Ski holidays in Switzerland that won’t break the bank

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While the recession may have pushed more winter sports fans to look beyond Switzerland’s ski resorts to less established alternatives in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, many are finding that even the world’s premier locations can offer great value for budget ski breaks.

Seasoned skiers have learned a number of ways to keep prices low on ski holidays, which doesn’t have to mean settling for second best. Simply by altering the time of your travel, customising your accommodation options or favouring alternative means of transport, you could save hundreds of pounds that could be put to better use making it a holiday to remember.

Holiday periods are traditionally the most popular, busiest and most expensive times to take holidays abroad, and for skiing it’s the Christmas period that’s the biggest money-maker. With children out of school and adults being given time off work, it’s natural that many people arrange their ski trips over this convenient festive season – but by waiting just a couple of weeks, you could enjoy significant discounts. The first two weeks of January are often the cheapest for booking ski holidays, while arranging your holiday towards the end of the ski season, usually in March, can lead to a number of discounts too.

Just because you want to ski at a world-famous destination doesn’t mean you have to stay in expensive resorts either, and you can often find options to stay at outlying villages for cheaper accommodation – as long as you don’t mind the longer journey to the top of the mountain. Self-catering is also usually a much more affordable alternative to paying for food service, and even something as simple as the cost of your ski equipment can be reduced when you hire instead – ideal if you’re travelling with children who grow out of last year’s expensive ski boots each time you visit.

Taking your own car abroad can also save you money and give you more freedom, though again this comes at the cost of longer drives and parking fees. You can also cut down significantly on travel costs when finding cheap flights to Geneva and heading to ski resorts just a short drive from the capital. Big names such as Champery, Valmorel and La Clusaz are all within easy reach of Geneva Airport with daily transfers, though it’s a good idea to book ahead and arrange your transport as well as your accommodation and other parts of your ski holiday during the busy winter months, when demand is at its peak.