The ‘schhh’, ‘schhh’ under your skis as you gracefully carve your way down the slope may as well be ‘kerching’, ‘kerching’ as your bank balance heads deeper and deeper into the red. Unless you recently won Euromillions or you’re a king pin class-A drugs smuggler (white powder being your thing), you’ll no doubt wince at the bill for a week’s skiing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By tweaking your plans, you can save a fortune on a skiing holiday this winter.
Slovin' it up
Before you scrabble for your atlas (lol, I mean Google Maps) I’ll break the suspense, Slovinia is sort of middle south Europe, two o’clock from Italy. And its that lack of name recognition that means that, as a ski destination, it manages to stay under the radar. However, a ski pass is about 1/3 of the cost in an Alpine one and the nightlife may be pretty low key, if you’re craving a party you can get to the capital Ljubljana in about an hour.
Keeping it Rila
The Rila Mountains, I’ll bet a fair amount you’ve never heard of them, but it’s probably where yuo’re headed if you’re considering Bulgaria as a ski destination. An hour and a half from Sofia (plenty of direct flights from UK, albeit probably Luton), this post-communist state has transformed itself into a trendy destination and the ski action is very respectable.
Stay or Romain-ia?
We can’t get enough of Eastern Europe in the search of cheap skiing and Romania is worth having a glance at. Poiana-Brasov is small, but would be perfect for a beginner, and for the price (it’s not just that you save on ski passes, it’s the whole thing; accommodation, travel, food and drink (have you seen how much a pint costs in Chamonix?) where the economy of a location like Romania starts to make sense.
Slovak to the future
Don’t confuse your Slovinias and Slovakias, they hate that. But if you’ve accidentally tried to book a flight to Vogel and realised you’re in the wrong country you could do a lot worse than Slovakia’s Jasna. The resort has received significant investment of late, making it a very credible destination as you ski down Mount Chopok.
Söll-ong, expensive resorts
Austria is often a go-to when you’re after an Alpine skiing experience, but don’t want to go three-valleys deep in debt. And Söll is a decent option as it’s part of one of the largest ski areas in the country and with its traditional Tirolean feel it’s a million miles from the austere former Soviet feel that some of the Eastern European resorts can exhibit.
No tax? Even vat-ter!
Okay so it’s a slipping nightmare to get to, granted (genuinely, you’re looking at three hours from Innsbruck), but the remoteness helps on the price and, even better, it’s a weird little Italian tax haven, which means there’s no VAT! Added to that the skiing’s particularly good and you’ve all the more reason to consider it.