How Much Does a Ski Holiday Actually Cost?

There’s no getting around it: ski holidays are more expensive than their summer counterparts. And one of the most-requested posts since I went on our Mark Warner ski holiday to Tignes is: “BUT HOW MUCH DOES A SKI HOLIDAY COST?”.

There’s a reason for all the money: when you land in the mountains you’re not spending your holiday weeks hanging out on a sun lounger eking out your budget on the occasional cocktail, but instead you’re busy All.The.Time. Whether that’s in ski lessons or aprés, up the mountain or enjoying raclette… snow sports are simply more expensive. And that’s before you factor in the cost of all the practical aspects of the trip, such as clothing and equipment hire.

how much does a ski holiday cost

How Much Does a Ski Holiday Cost?

Here’s what we spent on our ski holiday (though all prices were for three of us – one adult and two kids –  adding a second adult wouldn’t have been hugely expensive):

Hotel accommodation (half board), flights and transfers – £3,187*
We stayed at Chalet Hotel L’Ecrin Du Val Claret in Tignes and LOVED it. Small enough to seem intimate yet large enough to have all the amenities we wanted, it was the perfect place for us to stay on our first ski holiday as a family.

Everyone in the hotel is half board, which includes a brilliant buffet breakfast, afternoon tea (homemade cakes and biscuits every afternoon!) and a nightly three course dinner with wine. If your children attend the kids club their lunch is included, too.

Our flights were with Small Planet and were absolutely fine though were at fairly unsociable times (5.55am then 7.30am): you can pay a premium (around £300) to fly BA at a more sensible hour. Transfers were by very comfortable coaches.

Airport hotel and parking  – £160
Because of the early start and the distance from our house (Gatwick is a couple of hours away) I decided to book a hotel the night before we flew. We stayed at Bloc which is our all-time favourite Gatwick hotel, and a week’s valet parking was included in our package (I can’t recommend this parking enough when you’re travelling with kids).

how much does a ski holiday cost

Ski clothes – £600
I had some bits and bobs left over from skiing as a teenager, but both kids needed to be kitted out pre-holiday. Luckily our trip fell just after Christmas so the clothes and equipment I bought formed most of their presents for this year.

I tried to spend most of my budget where I thought it would be necessary as I was constantly asking myself how much does a ski holiday cost? – the children’s underlayers came from Muddy Puddles and were really worth the extra spends (I wish I’d bought more!). Hux’s coat was also Muddy Puddles, and Elfie’s came from budget-friendly Trespass – it’s still available and is awesome.

I bought a lot of stuff for me from Sports Direct and for myself managed to snag a great past-season Helly Hanson jacket at 70% of its original price. I also bought my Nevica and Helly Hanson underlayers from here too, with some other bits – like my very comfy ski trousers –  from Roxy.

The kids’ footwear were MoonBoots (these are great and last a few sizes), and mine were from Rubber Duck.

You are able to rent ski clothes but I didn’t really consider this option – we’ve had wear out of everything I bought save the ski trousers (the kids underlayers make great winter PJs!) – and I bought everything slightly large so they’ll last a couple of years.

how much does a ski holiday cost

Ski lessons – £600
Even the mega accomplished skiiers at our hotel were having a couple of hours of tuition a week. Mine was pretty full on at three hours a day, and to be honest I found it too intense and restrictive. If we go again next year, I’d apply my ski school budget to a private teacher and would hire them for a couple of hours a day on the first two days, getting them to show me appropriate slopes and routes for my level of skiing.

The kids LOVED their three hours of lessons every day and I’m really glad I was able to sign them up for this.

Ski hire – £286
Kind of necessary, unless you have your own gear or can ski on your feet ;) All our equipment was hired from Intersport in brilliant nick and was big-name branded. We hired skis, boots, helmets and poles and stored everything in our hotel’s locked boot room.

Food – £350
Our hotel was half-board, meaning we were provided with breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner with wine. On the first day I thought I’d be smart and eat a massive breakfast, sailing through lunch until afternoon tea time, meaning I wouldn’t have to spend any extra money on expensive meals. NOT RECOMMENDED. Skiing is hungry work, I was starving.

Lunches on the alps were expensive and I would spend around £30 on a pizza and drink for me, or £50 if I was lunching with the children as well (which we did twice, after I broke them out of kid’s club for family time). One evening we went out for dinner as it was the chalet staff’s night off, and an evening of paté, raclette and red wine (me, not them) set us back £130. Expensive, but yummy.

Ski lift pass – £248
You want to get up the mountain? You have to buy a lift pass. These are way more advanced than the ski trips of my teens, you don’t have to keep them on a long string anymore, they sit in your pocket and are easily scanned when you scoot through the ski barriers.

I didn’t buy these for the kids as the nursery slopes are free to access.

how much does a ski holiday cost

Other considerations: there was a spa in the hotel and I enjoyed a massage for £60… I was so sore by midweek, it was well worth it. The children had to be sent off to kid’s club with £5 in their pockets each day to purchase incidentals (hot chocolate!), and I also spent around £10 an evening at the hotel bar’s happy hour. We also did a little shopping around the town, buying souvenirs for people at home as well as treats for the kids and FRENCH PHARMACY stuff for me. This probably came to an extra £70.

So, breaking it down: how much does a ski holiday cost?

Hotel accommodation (half board), flights and transfers – £3,187*
Airport hotel and parking  – £160
Ski clothes – £600
Ski lessons – £600
Ski hire – £286
Food – £350
Ski lift pass – £248
Other bits – £200

Total spend = £5,631

But the most important question: was it worth it? For me, yes. I had a wonderful time and the trip, though a challenge a times, was a really brilliant experience for us as a family. It’s not a holiday in the traditional sense that you’ll have acres of time to relax and distance yourself from the stresses of  the real world, but it’s most definitely a character and confidence-building experience.

*Mark Warner kindly covered the cost of our accommodation and transport, the rest I paid myself. I’m very seriously considering this holiday again next year – we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Mark Warner have a really handy online calculator that lets you tot up the price of your holiday as you go along… click here to have a go. 

  1. We went skiing as a family last January (to Avoriaz) and it does all add up you’re right, but once you’ve got the gear and if you own your own snowboard as my husband does it brings the total down for the next time! Glad you’re thinking of going again! We booked via BA but as we booked so far in advance they weren’t that expensive in the end!

    1. Yes! That’s it – now we have all the gear (and a little idea of what we’re doing…) I think next year will be easier. It’s such a great family holiday! Avoriaz looks brilliant.

  2. This has been insanely helpful Alice, thank you! We’re going skiing with Mark Warner to Les Deux Alpes next January with the kids and baby in tow, and seeing this has made me realise that we’re going to need to make sure we bring plenty of extra spends, especially if we want to go out for dinner rather than stay in the hotel (although I’m going to get my money’s worth as far as this is concerned!)

    1. Glad it’s helpful, Becky! You will have a bloody AMAZING time!
      (and yes – there was the odd croissant sneaked out of breakfast for snacktime… yum ;)

  3. Wow – my eyes are watering at the thought of how expensive it would be for our family of four! Looks like it was a fantastic holiday though!

  4. Great post Alice. We do a sort of hybrid version – self catered but everything booked through a company so we don’t have to do it ourselves, get good prices and good recommendations but with the cost benefit of self catering. IMO skiing is totally worth it if you have the budget – nothing much beats that Alpine air/sunshine in the middle of winter.

  5. Wow, such in insightful post. I went skiing with the school in the 1980s (haha) – the only time I’ve been! It looked like an amazing holiday. x

  6. But for balance, you don’t *have* to spend this much – this is very much the cost for asking an agent to organise your holiday. A self-booked ski holiday doesn’t cost anywhere near this much. I ski every year with two children and we spend a fraction of this. For starters we rent a self-catering place and buy supermarket food – nutella on brioche for breakfast, cereal bars in their jacket pockets for skiing, packed lunches, and pasta/pizza every evening. I drive down, which costs less than flying and means I can take a fair amount of packed lunch type snacks from home, as well as our own skis, boots, helmets etc (my boots cost £40 on ebay and have lasted 10 years so far, my kids’ boots usually cost £20 on ebay – the 2nd child uses them a few years later, then I re-sell on ebay for £20 so it’s zero cost). If you know you’re going every-year you buy the kids’ clothing in July (my son’s muddy puddles jacket cost £15, and his decathlon salopettes and snow boots were £6 and £10 respectively, thermals/socks are stretchy and last several years). The real costs that are inflexible are ski school lessons (book a local provider for mornings – we use ESF in France, then meet your kids at 12.30 with a packed lunch, and spend the afternoons skiing with them), and lift passes (once the kids graduate the nursery slopes they also cost a lot!) I treat the kids to one meal out (usually a plate of chips) and one hot chocolate out per 1-week holiday. They’re usually too busy enjoying the snow and skiing to care about eating pasta/pizza at home every night, and collapse asleep pretty fast – leaving me to watch a DVD in peace. If you want to be sociable book a self-catering chalet with friends, probably get a cheaper deal per person too.

  7. What a fab post! I would love to try this with my family but always thought it would be too expensive but seeing abreak down of prices is soooo super helpful! It would be amazing though! x

  8. Wow, this is really interesting and something that I’ve been wondering for a while now as it’s been years since I last went skiing. I would absolutely love to be able to take the family skiing, although my husband would probably look like Goofy on ice (he’s 6’6″!) but I reckon we would all love it. It’s about the only sport I’ve ever been any good at and what an amazing experience and skill to teach the children. Love hearing about your family travels x

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