For families wanting to hit the slopes this winter without breaking the bank, choosing the right resort is crucial - and getting it wrong can be a costly mistake. New research by the travel money specialists No1 Currency has exposed the huge disparity in prices between some of Europe’s most popular resorts, and reveals where you can get more bang for your buck.
Remarkably, choosing the world-renowned ski resort of Chamonix in France (£5,924 for a family of four for a week) over Zermatt in Switzerland (£9,720) will save you more than what the average household spends on groceries in a year (£2,953). *
Switzerland and Austria are the most expensive skiing destinations in Europe, while in some cases Italy and Bulgaria are half the price. A family can enjoy a week of skiing in Bansko in Bulgaria for £4,442, while this would cost nearly double in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee (£8,546).
Switzerland is famous for its beauty and Grindelwald is renowned for its stunning views, but it comes at an eye-watering price. At £10,100, a week’s skiing in Grindelwald costs the same as a brand-new Renault Twingo, and 80% more than a similar break at Les Deux Alpes - the French resort blessed with the largest skiable glacier in Europe. By comparison, an all-inclusive two-week family holiday to the Maldives will cost you £200 less (£9,912). *
A family of four can ski for two weeks in Pamporovo in Bulgaria (£4,396) for the same price as a week in Zermatt in Switzerland. Zermatt may have some of the longest runs in Europe, but its ski passes are among the most expensive. A week’s pass there weighs in at £314 - which is £100 more than a pass in St Anton in Austria (£219).
Italy has a great range of resorts and is also known for its favourable weather. A week’s skiing for two in Cervinia costs £2,790 - half the price of a similar trip to any of the main Swiss resorts. If you are looking for a romantic trip at an accessible price, the Italian resorts of La Thuile (£2,914) and Selva Val Gardena (£2,988) are also worth considering.
While the cost of renting ski equipment is only a small part of the total cost of a ski break, it all adds up - and there is a huge disparity between resorts. Renting skis and boots in Borovets in Bulgaria (£55) is a quarter of the cost in Ischgl in Austria (£195) - a saving of £140 per person.
Location Ski/boot hire Area lift pass Flights & Accommodation Total per person Total family of four
per person (6 days) per person (6 days) per person (7 nights)
Bulgaria incl incl £1,149 £1,149 £4,396
Bulgaria £64 £119 £1054 £1,237 £4,442
Bulgaria £55 £124 £1449 £1,628 £5,556
Italy £92 £291 £1301 £1,684 £5,580
Les Deux Alpes,
France £121 £229 £1335 £1,685 £5,620
Italy £140 £212 £1168 £1,520 £5,828
France £158 £274 £1226 £1,658 £5,924
Selva Val Gardena,
Italy £107 £267 £1279 £1,653 £5,976
Austria £177 £243 £1200 £1,620 £6,064
France £155 £263 £1533 £1,951 £6,148
France £140 £258 £1531 £1,929 £6,320
Austria £144 £209 £1225 £1,578 £6,312
France £135 £263 £1818 £2,216 £ 6,652
France £163 £263 £1732 £2,158 £6,784
Austria £171 £219 £1369 £1,759 £6,788
Austria £195 £267 £1239 £1,701 £6,804
France £176 £258 £1793 £2,403 £6,852
Switzerland £199 £275 £2091 £2,565 £8,546
Switzerland £150 £314 £2492 £2,956 £9,720
Switzerland £230 £259 £2113 £2,602 £10,100
Simon Phillips, Retail Director at No1 Currency, comments: “Skiing has never been a cheap holiday, but the weak Pound has ratcheted up prices even further for Britons wanting to hit the European pistes this winter.
“The combination of good infrastructure and the odd dash of celebrity glamour make the well-established resorts in the big three skiing countries - Austria, Switzerland and France - an attractive but expensive proposition.
“A week-long trip to Switzerland for a family of four can set you back the cost of a small family car before you even board the plane.*
“So if you’re on a tighter budget it makes sense to choose resorts in Bulgaria and parts of Italy, as they are a lot more affordable - but make sure you shop around for currency before you leave to ensure you get the best possible rate.”