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Where's cheapest to ski in the Northern Hemisphere?

Published November 26th, 2015

Kitzbuhel and the Skiwelt in Austria, the Milky Way in Italy and three resorts in Norway have made it into the Top 20 cheapest resorts for a snow-sports break this season, according to research by travel money expert Fairfx. They join a raft of Eastern European resorts, but there’s good news for all winter destinations as skiing and snowboarding trips are at their cheapest since 2013/14.

Fairfx compared the weekly local costs of seven-day lift passes, a morning’s tuition each day for six days and hire of basic beginners’ skis and boots for seven days at 59 resorts in 19 countries in Europe and North America. The prices were calculated using local currency*.

Skiing in the Czech Republic is among the cheapest options. Picture: Getty Images

The resorts were chosen based on the most popular winter sports holiday destinations marketed by tour operators and then bolstered by up-and-coming resorts. The research discovered that resorts in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Poland offered the lowest costs while America, Switzerland and Canada dominated the most expensive destination shortlist.

Based on the cost of equipment, tuition and lift passes, a week’s ski holiday in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, is $A282 this season, followed by Kekes, Hungary, which comes in at $A322. In third and fourth place are Bled and Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, with a weekly budget of $A419 and $A547 respectively.

Of the ‘big four’ European hubs, Austria’s Kitzbuhel is the cheapest, with an average weekly cost of $A553. The Milky Way is Italy’s cheapest ski area at $A694, while the cheapest resort in France is Alpe d’Huez in 23rd position at $A772, whereas two of Switzerland’s resorts feature in the Top 10 most expensive.


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Although Kitzbuhel is the cheapest resort of the ‘big four’, the cheapest country overall is Italy, costing $A823 per week on average, followed by Austria at $A842, France at $A859 and Switzerland at $A1,399.

Kitzbuhel is the cheapest of Europe's Big Four. Picture: Getty Images

Of the Top 10 most expensive resorts, seven are in North America. The top three spots are all taken by the USA: Breckenridge costs $A2,262, Vail $A2,163, and Winter Park $2,041. These are followed by Zermatt in Switzerland at $A1,690.

The four Canadian resorts of Banff and Lake Louise, Whistler, Jasper and Panorama come in at fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth, costing between $A1,317 and $A1,368 for a week’s holiday.

There’s good news for most holidaymakers, as the research found that 2015/6 offers cheaper skiing in 18 out of the 19 countries featured compared with 2013/4.

Fairfx currency expert Darren Kilner said: “For those looking to hit the slopes this season, it makes financial sense to plan ahead and consider picking a destination where every dollar will get maximum value."

Top tips for saving money on snow-sports holidays:

  • Don’t just look at the cost of activities – look at destinations where your money will go furthest.
  • If you’re making an international payment to pay for your chalet deposit or group tour, monitor the exchange rate and pay when it is in your favour.
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute to change your travel money. Exchange rates at airports can be a lot higher.
  • Taking debit and credit cards away is a good back-up but beware of ATM and transaction fees, as well as what exchange rate are being applied. Instead, use a prepaid currency card.

Want snow without the slog? Book now and get 20 per cent off a range of Europe Winter trips with Topdeck. Offer ends November 30, 2015.


*All prices listed are subject to change depending on fluctuations in local currency and the Australian dollar.

This article was written by Amanda Howard from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning UK English language broadsheet newspaper, published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.