Thrifty Skiing: 5 Top Ways To Ski Under your Budget

Aug 28, 2019 No Comments by

Thrifty Skiing: Bansko style on the Plato

There was a time when a ski holiday to the Alps was almost exclusively, the preserve of the reasonably well off. A typical ski trip was characterised by a full seven nights in a hotel, as part of a package. Whilst a small number of skiers would drive or take the train through France, to the Alps the vast majority would take a chartered flight leaving on a Saturday — always leaving early hours. Usually these ski holidays were with ski package tour companies names like Clarksons, Inghams (both long since closed), Thomson Holidays, Neilson dominated the ski holiday market. The typical ski resort would be a big name French “snow sure” ski resort, such as Val Thorens.

All this changed for your humble blogger here, and for thousands others, in 1995. This was the year when EasyJet launched low cost flights — including to Geneva; the gateway airport to the western Alps. And this was the first year that I organised a short ski trip for “the lads” as a long weekend to the French and Swiss Alps.

The affordable ski long weekend was born and the concept of taking multiple ski/snowboard trips per season became perfectly normal for so many more people.

The Bansko App: in-app chat and advice to find value in Bansko

But, as I found out, it’s easy to spend a lot on just one trip, let alone three trips a season. So thrifty skiing starts  with choosing the right resort. It’s not just the flight, but it’s the transfer, the hotel, the ski/snowboard hire/lessons, drinks and restaurant prices that all ratchets up the expense and Bansko delivers not only good skiing for all standards fo skiing — including some wonderful powder days — but it still delivers amazing value for money,

Because the goal of thrifty skiing is to leave some cash for something else — like long term savings, educations, a house, a new kitchen etc. It’s a mind set to underspend, not over spend. And its the mindset that and will make three shorter trips per season a reality for you.

You’re here considering Bansko and you’ve just stacked the odds massively in your favour for realising that three trips to Bansko can be cheaper then one week in a top French ski resort. Read on for my top 5 tips to thrifty skiing.


1.  Hack Your Flights

This means thinking about which airport(s) to use. Use to choose a number of airports to fly from and back to. Then choose times of departure that optimise your time. Some people like the early flights that mean (with a private transfer) you can be on the slopes by 2.30pm the same day you arrive. Or you can choose an late flight so they can optimise days off work


2.  Book Flights Early for Ski

Don’t procrastinate. We all do it. It costs us cash. So book your flights today. Flights rarely get much cheaper than now. And are always more expensive if you leave booking them to the last minute. Then booking in the Bansko App or here your discounted transfers from only €56 each way (total for two passengers). I think it’s great to get your ski trips in early so your first trip should be around the 21st of December, spanning Christmas. Or if you can, even from the 14th December opening to return before Christmas. The lift pass is usually discounted to 30 leva a day, and flights can be had for €100 per person, quality accommodation for €30 per person. Flights are always cheaper in March and from 7th March in Bulgaria there are no further holidays to worry about. Remember Orthodox Easter is usually not the same time as Western European Easter meaning late March early April is a value time to come to Bansko.


3.  Travel light

I can pack a whole week’s skiing in one 50cm flight bag, so a short three or four day break is easy to do. Wear your ski jacket. Pack ski pants, ski thermals, mid layer fleecy, underwear, ski socks and a few shirts/tops for the evening and take small toiletries that conform to security regulations. Under pack because if you’re coming to Bansko, and you find you need to clean your clothes, can get a full 10 kg load washed for 11 leva (use laundry by Baba Vuna). Taking the minimum saves check in bag fees and saves time collecting luggage. After all, you’re wanting to get to the resort quickly to either ski or get some sleep before your first morning open the slopes.


4.  Pre book your ski equipment, lessons and transfers

Forgive me for shilling the ski extras that Bansko Blog has provided since 2008, but by prebooking your skis, boots, poles, snowboards and lessons you ensure that you’re grabbing a useful discount, but also saving time. Most people manage to be in and out of the shop within five minutes. It’s located just 50 metres from the gondola lift.


5.  Take snacks with you when skiing 

Reduce wasting money on the mountain. Take a small bottle of water and some snacks to maximise slope time for short trips. If lunch is required on the slopes in Bansko sharing a pizza at the 180 bar and restaurant makes sense. The Peshterite on the snow road is my top value destination. 3 lv (€1.50) beer and excellent soups, salads and grilled meats and authentic Bulgarian and Bansko dishes complete the picture.

Finally, be sure to visit the Morris bar. Sky Sports with a ton of screens, pool table, 2.50 leva beer and a friendly welcome maks for some of the lowest possible après skiing you’ll find anywhere in the world.


What are your money saving thrift tips for skiing? Let me know on twitter @bansko or Facebook/banskoblog or Instagram/banskoblog

If you’re coming to Bansko, then be sure to download the Bansko App. Its free in the App Store (iOS) and Play Store (Android) and has lots of great restaurants for your to prebook so that you can not waste time wondering around thinking where you should eat each evening. Watch videos for lots of the latest food news.

Feel free to contact us for hotel recommendations and deals. We only recommend places we know and love and consistently receive great feedback. Beware of the many fake reviews for all venues in Bansko.

Thank for reading: oh and be sure to subscribe to receive all the Bansko news. No spam, ever. Guaranteed. Opt out whenever you like.

Getting Here, Skiing & Snowboarding

About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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