Hit the slopes this winter without breaking…the bank
Winter sports are often associated with glamourous resorts, glitzy gear and expensive ski passes. But for most people, the joys of a day on the slopes are much less pretentious: feeling the fresh, cold wind on your face, taking in the breathtaking views and enjoying the adrenaline rush of mostly-controlled gliding.
Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travelers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, compared pricing data for over 300 destinations that travelers endorse the most for ‘downhill skiing’, to present some of the best places and most affordable times to go. Whether a beginner looking for a friendly fur-lined mountain village with good après ski, or a pro looking for the longest stretch of slopes to schuss down, there are affordable options for everyone.
Niseko is famous around the world for its abundance of powder snow and is suitable to skiers of all levels. It also offers amazing views on Mt. Yōtei, also known as Yezo Fuji for its resemblance to Japan’s highest mountain. While the resort is still lively in the shoulder season (February and March), lift prices drop and accommodation is roughly 50 percent more affordable in mid-March than during the most expensive part of the season, in mid to late December.
Where to stay: Ki Niseko is the perfect place for ski lovers to stay, as the hotel boasts perfect ski-in ski-out access and ski storage. After a day of hitting the slopes, sit back and relax in the hot spring to warm yourself up.
Solden is so scenic that it was featured as the backdrop to the 24th James Bond movie, and its legendary Rettenbach Glacier has for years been the kick-off location for the Alpine Ski World Cup. However, what a lot of people do not realise is that the skiing season starts very early for non-professional skiers as well - mid-November! Accommodation prices in late November and early December are around 40 percent more affordable than the peak of the winter season in January.
Where to stay: Located in the centre of Solden, Die Berge Lifestyle-Hotel Solden is a great place to stay with the Giggijoch cable car almost at your doorstep. There is also a panorama infinity pool on site for those who want to unwind completely while on holiday.
Kopaonik is the largest ski resort in Serbia, and even in Southeast Europe. Head here to see for yourself that the Alps don’t hold a monopoly on tree-lined slopes and copious portions of hearty food. The official opening of the ski season is the first week of December, and prices in the first two weeks of December are between 40 and 50 percent more affordable than when the season is in full swing in January.
Where to stay: With ski slopes right outside the hotel door, Grey Hotel Kopaonik is a great location for those who love to ski. There is also free of charge ski storage and ski passes and ski lessons available to purchase at the hotel.
Rokytnice nad Jizerou, Czech Republic
Rokytnice (pronounce “ro-keet-neet-se”) is a great place for beginner skiers due to the wide slopes and moderate inclines. The wider area of the Krkonoše Mountains (Giant Mountains) is particularly popular with cross-country skiers, as all the resorts and municipalities work together to regularly groom a combined 600 kilometres of signposted trails. Although skiing in the Czech Republic is relatively affordable in the first place, prices are around 40 percent more affordable in early March.
Where to stay: Located in the Liberec Region, Garni Hotel Horske Spicky offers guests a number of activities, such as cycling and skiing. The Horni Domky ski area is also a great ski location that is close to the hotel.
Killington, Vermont, USA
As the largest ski resort in the eastern part of the US, Killington is known as the “Beast of the East” and is the birthplace of the once revolutionary “ticket wicket”. As such, it is an established name for winter sports. The resort usually opens in November or even as early as the end of October, depending on weather conditions. Lift availability will vary depending on the amount of snowfall, but prices can be 50 percent more affordable all the way up until mid-December.
Where to stay: Guests are offered discounted lift tickets to Killing Ski Resort at Greenbrier Inn Killington. There are also nearby hiking trials and Killington Golf Course near the hotel.
Stoneham is less than half an hour from Quebec City and set in the stunning nature of the Laurentian Mountains. Skiing in Quebec has another advantage: Quebec’s cuisine is rich, nourishing and not infrequently laced with maple syrup – perfect for after a long day on the slopes. The lifts open in late November and some great discounts can be found in early December, with prices around 40 percent more affordable at the beginning of the season than in the end of December or early January.
Where to stay: Hotel & Condos Stoneham features an on-site restaurant and geocaching adventures. Located at walking distance to the ski mountain, making it a convenient location for skiing and 2 outdoor hot tubs on site to enjoy.
Methodology: Identified the top 300 destinations most endorsed by Booking.com customers for the category "downhill skiing". Destinations had to receive a minimum of 50 endorsements to be considered.
For pricing recommendations, the winter season was defined as December 2017 to March 2018. Only bookings of accommodations with 3 and 4 stars were considered and destinations had to be booked at least 50 times in the most affordable week of the season to qualify as a recommendation.