Christmas Skiing On a Budget 

A CoachHire.com guide for groups

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? It’s looking pretty unlikely this year in the UK…so why not to escape abroad? We know it’s last minute, if you go skiing or snowboarding for Christmas, snow’s guaranteed! You’re probably thinking: ‘Go skiing now? It’s already December, prices are going to be mad!’ Not to worry, last minute holidays can be a real bargain, believe me (editor: she’s on the slopes herself)! Most travel agents offer special deals, including lift passes and ski/snowboard hire for free, because the season is just about to start.

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If you're looking for a quick and easy booking, then go for the package options, as they'll include most of the aspects of your stay. Don't be fooled into thinking everything is a deal though, as with a bit of quick research you can often save by booking each item directly, without a travel agent. You'll also avoid booking fees and hidden costs, but remember to cost in your meals! You'll also find the choice of accommodation and resort greatly limited by the travel agent. Most importantly of all, the best deals for groups are available direct from the resorts and suppliers themselves, as traditional travel agents are less group focused when it comes to ski resorts. All-in-all we want to reassure you that you don’t have to rob a bank to get away this Christmas. All costs below are for: 19.12.15 – 26.12.15 for up to 10 people.

France

Great budget ski holidays this year are to be found in France. Resorts such as: Alpe D’Huez, Les-Deux Alpes, La Plagne and Tignes are the cheapest.

  • Alpe D’Huez is good for beginners, intermediates, advanced and snowboarders. It’s one of the sunniest resorts in the Alps, voted European Resort of the Year at the World Snow Awards in 2015. The resort itself leans towards the expensive side, as it is one of the most popular ones.

Best for: Intermediates

  • Tignes is great for intermediates, advanced and snowboarders with guaranteed snow all season long! There is plenty of off-piste skiing for the adventurous. Tignes is an ideal resort for groups as there’s a lively après scene with many bars and restaurants to choose from, but on the other hand Tignes provides child friendly entertainment, such as swimming pools and ice skating rinks.

Best for: Groups, intermediates, advanced

  • Les-Deux Alpes is suitable for intermediates, advanced and snowboarders, as they have a great snow park with a massive halfpipe, which is why I’m hitting that slope this week! It’s a snow sure destination, with the largest skiable glacier in Europe and great off-piste area, what also made me choose this location.

Best for: Snowboarders like this blogger!

  • La Plagne is more for beginners, intermediates and advanced with lots of long and wide slopes. La Plagne is a set of small villages. The region is known for its variety, from the long, tree-lined runs in Montchavin to the deep powder located on the Bellecote glacier.

Best for: Beginners

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Without a travel agent

Accommodation: £97 – £106 per person for budget hotels with good standards.

Lift Pass: £163pp

Ski/Snowboard Hire: Skis £75, snowboard £108 at Skiset

Flights From: London £68, Midlands £61, Manchester £64 per person.

Food:  If you're looking to keep costs down, avoid the ones on the slopes! You can generally get a good dinner for between £10-£17 a head.

Total: £521

 

With a Travel Agent

Package (Flights + Airport Transfer in France + Accommodation + lift pass + ski/snowboard hire):

All inclusive: For 9 people, price range = £5559 (£617pp) to £5898 (£655pp), whereas for 4 people you'll find £2516 (£629pp) and £3400 (£850pp) for budget all-inclusive holidays.

Half board B&B: For 9 people it’s about £5559 (£617pp), whereas for 4 people it would be between £2624 (£656pp) and £3854 (£963pp).

Prices vary greatly depending on the number of people. The bigger your group, the lower the per person price! Groups will often receive lift passes and ski hire deals, meaning they can save even if booking without the help of a travel agent. 

Austria

In Austria the cheapest resorts to visit before or during Christmas are: Söll, Kaprun and Niederau.

  • Part of Austria’s largest linked ski area is Söll, perfect for intermediates and snowboarders. It’s the British and Irish favourite Austrian destination, because of its good value on and off the slopes. Worth going with a group of friends as this resort is famously best after skiing with parties/events and a vibrant nightlife.

Best for: Groups

  • Great for all levels and type of equipment is Kaprun with its awesome 3,029 m glacier. A family resort, good for easy cruising and beginners, but could be challenging for intermediates riding on Black Mamba – the glacier.

Best for: Families

  • Niederau is suitable mainly for beginners and intermediates. A traditional and relaxed village, with wide open nursery slopes and an excellent ski school – simply a great family resort!

Best for: Families and beginners

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Without a travel agent

Accommodation: £68pp - £111pp

Lift Pass: £185pp or ski pack (lift pass + ski/snowboard hire) £302  at Skiamade

Ski/Snowboard Hire: Skis £69 Snowboard £88 

Flights: London £99, Midlands £72, Liverpool £96 per person.

Food and drinks: Similar to or even cheaper than in France.

Total: £521

 

 

Travel Agent

Package (Flights + Airport Transfer in France + Accommodation + lift pass + ski/snowboard hire):

All inclusive: For 9 people it’s £6759.00 (£751pp), whereas for 4 people it’s about £3276 (£818pp). Austria is much more group friendly!

Half Board or B&B: For 9 people it’s between £4851 (£539pp) and £4518 (£502pp), whereas for 4 people it’s between £3004 (£751pp) and £2416 (£604pp).  

Total: £751pp or £559pp

Remember the more people the better! All three resorts have good deals from travel agents on half price ski passes and cheaper holidays for groups. Bed and breakfast or half board is usually included in the price. Kaprun and Niederau even offer free skiing for kids up to 10 years old. Austria ski packages are slightly more expensive than in France and boast fewer deals, but the resorts themselves are slightly cheaper, so even if you’ve chosen bed and breakfast or half board, you can easily go to the restaurant without worrying about the price. Overall Austria and France are in the same price range after taking into account all aspects of your stay.

Bulgaria

We think that it’s worth seeing some other slopes than the (over)popular Alps. So here’s two more interesting destinations: Bansko and Pamporovo. Both are welcoming and friendly family resorts with loads of trials for beginners and intermediates.

Bansko is nothing but affordable luxury. This resort is one of the best in Bulgaria, with some seriously nice hotels for budget prices! You’ll not only be spending time before or during Christmas on a slope but in a great hotel/chalet like the Aparthotel Belmont. The town is massive and thriving with bars and restaurants, and is very easy on the wallet.

Best for: Groups, relax, intermediates

Pamporovo is very much a family resort with gentle slopes and a ski school voted number 1 in Europe. It’s unbelievably cheap, good hotels cost you £250pp and you don’t even have to worry about food because the price is all-inclusive!

Best for: Families, beginners

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Without a travel agent

Accommodation: £39pp - £56pp for good hotels

Flights: They are the only down side of Bulgaria during Christmas, due to the fact that many Bulgarian people live in the UK they want to visit their home country during Christmas, so prices are quite high! You are looking at: London £244, Manchester £288 per person.

Ski Pack: Lift Pass+ Skis, poles and boots from €80 - £58pp or Ski Pack: Lift Pass + Skis, poles and boots + Ski School From €98 - £71 at Ski Holiday Extras

Food and drinks: Bulgaria is very easy on your wallet so you can easily recoup the costs of the flight on your food and drink.

Total: £391pp for everything!

Travel Agent

Package (Flights + Airport Transfer in France + Accommodation + lift pass + ski/snowboard hire):

All inclusive: For 9 people it’s £5238.00 which is £582pp which is the same in terms of 4 people (£582pp)

Half Board or BB: For 9 people it’s between £3220.00 (£357pp) and £3569 (£396pp), whereas for 4 people it’s between £1920 (£480pp) and £1776 (£444pp).

Total: £582pp or £357pp

You can book Bulgaria for less than £400pp this year and it is a really great place to spend your time before or during Christmas. You can enjoy your time there with the little ones, as the resorts and hotels are very family friendly. To add to this, Bulgaria packages also offer loads of deals like free passes, ski hire, ski packs or deals for children, all on top of those cheap hotel prices, meaning you won’t get stung by hidden costs!


 

All that's left to consider is your transport to the airport! Groups can make huge savings on minibus transfers compared to taxis or cabs which will also struggle to accommodate your luggage if there's more than 3 or 4 of you. Remember one vehicle is generally cheaper than two or three! If you're a smaller group with your own equipment, a minicoach with separate luggage compartment is ideal for taking you and your skis/boards to the terminal and home again after your holiday. Get in touch with our expert travel advisers on 0203 397 4460 or use the quote form above to take advantage of our great prices on group travel.

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