Skiing can cost an arm and a leg — so it’s crucial to pick the right resort. This year’s Post Office ski report on costs in the Alps, in collaboration with Crystal Ski, shows that if you want a cheap deal, you should make a beeline for Bulgaria, which leads the list when it comes to reasonable prices.
In Borovets, costs have dropped by almost 7 per cent since the last report, bringing total expenditure for ski passes, equipment hire, ski schools and food and drink during a week to £427.17 — as the resort hopes to lure back skiers to the slopes.
Meanwhile — and perhaps surprisingly — Italian resorts stand out, too, with four of the top ten best-value resorts in the Italian Alps. Here, we round up some tempting deals and offer a flavour of what to expect in each destination.
The Post Office ski report has revealed the best-value resorts in Europe, with Bulgaria the No.1 when it comes to reasonable prices
Borovets is great for beginners and intermediates. Prices are always low, there are plenty of little bars and restaurants, and the setting is charming amid mountains covered in forest. It is at 1,300 metres, with slopes rising to 2,550 metres.
How to do it: Seven nights from £292 pp half-board departing from Gatwick on January 15 staying at Hotel Victoria (balkanholidays.co.uk).
In Pirin National Park, 100 miles from Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, Bansko has more pistes than Borovets. Slopes are accessed via a fast gondola, but you can ski all the way back to the resort. Great for beginners and early intermediate.
How to do it: Seven nights from £399 pp B&B at St Ivan Rilski Spa Resort with Gatwick flights on January 15 (crystalski.co.uk).
Bardonecchia in Italy is a well-run resort with an indoor pool complex and ice rink
With high-altitude skiing mainly suited for intermediates (there is only one slope for advanced skiers), Bardonecchia is a well-run resort. It is busiest at weekends when people come for a couple of days from Turin. There’s an indoor pool complex and ice rink.
How to do it: Seven nights at Hotel des Geneys from £749 pp half- board departing from Gatwick on January 22 (igluski.com).
Savings in Sauze
Expect pretty tree-lined runs back into the resort at Sauze d’Oulx in the Italian Alps.
There are also good après-ski bars and nightclubs, plus a charming village centre. This popular resort is at an altitude of 1,509 metres.
How to do it: Seven nights at Hotel Gran Baita from £631 pp half-board departing from Manchester on December 19 (crystalski.co.uk).
Cheap in Sestriere
A panoramic view of Sestriere ski resort in Italy, which was one of the first purpose-built ski resorts
Sestriere in Italy has slopes connected to Sauze. It was created in the 1930s by Giovanni Agnelli, the founder of Fiat, with slopes for all levels of skier.
How to do it: Seven nights at Hotel Belvedere from £648 pp half-board departing from Edinburgh on January 16 (inghams.co.uk).
France for all
Morzine in the French Alps is connected via Avoriaz to the fantastic Portes du Soleil ski area. There is a huge amount of territory to explore and challenging runs for experts.
How to do it: Seven nights from £888 pp half-board staying at Hotel Club Le Cret on January 22 with Gatwick flights (sunweb.co.uk).
Tempting La Thuile
The snowy slopes of La Thuile, Italy, are a top pick if you’re fairly new to skiing and want to escape the crowds
A great place for beginners and intermediates, La Thuile is at 1,440 m in Italy. There are a few steep runs for experts. It’s a good resort for those who enjoy quiet, wide-open slopes.
How to do it: Enjoy seven nights from £1,150 pp B&B staying at the Chalet Eden, with flights on January 8 (skiworld.co.uk).
The resort of Soldeu is connected to the extensive Grandvalira ski area within the Pyrenees. It is fantastic for intermediate skiers as well as for beginners, with well-run ski schools. It may not be the prettiest resort but there’s great après ski with live music.
How to do it: Seven nights’ half-board from £689 pp staying at Soldeu-Maistre Hotel with Bristol flights on January 16 (inghams.co.uk).
Magical: Ruka in Finland is proper winter wonderland territory with its snow-topped trees
Close to the Russian border and about 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Ruka in Finland has limited downhill ski slopes — and it is not suited to experts. But there are lots of cross-country trails as well as a decent terrain park for snowboarders.
How to do it: Seven nights from £570 pp self-catering with Gatwick flights on January 16 (co-operativeski.co.uk).
Austria for less
Part of the big SkiWelt ski area, Ellmau is sometimes overlooked for by those heading for Austria’s better known resorts such as Kitzbuhel and St Anton.
Yet it is a peaceful spot suited to families and you can reach the slopes of Kitzbuhel using connecting lifts. There are good mountain restaurants.
How to do it: Seven nights from £989 pp half-board staying at Hotel Garni Claudia with Heathrow flights on January 22 (igluski.co.uk).