Planning an Alps Ski Holiday | Part Deux


Well, it's that time again! Time to start planning our yearly winter adventure! And what better place to be planning the adventure than in dreamy Europe. Yes, I know I'm getting a little romantic with the "dreamy" adjective but seriously, it's the Alps. Come on! Van and I both love snow sports. I have been skiing since I was in 5th grade. Since we usually had Mardi Gras holidays and Easter/Spring Break, my family would take a vacation to the slopes on one of those weeks. And Van, well he only started snowbaroding a few years ago but you would think he has lived on a slope all of his life, he really is a pro. I love that we can enjoy this sport together!


So anyway, back to the Alps. The Alps are huge and by huge I mean they span over 750 miles and across 8 countries (including the small countries of Monaco and Liechtenstein). Crazy right? So it can be a daunting task to decide where to go on your winter adventure across this massive expanse of terrain. But, there are a few deciding factors that can help you figure out just where to go!

1. Flights: 
Major winter airports include Geneva, Zurich, Innsbruck, Munich and Salzburg. Some resorts can be reached from more than one airport which can be very helpful in finding the lowest costing flights. My favorite flight finding tool is Skyscanner.com. Of course, living near London also gives us a variety of airports to travel from and this website checks all of them at once to find the lowest price. Most ski airports have shuttles to and from your chosen resorts and I would wholeheartedly suggest this over renting a vehicle. AlpyBus in particular! In most ski towns you won't need a car as European resorts have great bus service to and from the slopes.

2. Ski Level
If you are a first time skier, I personally wouldn't suggest going to a place that is really expensive. I would choose a smaller mountain with shorter, flatter slopes. Skiing can be downright scary. And this is coming from a 10+ time skier!! If you are beyond beginner, I think you would be safe with any large resort in Europe and your budget will largely define where you go. Ski slope signage in Europe differs from slopes in the US so be ready for this. I wrote a little bit about this on Planning an Alps Trip part 1 if you want to take a look!


3. Budget
Ok, there is no way around it.....ski holidays are EXPENSIVE. In a world of cheap European travel, it basically goes against everything you are accustomed to with travelling Europe. However, with that being said, it is still comparable to a vacation to a Colorado ski resort in the States. Flights can still be relatively cheap, but you will most definitely be checking luggage for your gear, so prepare for the extra expenses. And if your husband is obsessed with his board, be prepared to shell out the extra $100-150 to ship that puppy. Yuck.

Lodging can vary depending on where you ski. While staying in Chamonix, we were able to find a really inexpensive apartment which was in an incredible location. And we also were able to stay for only 4 nights. But I am finding that in Switzerland and Austria, it is rare to find lodging that doesn't require you to stay Saturday to Saturday. Try and weigh your options....how close do you want to be to the slopes? Is there a ski bus that can pick you up at your location? Do you have breakfast included? Most towns have great bus transportation to and from the lifts. Take advantage of this and you could possibly find lower rate lodging further out.


Food. Ski towns are expensive. This is why I love renting an apartment. You can cook meals at home and save a little money by doing so! Be prepared to shell out some money for food, especially on the slopes. Our most expensive 'deli' meals were on the slopes in Chamonix! If you can't find a self-catering apartment, try and find lodging with breakfast included. 

Ski Expenses: Obviously you will need to purchase ski lift tickets to be able to access the slopes. These can range from $40-75 per day. Purchase multiple day passes to save a few extra bucks. Also, shop around for ski rental deals and you may could save a little money here as well. 

Unplanned expenses. Be prepared for this! Unplanned expenses such as lost ski goggles or needing extra hats, gloves, etc. It happens, so just get ready for it!

All in all, you can find a ski trip for every budget. But be prepared to do the leg work to find the lower priced options!


So just where are our Alpine hearts headed to this coming winter? Well, if all goes well we will first be heading to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for a short break to the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. This is a military resort (sounds contradictory right?) and I am very curious to see what it's like. And then the big, amazing, oh my goodness are we really here trip will be to Zermatt, Switzerland!! You know, the one with the Matterhorn?! Pretty amazing. If we take advantage of the border crossings in these two resorts (which we didn't in Chamonix) we will have skied the French, Swiss, German, Austrian and Italian Alps! Too bad they don't stamp our passports once we cross :)

Skiing the Alps is an incredible experience and so worth all of the planning!!

For a look at last years Alps ski holiday....

Are you planning a winter adventure? What slopes have you conquered in the Alps?

Laugh Anyway

Treasure Tromp

28 comments

  1. Ohh I'd love to go to the Alps for a winter holiday! x

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  2. I've never ski'd in my life, so I'd probably be inside, gazing at the snow and drinking hot cocoa, haha. And making snow people/animals outside. But this sounds like such a lovely holiday to take. Can't wait to read about it!

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  3. You could squeeze into Van's snowboard bag and come with ;)

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  4. It's a sport that can be a little intimidating for sure! But the European ski towns are so lovely, I think you would be just fine spending a few days drinking cocoa and gazing at the beauty of it all!

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  5. The one and only ski experience of my entire life was in the Swiss alps! I stayed in Interlaken and took a bus to the slopes. Since I was only there for one day it didn't seem worth it to go to traditional "ski school" and even with all of the pointers a couple of friends gave me, I never felt prepared enough to go down off the training hill. But the view from the restaurant at the top of the mountain was wonderful!

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  6. Yeah, you definitely need more than a day so you can learn properly! Once you get the hang of it, its pretty fun :) The views are always amazing and I take as many breaks as I need to at the top to go get some coffee and take it all in!

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  7. So I broke my arm the last time I went snowboarding. When I moved abroad, I sold my board. That said, I would love a ski vacation anyway because I love the idea of spending time cozied up in a Chalet in the mountains!!! I'm perfectly happy to watch the activity with a hot toddy in hand!

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  8. I would looove to go to the Alps this winter!! We didn't go last year and, though I don't consider myself to be a natural woodsman/woman, I really missed the feeling of being out on the mountains. (Even if I spend most of my time on my butt/in the pizza position.)

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  9. I am seriously DYING to do this. I've missed out on two opportunities now. I am hoping Dan and I will be hitting the Alps next winter, because it seriously seems criminal not to, right?!

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  10. I haven't skiied in the Alps yet so I'm saving this post. Great tips, thank you!

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  11. Skiing the alps would definitely be a dream.. but I am nowhere near as good to go anytime soon. I actually am pretty terrible at skiing.. and do a little better with snowboarding.. but even that I'm pretty bad. I'd ruin it for everyone shaving down the side of the mountain while breaking. haha Definitely on my list of things to do ONE DAY.

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  12. I've actually been to the resort in Garmisch - it's beautiful! you guys are going to have an amazing time! :D

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  13. Awesome! Is it on your blog?! I can't wait....should be a nice little short trip :)

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  14. You must go! The Alps are seriously beautiful!

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  15. You have to go!!!! You are so close ;) I can't wait to return in the winter after such an amazing trip last year!

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  16. Haha!! Pizza position is perfectly fine :) The Alps are amazing, even if you don't ski....the towns are charming and the scenery is just gorgeous!!

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  17. Oh no!! I am lucky to have not experienced a broken bone on the slopes (although lots of bruises and a sore bottom!) But the ALps are definitely a good place to be able to just chill and have a warm beverage...oh and eat!!

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  18. Good for you at being better at snowboarding though! I think people are just usually good at one or the other! Practice up and then head to the Alps! They are so amazing! Oh, and a good place to not feel too terrified, I think, is New Mexico.....the slopes aren't too terribly steep!

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  19. These are some GORGEOUS pictures, Jamie! I've never been skiing since 1) I'm hideously clumsy, and 2) I am such a weenie about being cold. Still, there's something completely romantic about visiting a place that has all of that snow--I could curl up in the lodge and drink cocoa! :)

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  20. LOVE THIS! I'm planning an Alps snowboarding vacation for my birthday in
    January. Also, when in January are you going to
    Garmisch-Partenkirchen?! That's at the top of my list for my
    snowboarding vacation in January. Maybe we could possibly be there at
    the same time?!

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  21. Ok, this was my comment but my Disqus is going wacky on me tonight! haha

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  22. Haha! Oh that would be awesome! We will be there the 16th-19th.....just a really short trip this time. Our big trip is in February to Zermatt! Have you snowboarded anywhere else in the Alps yet? Our trip last year was just incredible!

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  23. Awww you should try one day! I love that Van and I can go together and really enjoy doing something 'outdoorsy' together. And the locations are stunning! This year, we are actually planning lodge and hot drink days into our ski week which we have never done before so I'm excited!!

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  24. So weird!!! My birthday is the 16th so I would be there the 15th - 18th!!! I am definitely leaning towards Garmisch because it is only a few hours always from where I live :) I have never snowboarded anywhere else in the Alps...any more recs? Your two posts on the Alps are super helpful!

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  25. Awesome!! We are going with a a couple different groups of friends...which is funny because we never seem to be able to plan things with friends, so it should be a blast! I will email you and we can exchange #s! We went to Chamonix, France last year and loved it. It was awesome because there were so many different areas to ski!

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  26. This looks like so much fun! And a great resource too! Makes me even a tiny bit excited to see some snow :)

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  27. I like snow when I know I can escape from it at the end of the week :)

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