Quieter Italian slopes with a taste of St Moritz: Livigno, Italy
While most people look to the Dolomites for their Italian ski fix, those on the hunt for great skiing at a fraction of the cost should consider Lombardy. Lesser-known and much more affordable, this area promises a tempting blend of great powder and budget-friendly Italian cuisine. Tucked away in a corner of the Italian Alps, close to the Swiss border, Livigno’s status as a duty-free enclave has helped keep costs pleasingly low. The resort boasts 115km of high altitude pistes, while the ski pass allows you to spend half a day enjoying the runs of flashier St Moritz.
Where to stay: Hotel Amerikan; Via Florin, 77/93
Insider’s tip: Livigno can be tricky to reach from Italian airports, so approach it from Innsbruck instead.
Revamped off-radar spot: Jasna, Slovakia
Slovakia may not be the first place to spring to mind when booking a ski trip, but that could be about to change. The country’s largest resort, Jasna, has undergone a £170m investment, which means faster lifts, slick snow making facilities and some wonderful places to stay. Jasna may be on the small side but its 49km of slopes still pack a punch, offering some excellent intermediate skiing and fantastic off-piste runs. Jasna is also one of Europe’s cheapest ski resorts – a wellness-enriched four-star hotel here costs around €50 per person for bed and breakfast – so you’ve got yourself a winner.
Where to stay: Hotel Galeria Thermal Bešeňová; Bešeňová 136
Insider’s tip: Jasna isn’t big on après ski but Tatraline’s new rooftop bar is the go-to spot for cocktails.
Beginner- and family-friendly slopes: Soldeu, Andorra
Prices may have risen in Andorra in recent years, but this duty-free enclave still tops several lists when it comes to cheaper European ski destinations. Criss-crossed with local blue and green slopes and home to some good ski schools, Soldeu is a great option for beginners, as well as families - there are even free lift passes for children under 11 years old. Away from the local slopes, there’s still plenty to entertain more advanced skiers. Set at the foot of the vast Grandvalira area, Soldeu has access to over 200km of varied pistes – meaning parents can get some serious mileage under their belts while the kids are busyat ski school.
Where to stay: Hotel Park Piolets; Carretera General 2, 19
Insider’s tip: Andorra’s capital, Andorra La Vella, is just a 10-minute bus ride away – head there for duty-free shopping and Europe’s largest mountain spa.
Picturesque charm meets Austria’s largest ski area: Ellmau, Austria
One of Austria’s cheapest resorts, Ellmau is strikingly situated between the Kitzbühel Alps and the craggy Wilder Kaiser mountains. Traditional chalets and a pretty village church lend the place a picture-perfect charm, while an array of bars, shops and restaurants give it just the right amount of buzz. The best bit however, is that the SkiWelt – Austria’s largest linked ski domain – is right on your doorstep, giving skiers access to a wonderfully expansive 280km-worth of slopes.
Where to stay: Tirol Lodge; Weissachgraben 14a
Insider’s tip: More experienced skiers might want to upgrade their lift pass to a Super Ski Card, which grants you access to more challenging neighbouring areas such as Kitzbühel.
Three countries for the price of one: Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Each winter, pro-skiers flock to Kranjska Gora to compete in World Cup racing events but that shouldn’t put less advanced skiers off from trying this Slovenian gem. Small but perfectly formed, Kranjska Gora is packed with Alpine charm. Families will love the resort’s friendly atmosphere, low prices and the mix of beginner and intermediate runs. Those wanting to explore further afield are in luck too: the Julian Alps Ski Pass allows you access to 14 resorts across Slovenia, Italy and Austria, for just €197 per week.
Where to stay: Skipass Hotel; Koroška ulica 14c
Insider’s tip: Combine your trip with Slovenia’s most scenic spot – the fairy-tale beauty of Lake Bled is just a 40-minute drive away.
Trois Vallées without the price-tag: Les Menuires, France
Reckon the Trois Vallées is out of your budget? Think again. Yes, this highly prized area boasts wallet-draining resorts like Méribel and Courcheval but Les Menuires – which also shares a prime Trois Vallées position – offers a quieter and far more affordable option. Until recently the resort’s penchant for brutalist architecture kept prices low, however a recent makeover has brought a sweep of chocolate-box prettiness to the resort – with prices still yet to catch up with its improved charm. As for activities, Les Menuires will spoil you for choice, from rides on piste groomers and floodlit tobogganing to a vast air bag where you can safely practice your ski tricks.
Where to stay: Chalet Hotel Kaya; Village de Reberty Les Menuires
Insider’s tip: Great news for families: this resort’s family ski pass lets everyone travel at the child rate.