Cheapest Places to Ski

Mohammad Sajjad Khan, 18.02.20
Alternative Destinations

Skiing holidays are known for being expensive. Everything from ski passes, hiring ski equipment, accommodation and the aprés-ski can certainly hit the pocket. But, hold onto your ski poles, if you’re thinking that a ski holiday is beyond your current budget, then think again. There are many low-cost alternatives to the luxurious villas, high end restaurants and excellent mountain spas.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to ride the magic carpet or an expert looking to stomp an 180 degree faceplant and rip the pistes one by one, then you’re in the right place. So get ready to pack those goggles and thermals as we’ve comprised some excellent skiing destinations at affordable prices for everyone to enjoy. Of course, without compromising the standard of quality for those who want to enjoy a budget friendly skiing holiday. Make sure to check out our blog on the best ski resorts in the world.

We’ve even added in a price guide so you can fully plan your budget, for things such as accommodation, food, drink, ski passes and rental equipment (all prices stated are in USD).

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Poiana Brasov, Romania

Poiana Brasov is positioned at the foot of the Postavaru Massif, at the heart of the Carpathian mountain range, with an altitude of 1,200 metres. This destination has a total of 12 pistes at 24 km. So, it might not be the largest ski area, but some of the runs are breathtakingly long and tree-lined. The location is great for those who want a little more than just skiing during their holiday. You can spend some time visiting the medieval city of Brasov and take a day trip to the famous Dracula’s Castle in Bran, Transylvania on a magical horse-driven sleigh.

The Romanian Alps is known for skiing as its main attraction but there’s more you can do here including ice skating, snowboarding and riding on a horse drawn sleigh. This destination is great for beginners as well as passionate plankers who will find all of the slopes to be equipped with snow cannons, making it the great for them to practice anytime from October to March.

After a nice day out in the snow, loosen up with a scented glass of local mulled wine, along with some tasty Romanian cuisines. Enjoy the local smoked sausage soup, ‘ciorbă de burta’, or polenta served with cottage cheese, egg and butter.

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Poiana Brasov factfile

Currency: Romanian leu
Accommodation: A hostel room can cost you around $25-$35 per night, whereas a nice mid-range hotel room will set you back $50-$90 a night.
Meals: Try the traditional smoked sausages, ‘ciorbă de burta’, or polenta served with cottage cheese, egg and butter all for less than $8.
Drinks: The cost of a beer is between $2-$3 and it’s recommended to try ‘vin fiert’, the local wine.
Ski Pass: A six-day ski pass will cost you $114 which works out to be $19 a day.
Ski rental equipment: Prices for skiing equipment for beginners start from $11 a day.
Best Suited for: Beginners or intermediate.
Getting there: One of the main airports in Romania is Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP), which is located in the capital city Bucharest. Airlines that fly to this airport include Ryanair, British Airways, Turkish Airlines and KLM. Once you arrive at the airport, you can drive to Poiana Brasov or if you prefer, you could catch a train from Bucharest train station for $20.

Jasna, Slovakia

Slovakia’s hidden winter wonderland is situated in the Demanovska Dolina Valley, where its trails go through the wilderness and along with a little outback skiing through the national parks. Brace yourselves and trial the Chopok peak with its 1,000 m vertical slope and multiple freeride areas. Newbies can hit the wonderful ski schools or choose to wander off the track with an experienced Slovak guide.

The après-ski spirit at Jasna is on the calmer side and is based around tasting local brews and savouring hot pierogi dumplings. Moreover, you can always pluck up the courage and go on a night run in the cold night. Slovakia is known for being one of the cheapest countries in Europe, it only costs $2.25 for a beer!

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Jasna factfile

Currency: Euro
Accomodation: Hostels in Jasna cost between $20-$30 a night which is a much cheaper option compared to hotels, which cost around $40-$70 a night. You may find that the further you are from the pistes the cheaper the hotels tend to be.
Meals: You can enjoy the traditional pierogi dumplings and the tasty ‘sauerkraut’ soup for less than $6.
Drinks: A pint of local crafted beer costs around $1-$2.
Ski Pass: A six-day ski pass costs $58 which works out to be $9.66 a day.
Ski rental equipment: Skiing equipment rented over 6 days start from $110.
Best Suited for: Intermediate and advanced skiers, especially those that like to head off piste.
Getting there by air: There are many airlines that fly to Bratislava Airport (BTS), including Emirates, Tunisair and Flydubai. If you’re flying from London you should consider flying with Wizz Air, to Poprad Airport (TAT) which is less than an hour drive away from Jasna, otherwise driving by car from Bratislava Airport (BTS) will take you 2-3 hours.

Bansko, Bulgaria

Located at the door of the Pirin mountain, the main highlights of this destination are the apres-ski, low-cost ski passes and ski packages that are available. Its season runs later than most of the countries in the northern hemisphere, until mid-May, so keep your eyes peeled for a late season deal. Bansko is one of the top three cheapest skiing destinations in Europe and Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries within Europe.

Bansko is turning into the best destination for snow lovers searching for both good powdered conditions, or ‘pow pow’ in other words, as well as night life that offers a lot more than just a hot cup of chocolate by the fireplace. This destination has the most modernised ski services in Bulgaria, a lengthy ski season, one of the best snow records, 65 km of ski trail and the highest peak of 2,600 m above sea level.

Occasionally it can become a little crowded on the lifts, apart from that, it’s great for beginners. It’s not all nursery slopes, however, the more experienced skiers can most certainly feel the adrenaline rush and ride full speed through the tall spruce glades.

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Bansko factlife

Currency: Bulgarian lev
Daily Budget: $30 can last you a day in Bolivia.
Accommodation: The average price for a night at a hostel is around $15–$30 and a night at a hotel can cost you between $40-$100.
Meals: You must try Banitsa, a famous traditional pie from white cheese and eggs layered in phyllo dough which costs less than $2.
Drinks: You can buy a pint of beer for around $1-$2.
Ski Passes: A six-day ski pass costs $184 coming to $31 a day.
Ski rental equipment: Basic skiing equipment including poles, boots, ski’s over 6 days costs around $50.
Best Suited for: Beginners and intermediates. Getting there:

Many airlines fly to Sofia International Airport (SOF), including easyJet, Lufthansa, American Airlines and Aeroflot. Once you arrive at the airport, a two hours taxi ride can take you to Bansko, or for a cheaper but longer option you can take the bus.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Situated 230 miles from Denver, Crested Butte is popularly known for being a ‘real Colorado ski town’ and one of America’s ‘biggest, baddest, and most affordable ski areas’. You won't find highly crowded restaurants and extremely fancy shops here but what you will find is a low-profile yet gnarling skiing experience on more than 1,500 acres. Crested Butte’s 121 pistes are nearly all evenly split amongst beginner and expert trails, making the mountain good for groups with mixed abilities.

If you can fork out $78 for a ticket, getting full access to the amazing terrain, including everything from lift-access chutes, backcountry-style bowls and lots of family-friendly pistes then this destination is for you.

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Crested Butte factfile

Currency: US Dollar
Accommodation: A room in a large city will cost around $70 a night, or around $45 on the outskirts or in a smaller city.
Meals: You can choose from pizzas, mexican, steak and more for around $10-£25.
Drinks A pint of beer will cost you $4.
Ski Pass: A day ski pass costs around $78.
Ski rental equipment: Basic skiing equipment including for a day costs $35.
Best Suited for: Beginners and experienced.
Getting there: Many airlines fly to Gunnison (GUC), including American Airlines, United Airlines, Swiss Airlines and Air Canada. From the airport, you’ll need take a taxi ride of 40 minutes to Crested Butte.

Brighton, Utah

Utah is home to some of the world’s best skiing destinations. Park city in Brighton is one of them, located around 35 miles southeast of Salt Lake City at the peak of the Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Brighton ski resort brags about their average annual snowfall of 500 inches and having more than 1,000 acres of trails, chutes, glades and bowls. An entire day lift-pass for an adult starts from $90 and $55 for children. Moreover, lower prices are also available for beginners and for night skiing.

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Brighton factfile

Currency: US Dollar
Accommodation: You can get a hostel bed for less than $30, or a mid range hotel room which costs up to $85.
Meals: A nice meal will cost you around $8 or if you’re breaking the budget rules a meal will cost you $18 at a high end restaurant.
Drinks: A pint of beer will cost between $4-$5.
Ski Pass: A six-day ski pass costs $630 coming to $105 a day.
Ski rental equipment: Basic skiing equipment including poles, boots, ski’s a day costs around $35.
Best Suited for: Beginners and intermediates.
Getting there: The nearest airport to Brighton is Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), airlines including Delta, KLM, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand fly to it. From there you’ll need to catch a 38 minute taxi ride to Brighton.

Be sure to check our other cheap guides:

Cheapest Countries in Europe
Cheapest Countries in South America
Cheapest Airlines in the World
Cheapest Countries in the USA
Cheap Alterntive to the Most Popular & Expensive Destinations
Cheapest Cities in Japan
Cheapest Countries in Southeast Asia
Cheapest Places to Visit in the UK

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