Now that the thermometer has begun to sink and the mountain peaks are slowly covering with snow, we’re finally starting to feel it: the anticipation of winter sports. But our excitement is easily dimmed by a quick look at the prices. Skiing and snowboarding are expensive hobbies to be sure. To help you make it through this winter sport season with your wallet intact, we’ve put together a list of five ski destinations where you can enjoy the slopes at a fraction of the cost.
The ski resort of Bansko is located about 160 kilometers south of the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia. In the last few decades Bansko, at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, has grown from an insider secret to one of the most popular ski destinations in Eastern Europe. There are plenty of cheap places to overnight, and the ski pass prices are as moderate as ever: A day pass in the high season will cost you around 30 euros. For your money you’ll get access to almost 50 kilometers of ski trails. Bansko is ideal for families, because around half of the ski runs have the easiest difficulty rating.
The Austrian ski resort of Petzen is the southernmost in the country, and also one of the least expensive. If you’re looking for international hotel chains, you won’t find them here. Instead, you can find accommodations in one of the many family-run vacation homes or hotels – an ideal scenario for a price-conscious ski vacation for the whole family. The offering of ski slopes is also a great fit for little ones. Flat practice runs provide the perfect space for children and beginners to hone their skills. But all the same, the phenomenal view is not to be missed: from the 1,708 meter height of the mountain station, you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of the Jaun valley.
Located between Spain and France, the ski resort of Ordino-Arcalís lies in the heart of the Pyrenees. The tiny principality of Andorra is known as a tax haven, resulting in comparatively inexpensive prices for lift tickets. The price for a day ski pass in the high season is 37 euros. If the 30 kilometers of slopes aren’t enough for you, consider exploring the neighboring ski resorts of Arinsal and Pal. A highlight that shouldn’t be missed is the 8 kilometer “Megaverde” – the perfect place to practice your cornering, especially for beginners. Adventure-loving freeriders will also find plenty to love here, with several ungroomed slopes to choose from.
Skiing in Iran? Just the notion makes many people shake their heads in disbelief. Admittedly, most wouldn’t think of Iran as a snowy winter paradise. But Iran is home to just over 20 ski resorts. One of the best-known of these is Dizin, located in the northern part of the country, about two hours north of Teheran by car. Prices here are well below average: a day pass for skiing can be booked for around 22 euros.
Banff Mount Norquay, Canada
It’s well known that skiing in North America is an expensive pursuit. But the legendary powder snow – the “Champagne Powder” – has an almost magical draw for winter sport enthusiasts from around the world. If you don’t have the good fortune to live in Canada or the USA, you’ll have to reckon with a long and expensive journey just to get to the slopes. This is in addition to ski pass prices, which are far more expensive than those in Europe. One ski resort that offers a comparatively strong value-for-cost ratio is Banff’s Mount Norquay, located in the Canadian Province of Alberta. A day ski pass will cost you approximately 45 euros – including impressive views of the snow-covered mountain trails.