Skiing is a great family holiday, with reasonable travel times and most Continental resorts well equipped with crèches, kids clubs and ski schools for smaller members – and, of course, plenty of mountains and mulled wine for parents.
However, it can be pricey – factor in accommodation, lift passes, lessons and ski hire for your brood, and you’re looking at a significant budget hit.
There are ways to put the piste within your reach though. We look at key ways to cut costs when heading to the slopes.
Choose your destination carefully
Think creatively, and pick a more unusual destination than France, Switzerland or Austria.
Scotland and Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria and Slovenia offer real ski holiday value for money.
Resorts here are smaller and very family friendly, with more learner slopes and ski passes that are a fraction of the price.
Or head to Andorra – an excellent budget choice for family ski holidays, with good infrastructure, well-groomed slopes and even tax-free shopping.
Time it right
Get the timing right and you’ll reduce costs significantly. Book for Christmas, New Year and school half terms (including European half term, the last two weeks in February) and you’ll pay through the nose.
Ski holidays are generally cheapest at the beginning of the season, when the slopes are also less crowded and more pleasant for little (and big) wobblers on skis.
You can also find some good deals at the end of the season if you look around, especially if snowfall hasn’t been particularly good that year.
Costs can mount up if you’re putting a ski holiday together from scratch, unless you have the time and tenacity to price everything up extremely carefully.
An all-inclusive holiday can be a good solution, putting a reassuring cap on your budget.
Look for all-inclusive deals such as those from Club Med, which can take care of everything, from accommodation and food to ski passes, lessons and childcare – so you know exactly how much you’re spending.
Bring your own childcare
If you want to cut crèche costs or keep childcare continuity, look out for companies that offer discounts if you want to bring grandparents or childminders with you.
It can be a win-win solution for everyone – and bigger resorts on the Continent have a wealth of activities for non-skiers, from sledging and shopping to spas.
Think big. Larger resorts may look the more expensive option at first, but dig around and you’ll find packages that include free childcare or child ski lessons.
And big operators, such as Thomson Ski, often have price busting options, such as free child places on family holidays and free lift passes – these deals are limited though, so you’ll need to get in quick.