How to Ski Austria on the Cheap
Ski holidays are expensive. There’s no two ways about it, from ski passes to accommodation to salopettes and lessons, a trip to throw yourself down a mountain with bits of wood strapped to your feet costs a lot of money.
Having spent last winter in its entirety skiing in the French Alps after getting a job (or two….), it just didn’t feel right to let my never-ending dire financial situation effect my desire to get back on the slopes. So, my boyfriend and I attempted to devise a plan to do our ski holiday on the cheap. This wasn’t easy, and it definitely still wasn’t cheap, but we managed to have an amazing après filled, beers-on-the-mountain and relatively snow filled week in Austria for about half the price of a regular ski package holiday. So here’s how did it.
Book Self-Catered Accommodation
One of the best – and most expensive – parts of a ski holiday is the beautiful place you stay that usually comes with amazing food. We used Booking.com to find the cheapest place to stay that we could and, surprise, surprise, these do not come with three course meals every night. We managed to find an apartment in a chalet hotel with our own kitchen and balcony for €595. Compared to nearby hotel prices of over €700 per person, we made a huge saving. For the price, we really weren’t expecting much, but were very pleasantly surprised. Despite losing our room key and incurring quite a big charge for a new one, we were verrrrry happy with what a couple of hours of trawling the internet found us.
Even though it turned out to be less than desirable to come back after a full days skiing and cook… meaning we ate pretty substandard food for a week, it actually gave us a bit more freedom to come and go as we please. Wunderbar.
If you’re going on a European ski holiday, the chances are you live in Europe, and it’s easy to drive anywhere. Living in the Netherlands means that all we had to do was drive across Germany and down into Austria. Just a breezy 10 hour journey on the Autobahn. No worries… It was obviously a bit of a trek, and the Autobahn is horrifyingly scary, but it really did beat getting a flight. Cost wise, no extra charges for our skis or heavy luggage (living with a boy who insists on bringing his entire wardrobe on holiday…), no transfer to the ski resort and no general hassle.
The Arlberg ski area is pretty badly linked with transport… there are buses that are pretty frequent in the morning, but they tail off a bit towards the end of the day. We were staying in Pettneu, and had friends in St Cristoph, so it made sense for us to have the car anyway.
Try and Contain Yourself…
Ski holidays are pretty luxurious things to go on. Beers and coffee and food on the mountain is extortionate, but you’re only there once a year so you deserve it, right? No! Not when you’re on a stupid budget and your funds are severely restricted. Pack sandwiches… was the original plan, but post-après grogginess and post all day skiing aches bring on a particularly lethargic morning. So, the second best option if you’re lazy – supermarkets. Austria has a lot of SPAR’s dotted about. Lunch for €3 and a few mini Jägers to put in your pocket for après means that you can probably afford a couple of beer stops throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be an entirely fun free holiday, after all.
We actually ended up spending more than we bargained for due to the aforementioned lost room key and not heeding my own advice about controlling oneself when inebriated or in any state of hunger. BUT – we still managed everything and had an amazing week away.
Like any kind of trip, money is often an annoying omnipresent and determining factor of what you can do and how much fun you can have. Something like skiing is definitely a rich person’s game, but it’s about time that was broken down. If two absolutely broke all the time 20-somethings who have upped and moved country in the past year can afford it, then anyone can if you really want to go enough. Skiing for everyone – hurrah, hurrah!