Winter sports have long been considered “rich man” activities. With photos of celebrities and politicians often gracing the pages of glossy magazines it’s no surprise this belief has stood the test of time. Well, the internet age is changing things and Europe has more affordable ski options than ever. From Poland to France, there are prime locations where the costs will leave you more than enough for that extra hot chocolate. Come with me as I explore Europe’s Most Affordable Ski Destinations.
This Spa and Ski town offers some of the most affordable skiing in France. Not to mention excellent spa treatments and dining options. What makes Cauterets so affordable and impressive is the fact that many don’t know it exists. Now that’s not to say it’s empty. Famous patrons like George Sand and Victor Hugo frequented the town for ski trips. But today it still has a sleepy village vibe that caters to beginners and families alike.
More Info: https://www.cauterets.com/en/
Slovenia might not come to mind when you think ski destinations. But this Central European nation has slowly crept into the European ski market with high quality and affordable resorts. Vogel mountain is one of those destinations that might leave your friends scratching their heads trying to figure out where it is. The effort getting here is more than worth it. Not far from Bled and the beautiful Lake Bled, you’ll have more than enough to keep you occupied between runs.
Tucked away in Romania’s Bucegi Mountains, Sinaia offers some extremely affordable ski options and a chance to explore one of Europe’s most interesting national histories. The Bucegi mountains have become known for their great trekking routes. But when the snow hits, this mountain range truly comes into it’s own. Be sure to take some time to visit the beautiful city of Brasov. Not far from the legendary Bran castle. Home of “Dracula” aka Vlad.
More Info: Sinaia is different in that TWO different companies operate their lift systems. Which prevents a pass from being available. Hotels are easy to find and lifts are easily used. Here’s a great site for more information on pricing. https://www.sinaiago.ro/en/go-fly-3
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
A second entry from the oft-ignored Slovenia. Kranjska Gora stands out as one of Slovenia’s top tourist destinations. A well-known escape for Europeans. If there’s one word to describe this Slovenian hot spot, Active. There’s everything from trekking and mountain climbing to skiing and snowboarding. Seeing the North Face of Triglav mountain is worth the trip alone.
More Info: 18 slopes to choose from. Not far from your hotel. Check them out here https://www.kranjska-gora.si/en/activities/winter-activities/skiing.
No list of affordable ski destinations is complete without Poland. One of Europes most diverse and affordable countries for travelers. Located at the base of the Tatras Mountains and not far from the beautiful Lake Morskie Oko, Zakopane has become a hot spot for nature enthusiasts. Poland’s natural beauty can’t be understated. At Zakopane you’ll get an affordable crash course in God’s Work as the Tatras Mountains beckon you to come and take a ride.
More Info: http://szymoszkowa.pl/
Taxes are a sneaky holiday expense. From hotels to meals, taxes are everywhere. Luckily, Livigno has no taxes. Which makes it a rare find in Italy. Pricing here is in stark contrast to it’s Swiss cousin St. Moritz which is only a bit over a hours drive away. Giving Italians and travelers a welcome holiday destination that won’t break the bank. Located in the heart of the Alps, snowfall here is perfect with runs designed for beginners and pros alike. Not to mention some decent off-piste potential.
More Info: I recommend using https://www.livigno.eu/en/landing-ski to book your trip. You’ll get a free ski pass if booking the right accommodations.
While Andorra may be one of Europes tiniest nations, it more than makes up for it in appeal. Sandwiched between France and Spain, Andorra enjoys tax-free status. Attracting many Franch and Spanish nationals for shopping trips. That aside, the ski offerings throughout the Pyrenees are sensational. With Grandvalira dominating the Andorran region. Need to take a break from the slopes? No problem.
More Info: https://www.grandvalira.com/en/
Tips for First Time Skiers/Snowboarders
Don’t Forget The Sunscreen
YES!!!! Sunscreen. It might surprise you but science is very sneaky. The combination of high altitudes and extremely reflective snow makes for a painful combination if your skin isn’t protected. Skiing was the first time in my life I was ever confronted with this reality. Sunscreen and a partial Balaclava should do the trick.
Travel Insurance is Required
While you should always have travel insurance on your holiday, it’s especially important when partaking in activities with an increased chance of injury. While rare, ski injuries happen. Even the world’s best skiers and snowboarders go down from time to time. And given the remote nature of ski resorts, high in the mountains, medical care could be difficult and costly to receive. Best have a backup plan. I recommend Allianz Travel Insurance as always.
Always Keep Your Feet Dry
A full day of skiing for first timers is exhausting. I frequently changed out of my ski boots into my regular boots. Causing additional friction and the possibility for my socks to get wet. In addition to your normal sweat of course. Cotton is the most common sock material but it’s terrible for athletics as it absorbs water like a sponge. Consider a wool blend sock or specifically, Smartwool.
Take At Least A Few Lessons
Strapping on a pair of ski’s and going for it might work for some but not most. At least 1-2 professional lessons can go a long way. If for no other reason than to learn proper safety habits. And my god, learn how to get on and off the lift. Trust me. Your fellow skiers will thank you. Most ski resorts offer group lessons at reasonable rates or personalized attention in private classes.
Go With Friends At Your Skill Level
Be sure to go with friends that are at or near your ski level. Or just go alone. You don’t want to hold back your advanced friends if you are a beginner. And you definitely don’t want to be left alone while your friends are actually there. And you might feel pressured to ski runs you aren’t actually ready for. Risking injury. If you’re going in a group, be sure to have at least one person at your ski level.
HYDRATE AND STRETCH
Skiing is a sport. Treat it like one. Proper hydration is key. Before, during, and after your day. Also, limit hot beverages like coffee and hot chocolate. They dehydrate you. Drink two cups of water for every cup of these hot beverages.
This post was brought to you with financial support from Allianz Travel Insurance. All picks and opinions are my own.
This post features links from sponsors and affiliate partners. This is an original piece and all opinions and views are my own as always.