Are you in search of the best ‘deal’ on the internet for a ski or snowboard holiday? Look no further. Ski Deal Comparison breaks down everything you need to know about finding the most suitable deal no matter the criteria.
Skiing holidays aren’t just for the fanatics. There are a multitude of activities one can undertake when hidden away in a snow set paradise. Snowboarding, snow mobiles, sledging, spa days, fine dining, luging. You name it, some ski resort will have it. That’s why its important to understand what type of ski holiday you are after! Let’s break it down and find what suits you the most.
Group Size – this is a useful thing to understand ahead of your snow trip. It quite often drives booking selection for hotels, flights, transfers and sometimes discounts. The designated ‘ring leader’ often has a tough time organising the herd so aim to plan ahead and set the ball rolling early. If you’re skiing in the northern hemisphere then creating a group chat or email chain among your pals around October time is about right. This way you’re ahead of the curve in terms of flight bookings and accommodation deals etc. If you’re a couple, start the conversation early with your better half to drive some thoughts and decision making, the same applies for families.
Holiday Type – Once you’ve determined the group size, try to understand what type of ski holiday the group is after. Are you in search of something on budget to simply get to the slopes and get started? Are you in search of crazy Après Ski where you’ll spend all night partying and dabble in a bit of skiing? If you’re in search of quality skiing with important factors such as family friendly restaurants, sleek hotels and highly rated ski areas then this is important distinguishing factors. Discuss with your partners in crime to understand everyone’s needs. Don’t book a hectic Après centred holiday if you’ve got babies in tow!
Now that you’ve decided two of the most important factors for your holiday, you’ve significantly narrowed down your target market and made your booking choices easier. Lets break down each Ski Deal Comparison’s main filters to help you better understand what drives each. These are; budget holidays, Après Skiing, Skiing focused and Luxury
Budget Ski Holiday
Doing a skiing holiday on a budget is the most common type of holiday in the snow market. We don’t all have mega bucks to spend and costs can ramp up quickly unless managed. So, lets focus on what drives costs up and how we can keep them low to keep everyone happy! We’re going to approach this as if were aiming to get the most cost-effective skiing holiday out there. i.e what is the absolute lowest cost we can get from front door to slope?
- Time of year – one of the biggest cost elements is the time of year you wish to ski. Early in the season where snow conditions can be variable are often significantly cheaper. Right at the beginning of the season around mid-December is when accommodation is usually vacant and cost effective. This is due to the keen skiiers preferring to wait until later in the season where snow conditions may be more favourable. If you wish to go on the very first week of the season then monitor snow conditions carefully and pray for a fresh dump of snow regularly to pack a solid base level. Christmas and New Year are expensive weeks due to holiday season. Families like to spend time in ski chalets for the festive period and this drives cost up. School holidays can also see a significant increase in the cost of a ski holiday. Flights and accommodation increase as the providers try and target the families and thus the demand increases! Inversely, you can pick up some last-minute ski deals towards the end of the season where demand has dropped and everyone has picked up their ‘snow fix’.
- Accommodation Type – A major contributing factor to cost is the ski accommodation you choose. Depending on the type of holiday you seek, most people spend very little time in their accommodation. Normally by the time you spend 8 hours skiing, have a hot chocolate or pint in the après bars followed by dinner you are ready for bed. Plus you are up early again the next day to get more skiing in. Choose wisely, if you’re in search of luxury then fully catered chalets and 5* hotels are what you seek. For budget ski holidays, half board and self-catering accommodation blocks should fulfil your basic requirements.
- Booking method – Choosing to book through a large brand provider can add a % increase to your bottom line holiday cost. Booking your own accommodation, lift passes, flights, transfers, ski hire and ski insurance can often dramatically decrease the cost per head. If you are willing to do the research and co-ordinate all the necessities this can significantly reduce cost. A site such as Compare Travel Essentials can help with all of this.
- Location, Location, Location – Choosing where you book is equally important as choosing when to book. If you go where the crowds are and where the bustle is then costs are destined to be high. Food, alcohol and accommodation are all going to be heavily ‘tourist taxed’ to increase their own margins. If you choose big names such as the Three Valleys, Zermatt, St Anton etc then be prepared to pay the price. On the contrary, places like Bulgaria, Afghanistan & Japan offer high quality skiing for a fraction of the cost. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each so do your research or check out Ski Deal Comparison’s resort ratings.
- Travel Method – Choosing how you get to your resort of choice offers opportunities to cut costs. Use comparison tools such as SkyScanner or Google Flights to find the best hub to fly from, pick early morning flights to keep costs low. If you have a family, consider the long drive down through France. Research your route though, tolls can be expensive! There are uber low cost-effective solutions such as a bus. Some providers offer bus round trips for around £40!
- Distance – There are two factors to consider when analysing the cost ratio. How far away the resort is from the airport and how far away your accommodation is from the nearest ski lift. The former is unique to a few resorts where a super long transfer of 3+ hours may offer better rates. The latter has large cost saving potential! If you are willing to grab a shuttle bus to the nearest lift as opposed to ski in / ski out or within walking distance then prices are usually lower. Most resorts offer free shuttle services as part of your lift pass anyway!
Family Centred Ski Holiday
If you are seeking a family centred ski holiday then you may wish for some additional or more favourable criteria. Sometimes, this may come at a cost however plenty of resorts are family focused!
- Suitability Factor – This ‘factor’ comprises of a few elements and can change depending on the main overarching requirement. Assess the below mentioned criteria and multiply them together to create a rough approximation for each resort to determine which is most suitable.
- Ski Area – If you are a family of beginners or young children then one of the most important factors is a family friendly ski area. The resort should have a good balance of green and blue runs (ski piste difficulty scale). Search your resort in google to check out the breakdown of piste difficulties or have a look at Ski Deal Comparison’s resort ranking.
- Accessibility – More often than not, ski resorts are tucked away in remote locations, high up a mountainside. This can make accessing the resort quite tricky. Check out how easy it is to access your resort of choice before booking. For example, to access Avoriaz, you must take a two hour bus journey from the airport to the ski haven Morzine, catch a cable car up the mountain, then find a taxi or horse and sled to pull you further up to your accommodation which can be rather expensive! Add in the faff of picking up ski rental and you potentially may be adding a lot of extra stress. Choose an easy access resort to keep cortisol levels low!
- Instructorship – If you seek ski lessons as part of your holiday then be sure to check out the availability of instructor schools prior to booking. Most resorts have good teaching facilities but do some research prior to booking to ensure lesson availability. Freedom Snowsports offer ski and snowboarding schools in the French Alps, for example.
- Facilities – Restaurants, creches, spas, shops, sledging and snow trips all form an important part of your holiday experience. Be sure to check out what each resort has on offer to provide your group on ‘white out’ days when being on the slopes isn’t possible.
For the powder aficionados there lies some important boxes to tick off before jumping into your bindings and setting off on your skiing holiday. Chances are you know which resorts are the ones to be at and much of this article may be of little use, but if you’re seeking to bolden your skiing office chat over the water cooler then check out some of these things which may step up your game.
- Ski Area Rating – Ski Deal Comparison offers piste ratings to let you know where you can find the most blacks and difficult runs. Aim to hit resorts with more blacks and reds in order to increase the quality of your skiing and importantly increase the quality of your fellow skiers, which may provide more favourable conditions.
- Forecast – Skiing conditions mean everything for the skiing connoisseurs. Conduct some analysis to determine which resorts historically have the best conditions throughout the year. Set up email alerts for when there is snow dumps forecasted. No greater feeling exists when you’re sitting at your desk and an email rolls through letting you know that your resort of choice is about to get 50cm of fresh powder dumped on it.
- Optional’s – Be sure to check out what optional extras the resort can offer. Is there Heli Skiing? What level of the resort lends itself to off piste? Does some cross country skiing tickle your fancy?
- Events – If you are seeking pure skiing heaven, make sure there are no conflicting events being held at the same time as your trip.
- Location – Don’t fear adventuring out a little from your normal go-to locations. New resorts can offer new challenges and opportunities to carve fresh tracks in unfound locations
Après Ski Focused
For the advocates of the session, dusk till dawners, knowledge of the greatest party locations are essential. At Ski Deal Comparison we’ve set up an entire filter dedicated to finding the best Après Ski venues. So here are some favourable thoughts to ensure you’re in the right spot for the maddest Après.
- Festivals – A more regular occurrence in snow set paradise are festivals of all types. Some of the best DJ’s, bands and singers are now being flown out to Ski Resorts in week long or weekend focused ‘Après Festivals’. These are always destined to be good party destinations as you’ll be surrounded by like-minded party goers wishing to have a good time. Search for festival events which can offer the chance to ski as well as groove to some amazing line ups!
- Location – There lies no surprise that some locations are more Après centred than others. By doing your research into which resorts are tailored to late night entertainment, you can distinguish the hotspots from the not spots. Read reviews, check out if there are high quantities of pubs and clubs on the main street and ask previous trippers!
- La Folie Douce – La Folie is quintessential to Apres Ski. If there’s one in the resort you’re headed, you’re almost guaranteed perfect Apres. Expect champagne being sprayed, wine transported in mini gondolas and beer towers as a minimum.
- University Trips – Depending on your age, university trips, usually held at the beginning of the season or during the Easter break, offer a chance for some good Apres Ski opportunities. Most Universities organise or ensure there are DJ’s and special events being held at the resort when their trip is there. If you’re within the right age group or shameless then reach out to University Sno societies to jump on one of their trips!
That’s it for our guide to finding the best ski deal! Now it’s time to put all of this into practice. You know exactly what we’re going to say now – start your search on Ski Deal Comparison now!