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Why This European Country Is A Surprisingly Affordable Ski Destination For Americans

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This winter, a ski trip to Europe is cheaper than you might think.

In fact, there's one popular ski destination that may even be more affordable for American travelers than traveling to popular U.S. ski destinations.

Northern Italy is a surprisingly affordable destination this winter for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports (or for anyone who just enjoys a good après-ski!)

Skiing in the Dolomites

Here's why you should consider Italy for your next ski trip, and how a trip to the Italian Alps might be more affordable than you think.

Great Conditions For Skiing

You can't beat the Italian Alps when it comes to skiing. There's a reason why this is a world-renowned ski destination.

The mountains in northern Italy have great conditions for skiing as well as other winter sports like snowboarding. The Alps cover all of northern Italy, with the Dolomites in the northeastern part of the country being particularly popular with skiers.

Male Skier in Italy

There are tons of great ski destinations located within the regions of Valle d'Aosta, Piemonte, and Trentino-Alto Adige.

Several of the world's best ski resorts are located in Italy, such as Racines-Giovo and Carezza.

Affordable Flights

Here's where you might be thinking that a ski trip to Italy is way out of budget. Surely flying to Europe is more expensive than flying to a ski destination in the United States?

carezza ski resort, Italy

But for many Americans, especially those on the East Coast, flying to Italy can actually be cheaper than flying domestically!

That's because Milan, the city closest to northern Italy's ski towns, is a major flight hub and it's often possible to find good deals on airfare. Winter is also the off-season for flights to Italy (especially January through March) so you can save even more money.

Milan Duomo with a colorful sky

For example, looking at nonstop flights out of New York's JFK for a week-long trip in February yields the following round-trip prices:

  • JFK to Vail, Colorado: $1,129
  • JFK to Jackson Hole, Wyoming: $1,298
  • JFK to Milan, Italy: $648

As you can see, it's actually significantly cheaper to fly nonstop to Milan than it is to Vail or Jackson Hole.

Even if your flight savings aren't quite as dramatic as this, you can still make up for the savings in other areas such as…

Airplane being preparing ready for takeoff in international airport at sunset - Travel around the world.

Budget-Friendly Accommodations

Another thing about northern Italy ski towns that is cheaper than the United States?

Budget-friendly accommodations! Whether you choose a hotel or a self-catering rental, you can often save a lot of money in Italy compared to similar properties in the United States.

According to BudgetYourTrip, the average nightly price for a hotel room in Vail, Colorado is $887 per night. This isn't even for five-star luxury hotels — it's just the average for ALL hotels.

Livigno Italy in the snow

There are obviously cheaper ski destinations in the U.S. than Vail, but you still might end up spending $500+ a night on accommodation during ski season.

Meanwhile, in northern Italy, you can find much better deals on accommodation. According to BudgetYourTrip, the average nightly price for a hotel room in Livigno, Italy (a popular ski destination) is just $145 per night.

Cheaper Ski Lift Passes

You can also save big on ski lift passes in Italy compared to the United States.

Two Skiers Going On Ski Lift

Lift ticket pricing in the U.S. is out of control, with the cost of a weekday pass in Vail, Colorado reaching a sky-high $229 this season. A weekend pass will set you back $269.

Meanwhile, a day pass in Racines-Giovo, one of Italy's top ski resorts, is only around €60 ($65 USD.)

This is a huge savings, and it really adds up over the course of your ski vacation.

Monterosa ski - ski resort - Valle d'Aosta - Italy

In addition to lift tickets being cheaper, you can also save money on other aspects of your trip, such as ski lessons and ski rentals.

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