensive compared to flying but it saves a lot of money on the transfer which for the Tarentise resorts can be very expensive.

If you do take the overnight train then you end up with 8 days of skiing rather than 6 which means an extra two days lift passes and probably a meal out as you won't have your accommodation on the final evening. For me, this is one of the selling points of taking the train and it makes your holiday better value in terms of days skiing/£ but it is more £s in total.

 Le Sapeur 13 Jan 2021
In reply to mike123:

> Flying : load you , your gear , kids and their  gear into car at some ungodly hour .  drive to airport . Unload all of above at parking . Transfer to departures without loosing child / bag / your new touring skis with 400 quids worth  of dynafit bindings etc ) Check in . Fly . Pick up hire car. Attempt to load all of above into undersized hire car . Mange just . Drive to resort . Find apparatnent . Unload . Have top draw fun week. Now reapeat all of above  of above in reverse . 

Or, better still. Fly BA on a flight that leaves at a sensible time. Load 2 bags each. Hire a car that will fit your gear. Satnav your way to the accommodation. BA isn't so much more expensive than the cheapos.

And crucially, leave the kids at home with gran. You will have a much more enjoyable holiday without them. 

 mike123 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Le Sapeur: not sure about you , but I quiet like my kids . All three are canny  skiers . However there are rumblings about , wait for it “snow boarding”  , in which case off to grannies it is until they re paying their own way .

edit : picture the scence . It s late at night at Geneva airport  and easyJet  have lost one of your bags . Before try to deal with it you call hire car company ( French side ) and explain why you are going to be late . They are completely disinterested but after much pleading agree to sort something out . After to much waiting around and being told your bag will arrive you are eventually told it won’t . You go to collect hire car to find that despite having booked a large estate you have been given an suv with a stupidly small boot . Again  Gallic shrug of shoulders and this time it s tuff luck because they really don’t have any more cars apart from something very much smaller . . All of the above with three small children in tow . 

Post edited at 14:36
 mike123 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam W: likewise to deacon, france has always seemed far enough to drive for a week, although i m very keen to try italy , talk us through driving out for week ? i ve driven to the dolomites a few times for climbing but always for a few weeks. always felt like a long way .

edit :yet again stand corrected. just googled cockermouth to cervinia . 1039 miles. Not really that much furthur than Cham. Right....

Post edited at 15:11
 dabble 13 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

This thread has me pining for the slopes

Driving/ train sounds time consuming but fun (I don't have children, I imagine that would be less fun).

Has anyone taken a train to the Alps from here? Is there much to see out of the window? I remember reading the UKC article about train travelling, twas an interesting and inspiring piece. Pity our freedom of movement has been curtailed by the virus and other undesirable factors.

 deacondeacon 13 Jan 2021
In reply to dabble:

I actually travelled to the alps by train when I was 18. It was  called the Snow Train (I think), and was an overnighter with sleeping cabins, although I spent most of the night on the onboard nightclub. Going to be honest, I don't think my wife would fancy sharing sleeping cabins with strangers tbh. 

 Le Sapeur 13 Jan 2021
In reply to mike123:

> not sure about you , but I quiet like my kids .

I've never met them but I'm sure they are great.

In reply to deacondeacon:

A bit more on driving out to France/Italy for skiing with kids

When they were little (youngest was about 18 months). 

Ferry Dover-Calais leaving 2pm, always gone DFDS as they seem cheapest.  Couple of hours of kids running/toddling/soft play on boat.  Get off the ferry 5ish French time.  Keep them awake for a bit with singing, feed them after about an hour and hope they go to sleep.  Drive as long as possible (usually about midnight and somewhere round Dijon), identify nearest Formula 1 hotel, book room.  Parent 1 checks in with 1 child and takes them to room.  Text Parent 2 the key code, they follow after about 5 minutes with child 2.  This means you only have to pay for one room, about £30 (official capacity is three people).  2 kids sleep in double bed with wife, I'm grumpy about sharing and get the high level single bed.

Next day, hit the road 8ish, kids usually ok until you arrive in resort around lunchtime (depending on exactly how far you're going).

Now (kids 7 and 9 last time we did it).

Ferry Dover-Calais leaving 8am ish.  Drive all day, plan stops by balancing grumpiness of passengers with desire to make progress.  Accept that abandoning limits on screen time is worth it when facing 900km of French autoroute.  Arrive in resort about 9pm, unload car and collapse into bed.  Get up next morning for full day of skiing, at which point the journey suddenly feels worthwhile.

Return journeys don't have a strict schedule, but usually involve the F1 child smuggling again and a ferry around lunchtime on a Sunday (French time).

In reply to Sam W:

Dfds definitely cheapest...the lorry drivers favourite.

Brits who drive to ski resorts usually have volvo estates and dress like they are straight out of a Warren Miller film from the 70's...😁

Post edited at 18:06
 mike123 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam W: thanks sam. cervina looks good. journey  sounds pretty simlar to me although usualyl just decide on an F1 get it prebooked  and push on to it. cervina looks good. just been googling hotels and appartments in cervinia. any recomendations ? a few more thoughts from me for the thread in general  . having skied quiet a bit in cham i took the kids there a couple of times on the basis that local knowledge would help. having done this , there are some pros but lots of cons. our next trip will be somewhere small with all routes funneling down to one place and hopefully accomodation very near to first lift. this means less faf in a morning and the evening . my three have all skied a reasonable amount in scotland , last time at cairngorm (2 years ago) the elder two had a ball sking together while i skied with the little one. they then found us and showed us where they d been.  this is very good training for "abroad" as its all that bit harder in scotland. its been mentioned above but if you have your own gear then get second hand (or new if you like !) for the kids . it cuts out a level of faf ,saves time  and saves money. i m not 100 per cent sure but i may have got some of our kit from the generalist (?) via ukc, lots from  ebay and some via friends and friends of friends. this summer sports direct ( not somewhere i d normally shop) had some cracking deals on skis on ebay but we already had the sizes they had.

 mike123 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Shaun mcmurrough: surely  T5 s, kids with long hair and those peruvian hats.

Post edited at 18:31
In reply to mike123:

> thanks sam. cervina looks good. journey  sounds pretty simlar to me although usualyl just decide on an F1 get it prebooked  and push on to it. cervina looks good. just been googling hotels and appartments in cervinia. any recomendations ? 

We've always just gone with a cheapish place from Airbnb. In practice this has meant staying in the area of town called Cielo Alto. It's too far to walk to the lift but assuming there's snow to town level you can ski down and piste runs past so you can get home at end of day. There's a bakery and small shop in Cielo Alto, but the bigger supermarket is in town centre. Either a steep walk or quick jump in the car to get there

 dabble 13 Jan 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

All nighter in the on board nightclub? Sounds class. Though losing a day skiing to a hangover/ come down would probably make it less class.

I'm off to investigate the logistics involved.

 deacondeacon 13 Jan 2021
In reply to dabble:

Looking back, it was great but it was over twenty years ago. It may have changed significantly. 

In reply to mike123:

Ha ha...thought I might have had pile on with that comment.I've got a T5 and been to Cham in summer but never driven to ski....

Fancy the party train to Bourg.....😉

Post edited at 19:55
 TheGeneralist 13 Jan 2021
In reply to dabble:

The overnight snowtrain is no more apparently.  ( The proper one)

 RobAJones 13 Jan 2021
In reply to mike123:

From Cockermouth we now tend to use the overnight Harwich-Rotterdam ferry. Hull-Rotterdam saves some driving time but is more expensive and doesn't reduce the total journey time for us. From Rotterdam we normally get to Saas, Mayrhofen, Solden by about 8/9pm.

 TheGeneralist 13 Jan 2021
In reply to mike123:

>  i m not 100 per cent sure but i may have got some of our kit from the generalist (?) via ukc

True dat. 😁

Did you get any use out of them? Still got the 120s and some 130s and some boots that I need to sell.

Son2 wants to go boarding instead. ...😩😫😔

 mike123 13 Jan 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Yes  got plenty of use out of the kit . Glencie  was In Top draw nick just before  lock down one and we went up three long weekend  almost on the bounce. . That meant Each bit of new to us kit paid for itself. llll  take a look at the corner of the bike shed that now looks like the rental corner of a cheap Eastern European youth hostel . I think we are sorted for 120 s and 130 s  but let me have a think. .

Edit :

what size boots 

Post edited at 22:21
In reply to RobAJones:

How does Solden compare to Myrhof?..I've been to Soll,Saalbach and Myrhof..a few times so could do with trying another after St Anton.

 TheGeneralist 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Shaun mcmurrough:

Not been to Sölden for years (>17) but really enjoyed it. Two glaciers, very high top lift. Good skiing.

Could also do a day at the 'gurgls as well which are also good.  In fact I think those two areas are the key season starters and enders in Austria alongside Tux, and the other glacier whose name escapes me...

Raucous apres ski apparently.

Go there.

Post edited at 15:06
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Just checking prices at the Das Central now...😉

In my dreams...

Post edited at 16:52
 RobAJones 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Shaun mcmurrough:

Last time we were there was two years ago, but the generalists summary is still accurate. We normally drive so normally stop nearby rather than in Solden itself. Regarding "Raucous apres ski" Mrs J doesn't approve of one of the establishments on the main street. Ishgul/Galtur might be another area worth looking at, especially if there are some future bargins due to their association with covid.

 TheGeneralist 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Shaun mcmurrough:

Lieber Gott. Das ist teuer in  das Central.😁

I think Sölden was in fact the last time we stayed in a hotel for a week skiing. ~17 years ago.  Back in the days when Austrian prices were even even cheaper and the exchange rate was infinitely more optimal.  Those were the days.

#BrexitDividend

In reply to TheGeneralist:

The cheapest accommodation I've stayed in was the Bunker in Verbier...old nuclear shelter,underground...no windows.

It was attached to a sports centre so we could use the pool,jacuzzi...cheap meals.....


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