Stay flexible and open-minded and it's possible to book a winter break that won't freeze your finances. Read on for our top money-saving tips and budget resort recommendations.

Be flexible

Many of the best deals are found at either end of the season. If you're willing to travel before Christmas or into spring, prices of lift passes, flights and accommodation are usually lower. If you pick a high altitude resort, snow cover shouldn't be a problem. Early January is also a good time with many operators offering cut-price deals in the New Year.

A week's self catering in Alpe d'Huez with Crystal costs from £328 in early January compared to £438 during February half term.

Plan ahead...

Many resorts offer discounts on lift passes if you book them in advance online. The big deal this season is the Epic Pass offered by Vail Resorts in the USA. At US$579 it doesn't sound like a budget option, but a regular seven-day lift ticket costs US$644 so it's worth it even for a week's holiday. It's valid for the whole season and covers Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone (all in Colorado) and Heavenly (California/Nevada border). Offer open until 15 November.

...Or leave it until the last second

Snap up late package deals via online agencies such as and You can check the snow before you book to guarantee good skiing.

WTG ski expert Susie Henderson says: ‘I booked a last-minute trip to Banff in Canada including flights and seven nights' accommodation for just £350 with'

Travel cheaply

Folding yourself into a miniscule seat for the best part of a day might not be the ideal way to travel, but going by coach is certainly one of the cheapest. It's greener than flying too.

organises 10-day ski packages with luxury coach travel from £279 based on four sharing self-catered accommodation.

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Live frugally

Shun pricey mountain restaurants and take a packed lunch. If you're self-catering, stock up in cheaper supermarkets outside your resort and go easy on the après ski.

Share a room

Staying in dormitory-style accommodation can slash costs and needn't be an unpleasant experience. The Riders Palace in Laax, Switzerland, has five-bed dorms, so you can enjoy a stylish boutique hotel at much lower cost. Book with friends or go it alone and meet new people. Cube hotels offer a similar setup with three hotels in Austria and Switzerland.

Sharing a studio with friends is also a great money saver. A day's hard skiing and a night of partying should be sufficient cause for you to forget that you're sleeping next to your friends' feet. Most operators will also offer discounts for large group bookings. Crystal offers one extra place free for groups over eight for trips in January.

Take the kids

If you're travelling with children, be sure to exploit the cash-saving deals offered by many operators. Thomson and Crystal are offering one free childcare place per adult booking before 31 October.

New to skiing?

Resorts and tour operators have clubbed together to lure beginners this season with the offer of free tuition, lift passes and equipment hire worth up to £400. Freshers Ski Weeks are scheduled from 17-24 January and 24-31 January. There are limited places, so book early.

Consider heading to smaller resorts with limited ski areas and less developed infrastructure. There's no point paying for a world-class system of near-vertical black runs if you don't know a mogul from a migraine. Resorts like Bansko in Bulgaria and Kranjska in Slovenia offer a good range of terrain for beginners at some of the cheapest prices in Europe.

Think different

If you can't afford the big names, stay nearby to take advantage of the same ski areas.

Cervinia in Italy is close to chic Zermatt in Switzerland (which you can cross the border to sample) but accommodation and living costs are much lower and the snow is good all-season long. In France, Brides-les-Bains is linked to Meribel by gondola and is a cheaper alternative to bigger resorts in the extensive Trois Vallées ski area.

Andorra in the Pyrenees (a traditional budget choice) has grown in price lately, but its duty free status offers plenty of potential for cut-price splurging. Enjoy the low tax regime and the great little resort of Soldeu which has some of the best skiing in the region.

Think really different

Iran's two resorts, Shemshak and Dizin, haven't changed much since they opened in the 1950s and 60s. Most skiers who come here though, do so in the sprit of discovery, so are unlikely to be put off by antiquated facilities and lack of infrastructure. It's a long way to travel (five hours from London Heathrow), but you won't find cheaper or more exotic skiing anywhere on the planet.

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