Planning a family ski holiday? If you're looking for best-value resorts, Bulgaria and Italy been named among the cheapest destinations to hit the slopes in winter 2019/2020 with the little ones in tow.
The annual Post Office Travel Money report, produced in partnership with tour operator Crystal Ski Holidays, identified the best-value resorts in Europe for a family ski holiday this winter. Bansko, Bulgaria's leading ski resort, came out on top, with a week’s trip costing, on average, £1530 (€1747) for a family of four. It's almost £10o cheaper for a week's ski holiday here than in Bardonecchia in Italy, which came second in this year's report (first last year) at £1621 (€1852).
Italian resorts Italian resorts dominated the survey, making Italy the best-value destination overall. Sestriere (third), Passo Tonale (fourth), Claviere (fifth) and La Thuile (tenth) all appeared in the list. Not only is Italy cheaper than its Alpine rivals in France, Switzerland and Austria, it's also way more laid-back. The emphasis here is generally geared towards fun rather than sporting prowess. The only downside is that snow cover isn't always reliable as elsewhere in the Alps.
"While Bansko offers unbeatable value overall for families on a tight budget, resorts in the Italian Alps are a great choice for a pound-stretching ski holiday. With few exceptions, we found that Italian ski resorts were cheaper than in Austria, France or Switzerland," said Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money.
“With few exceptions, we found that Italian ski resorts were cheaper than in Austria, France or Switzerland. It is also worth noting that some ski essentials are cheaper in Italian resorts than in Bansko. For example, a week’s family ski lift pass costs less in Bardonecchia, Sestriere and Claviere, while ski and boot hire is cheaper in Passo Tonale. It all depends what you need to pay out for."
Budget skiing: how to save money on the piste
To identify the resort that offers the best value, the study looked at 25 European ski resorts that are generally considered most suitable for families. Within those resorts, it compared the cost of six days' ski and boot hire, lift passes and ski school costs, plus lunch and drink expenses for two adults and two children, converting sterling. It did not take into account the cost of accommodation or flights.
Findings show that prices have fallen in six of 16 ski resorts that were also surveyed a year ago. The biggest price falls are in Ruka, Finland, where prices are down 4.3%, and in Morzine, France, where they have slid downhill by 4%. In Kranjska Gora, one of Slovenia's largest and best-equipped ski resorts, prices are 11.8% compared to last season. A week's ski-related costs for a family of four is £1829 (€2088).
Other spots to make the list were Ellmau, Austria (seventh); Rauris, Austria (eighth) and Arinsal, Andorra (ninth). While at the other end of the scale, the most expensive ski resorts proved to be Kitzbühel, Austria (£2817/€3217) and the chic, car-free resort of Saas Fee in Switzerland (£2902/€3314), with prices close to twice as high as in Bansko.