Those who consider themselves ski lovers have probably been dreaming of gliding down snow-covered slopes ever since that first draft of wind that signaled the end of summer.
While the idea of a ski vacation often conjures images of luxury resorts and sky-high prices, the truth of the matter is that a dreamy winter getaway abroad doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg anymore.
In fact, Europe, one of the most coveted destinations among skiers and snowboarders, is home to several hidden gems that’ll provide you with world-class slopes at a fraction of the price of their more popular counterparts.
According to recent data released by Skyscanner, these are the three best budget-friendly ski resorts to visit in Europe this winter season:
Les Houches, France
In the Chamonix Valley of the French Alps, you’ll find Les Houches, Chamonix’s lesser-known but just as stunning neighbor.
Though skiing enthusiasts on a budget have always had a soft spot for the French commune, the region has still managed to maintain a strong air of authenticity, complete with charming accommodations and reasonable prices.
Here, you’ll find a wide array of pistes suited to skiers of all experience levels, including those who’ve never had the chance to partake in winter sports before.
Instructors in the local ski resort are not only exceptionally trained in the technical sense of the word but also equipped to deal with customers of all ages and backgrounds.
Whether you’re worrying about bringing small kids with you or contemplating if you’ll be hampered by the language barrier, this is your sign to stop overthinking and book that winter getaway to this stunning French region.
I do want to note, though, that it’s important to keep your expectations realistic.
Les Houches’ classification as a budget-conscious destination is always made in comparison to other ski resorts of similar nature and location.
While you’ll have to pay a bit more than you’d have to in Bulgaria or Slovenia, for example, the fact that you’ll get that quintessential French Alps experience for such a reasonable price generates similar value.
If those more reasonably priced destinations caught your eye instead, I’ve got good news for you.
Vogel, a stunning ski resort nestled in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, was also named among the best budget-friendly ski resorts in Europe this winter.
Beyond its diverse yet challenging slopes, Vogel offers some of the most panoramic views you’ll ever come across, mainly featuring Lake Bohinj and surrounding mountains.
Skiers, snowboarders, free-riders, or even just travelers looking for a cozy winter getaway, will find comfort in the reasonably priced guesthouses and the inviting, delectable cuisine.
Since the region is pretty secluded and there are very few options in terms of nightlife, the resort is more popular among couples and families.
With that said, bigger cities like Ljubljana and Kranj are just a short drive away, so don’t rule out non-ski-related events and cultural activities altogether.
Jasná Nízke Tatry, Slovakia
The last resort to round up the top 3 is Jasná Nízke Tatry, located in the majestic Low Tatras mountain range in Slovakia.
Though not as well-known as its counterparts, Jasná Nízke Tatry is undoubtedly a rising star in the European skiing scene.
The resort offers an excellent mix of beginner-friendly and challenging slopes, reliable snow conditions, no crowds, modern facilities, and remarkably reasonable prices – what more could you want from your winter getaway?
While there’s no arguing that all three resorts are havens for skiing enthusiasts, if you’re on a particularly tight budget, the factor that’ll make or break your winter travel plans is pricing.
Below, you’ll find a rough comparison between the three destinations based on average ski pass, drink, and meal prices.
|Ski Pass||Drinks (1 beer)||Meal|
|Les Houches||1 Day – €45 ($48)6 Days – €234 ($249)||€3 ($3.2)||€16 ($17)|
|Vogel||1 Day – €42 ($44.8)6 Days – €197 ($210)||€2 ($2.13)||€12 ($12.8)|
|Jasná Nízke Tatry||1 Day – €59 ($63)6 Days – €342 ($364)||€2.30 ($2.45)||€12.5 ($13.3)|
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com