Cheap Lift Passes

lifts in resort

Ski lift passes are a pretty essential part of your ski holiday and they aren't cheap! You don't need however to spend a fortune on ski lift passes. Read on to discover how you can save money.

Lift passes, which effectively allow you to use the lifts to access the mountain runs in your chosen resort, can add a huge amount to the cost of your ski holiday. And unfortunately there isn’t really a way to avoid paying them.

Prices do vary from resort to resort and country to country but let’s start with France. Prices here can vary, but for a 6 day pass for an adult you are looking at anywhere between £150 pw up to £187 per week for a resort like Val D’Isere. To put that in perspective that’s more than you may pay for your flight!

Austria is slightly cheaper, but still a 6 day pass in Ischgl will set you back £163 and Lech Zurs will cost you £176. Switzerland has a reputation for being expensive and its lift passes certainly doesn’t do it any favours. Davos is a costly £239 whilst Laax for 6 days again for an adult, is an amazing £300.

So if you can’t avoid paying out for lift passes, how can you at least ensure that you don’t pay top dollar? Here we list some ideas which should help you to make savings.

Family Lift Passes

Many resorts allow you to purchase a family lift pass, usually defined as 2 adults and 2 children. Be sure to have identity ID with you when you go to purchase to prove that they are your children, but this can ensure that you save money. The Portes du Soleil ski area in France for example offered 10% off its lift passes this season for a family ticket.

5 Hour Lift Pass

If you don’t plan to ski from dawn to dusk some resorts offer what is often referred to as a 5 hour lift pass. In other words it is only valid for so many hours each day. But this may suit you and also save money. These passes usually cannot be used until lunchtime. Chamonix even offer a 4 hour lift pass. So it is worth reflecting on how many hours a day you will really be skiing.

Time of Year

If you want a cheap lift pass we wouldn’t advise that you ski in peak times, essentially Christmas, New Year, February half term and the Easter holidays. Prices here can be really expensive. If however you opt to ski pre-season or at the end of the season you will pay considerably less. Cheaper deals can also be found if you ski the weeks in December before Xmas, all the January weeks excluding New Year and early March between half term and the Easter Holidays.

Pre Book Before You Go

Some resorts offer the opportunity to buy online before you arrive in resort, this can save you 10% off the purchase price. Or you can purchase through other online providers and in some cases get an amazing 30% off the price, so shop around before you leave home. If you also pre book online you won’t be at the mercy of the exchange rate in resort.

Lift Deals As Part Of The Package

Many package holidays offer lift passes as part of the deal. So you may find a 2 for 1 ski pass or even a ski holiday that includes the price of the lift pass. So when looking for a cheap package check out the ski pass deal, anything here will represent a real saving.

Country Choice

If money really matters then choose a ski country with cheap lift passes. Bulgaria for example will not cost you an arm or a leg whereas Switzerland may be best to avoid. Austria is pretty reasonable as is Spain. France can vary according to the resort. So do your homework on lift passes.

Full Area Ski Pass Versus Local Ski Pass

In resort you will have the choice of either a full area ski pass which allows you to ski within the whole ski area and a local lift pass which limits you to the ski resort only. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and go for the lift area when you don’t really need it. Whilst some of the savings may look small they do all add up. Take Tignes and the Espace Killy in France. A lift pass for Tignes, for 6 days for an adult, will cost about £158. This pass allows you to ski Tovieres, Palafors, Chardonnet and all the way down Les Boisses and Les Breviere. Or you could spend £187 for the entire Espace Killy ski area which opens up 300km of piste. The ski areas don’t compare but for 2 adults that could bring a saving of £58, so it does all add up. If every penny counts really think about what you need. Some resorts also give you the option to pay a small supplement to upgrade if you find that you run out of slopes on your local area ski pass so there is flexibility here.

In Summary

You cannot avoid buying a lift pass! Without one you simply can’t use the lifts! However with some clever research and thinking about what you really need you can find good deals.

Remember every pound you save on your lift pass, ski hire equipment, accommodation, transfers all adds up to more cash for après-ski!

By Will Smith

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