Skiing on the cheap, really? In Europe? No, I’m not kidding. Look harder and you’ll find several budget options that can make the stingiest of all skiers a happy man. Forget about the Alps, look towards Central and Eastern Europe where small but economical ski stations hide under thick blankets of snow and well-maintained pistes. These locations are often serviced by budget airlines and accommodation are relatively affordable so ski weekends don’t necessarily cost an arm or a leg!
1. Soldeu, Andorra
A small country tucked between France and Spain in the giant Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra has always been the cheapest skiing destination in Europe thanks to its duty-free prices. Although the introduction of euros have since caused an increase in prices, the ski station at Soldeu is still relatively cheaper than most places in Western Europe. There are perfect skiing conditions and plenty of new lifts and hotels here.
Flickr Photo by Tania Ho
2. Bohinj, Slovenia
This ski area is located in the Julian Alps (as they call, the sunny side of the Alps) at the edge of the Triglav National Park. Famous for its lake, Lake Bohinj – the largest natural lake in Slovenia – the station sits beneath a giant glacier. For après-ski activities, there are plenty of charming villages to explore and watering holes to enjoy a beer or two. Hotels are cheaper here than standard resorts in France or Switzerland.
Photo from Rab Supetaska
3. Les Arcs, France
If you’re looking to ski in France, this would be the most affordable station. With four modern resorts and a small village, Les Arcs is one of the largest ski areas in the world. Its slopes are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers. The world-class facilities and affordable accomodation are reasons good enough to make it the number choice for budget skiers in Europe.
Photo from Les Arcs
4. Sierra Nevada, Spain
This is the most southerly ski station in the whole of Europe but due to its elevated height, thick layers of snow are always guaranteed. With top-notch facilities and relatively cheap day passes, Sierra Nevada is one of the most popular stations in Spain. If accommodation within the station is beyond your budget, you can always head to Granada city center, just 45 minutes away for budget hostels.
Photo by Roarous
5. Ski Park Eland, Slovakia
Still an undiscovered ski destination, Slovakia is slowly pulling in the crowd, so get here before everyone else does. The ski station is brand new and has gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape. Comprising of 3 slopes and 3 lifts, there is only one hotel in the station. Day passes are only a fraction of usual West European prices. Accommodation and other daily expenses are also much cheaper than in standard ski destinations.
Photo from Hotel Eland
6. Borovets, Bulgaria
Huddled within the Borovets col and the Mousala ridge, the alpine station has 45 kilometers of pistes suitable for skiers of all levels. As a regular host of winter sports competition, its slopes are kept in pristine conditions and the facilities are plentiful. Its proximity (72 kilometers) to the country’s capital Sofia, makes it an extremely popular choice among the locals. Besides skiing, you can strap on ski shoes, go snowboarding or ride ski-doos to keep yourself entertained.
Photo from Things to do in Bulgaria
7. Semenic, Romania
In the Banatului Mountains, the Semenic sets the golden standards. Climate here is milder thanks to its location, so expect clear skies and thick snow. There are three ski slopes here, one for each category of skiers.The name of the station comes from the semenic flower that grows in the mountains – a rare flower only found here. You can get excellent deals here as well, with the cheapest hotel in town – Hotel Dusan si fiul I – for 40euros/room a night.
Photo from drumliber
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