Disclaimer: This is a contributed article.
Everyone that has ever been skiing always comes back from slopes buzzing like a bee caught in the warmest spring since records began. The fresh dump of snow, the bluebird skies, the apres ski and the laughs and the weather and the everything, all of it amazing, none of it bad. Okay, except the cost. That’s pretty much always bad.
But embracing the wildest time winter can offer doesn’t have to mean going broke in Whistler or smashing through your overdraft in Courchevel or having your card declined in Zermatt, and that’s because not all resorts are born equal. There are places you can jet off that are drastically cheaper than others, places where you can ski the same slopes but for a fraction of the cost; they’ve just always been more hidden… until now.
Where: Les Houches, Frances
Go to somewhere nearby, like Chamonix for example, you can easily spend €300+ on a six day ski pass. But head just down the valley to the incredible resort of Les Houches and you can enjoy the same level of skiing (with the added bonus of overlooking the Mont Blanc valley) for a lot less than that. Like €100 less. Okay, so there isn’t the same amount of breathtaking mountain bars or life-threatening black runs, but it’s still amazing fun and you can still head to Chamonix for a day if you fancy.
Where: Pas De La Casa, Andorra
Once upon a time, being someone who enjoyed Andorra holidays meant you were someone that was just learning how to ski. But this is no longer the case. No way. Being someone who enjoys holidaying in Andorra now means you are a savvy skier that would rather get more bang for their buck without having to sacrifice any of the luxury, anarchic fun or huge ski areas, especially if you head to Pas De La Casa. If, however, you’re looking for a more, how do we say, family friendly spot in Andorra, then don’t despair because Soldeu is perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Where: Crested Butte, Colorado
Of all the states that offer skiing in the US, Colorado is always, without fail, at the top of the list. Always. But if you stop somewhere like Aspen or Vail and try and pick up a day’s ski pass you may hear that horrible sound of your card being rejected because a day’s pass can cost $800. Go to where the locals love, though, Crested Butte, and you’ll pay just 15% of that. Yup $95. Okay, so for that price you get a lot less apres ski, a little less slope and lot more family-friendliness, but it is still a darn good trade off if you ask us. Oh, and wine cost less than $6 and coffee barely $2. What’s not to love about that?
Other Notable Mentions:
While we may have nailed our top three, that is by no means an extensive list. So, if none of these take your fancy, or you’ve done them before, you should definitely take a few minutes to look at Vogel in Slovenia, Livigno in Italy, Soll in Austria and Powder Mountain in Utah. All of them tick all of the big ambition but little budget boxes.
Featured photo by Aaron Benson