Cheap Ski Retreats

Skiing and snowboarding have never been budget sports. In London we’re miles away from the nearest mountain and all the kit and extras don’t come cheap. But with a bit of planning you can cut into the slopes without cutting into your savings.

One way to save is by travelling by coach. You can get to Bride Les Bains from £68 with Snow Express. An Olympic Village for the Winter Games in 1992, it’s a great base for nearby ski slopes at Méribel. It’s not much of a party town, but it does have some nice spas.

Get your fix over a weekend and be back in time for work on Monday. I found a two-night stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen including lift passes, accommodation and travel for £107 with SnowTrex. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is great for après ski. Enjoy good old Bavarian hospitality with plenty of beer and dancing.

Bargains are still to be had in Eastern Europe. Serbia, Slovenia and Bulgaria all have some great resorts, many of which have been completely overlooked by British snowbunnies. Resorts in the east tend not to be as slick as some of the big boys in the Alps, so you may find yourself queing for the lifts and things. But it’s all worth it knowing you’re getting the same thrills for half the price.

Poiana Brasov is a beautiful resort. It’s in Romania, Transylvania in fact, and it’s well worth having a look around the pretty town of Brasov while you’re there. This is a good place for beginners and the equipment hire is really good value too.

Some traditionally dirt cheap ski haunts have scrubbed up in recent years. Soldeu in Andorra isn’t as bargainous as it used to be, but it’s still good value. High up in the Pyrenees with runs suiting all abilities, a half pipe, jumps and rails for boarders and hundreds of snow cannons, it’s now one of the world’s biggest and best for snowsports.

Pubs, bars and shops have mushroomed in the town and there’s plenty of decent acomodation to choose from. Best of all – duty free prices mean even the partying’s good value for money. 

Next time: Up in Smoke – Amsterdam…

Image courtesy of Flickr

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