How to make ski holidays in Switzerland affordable

24/06/2019 - SnowTrex

Switzerland is considered expensive, but also beautiful. The mountainous country is a scenically and culturally unique destination that winter sports fans should not miss. SnowTrex shows how to make skiing holidays in Switzerland affordable even on a normal budget.

Chair lift in front of the impressive Matterhorn.

Is Switzerland expensive?

“Switzerland is far too expensive”, is the main argument when it comes to Switzerland as a ski destination. The Swiss Confederation has always been regarded as expensive, especially after the appreciation of the Swiss franc in 2015, but that’s only one side of the coin and not even entirely correct. There are over 330 ski areas in the Swiss Alps, most of which now have similar prices to the Austrian ski areas. Accommodations in ski regions are also affordable depending on the location. What reduces the travel budget are daily expenses, e.g. for food or gastronomy, but this can be reduced.

Views such as this one on the Leichbachhorn in Graubünden can be found on practically every mountain ridge in Switzerland.

Plan meals in advance

The price level in the huts or restaurants is undisputedly comparatively high, but this should not be an obstacle for a ski holiday. Are you missing out on a fascinating mountain world and unique ski enjoyment just because you don’t want to spend €20 on pizza in the ski hut? That doesn’t have to be the case. If it is about the food, then one can bypass budget-killers. Those who have booked a holiday flat or an apartment can bring their basic provisions in their own car. The supermarkets in the ski village are not exactly cheap, but those who do their shopping in bigger villages at wholesale market chains like “Migros” or “Coop” will find comparatively moderate prices. During the day on the slopes, a snack should be enough and in the evening, you can cook together.

The ski area St. Moritz – here the Diavolezza gondola – is also easily accessible from Zuoz.

Flexibility pays off

Considering the strengthening of the Swiss franc, the holiday regions have become creative in order to offer their guests added value to the existing offer. This is why in many places, such as Davos, Saas-Fee or Gstaad, there are guest cards with discounts and special rates for ski hire or ski schools. A further advantage is the general price flexibility: the lower the demand, the lower the room rates, for example. The supply can therefore fluctuate despite the strong franc. For guests, this means that those who are flexible in terms of time will find real bargains in some regions.

St. Moritz is a really good place to be. The delicious cheese and ham specialities are offered everywhere.

Select a specific holiday destination

If the rich and beautiful go here, you can expect to pay for the exclusive ambience, so you shouldn’t be surprised at the hefty prices in exclusive places like St. Moritz, Verbier, Gstaad or Crans-Montana. Of course, this rule doesn’t only apply to Swiss ski resorts and can be taken into account when planning your trip. How about the small neighbouring villages of the “big ones” – Silvaplana instead of St. Moritz, for example? Nevertheless, the attractive ski areas are not far from there and you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the lively jet-setters. An authentic winter holiday is not about celebrity watching, but about sports, relaxation and nature, and there’s plenty of this everywhere in Switzerland.

Further advantages of Switzerland

Easy arrival: Many holiday resorts are easily accessible by train, e.g. SBB and Rhaetian Railway. However, most winter holidaymakers travel by car for cost reasons. This means that you are mobile in resort and the villages in the valleys as well as the plateaus can be reached even faster. Tolls are charged on the motorways, but the same applies to Austria and Italy. The vignette is paid once and is valid for a whole year.

Fabulous views and lots of snow – standard features in the glacier ski area of Zermatt.

Unique panorama: Whether in the Bernese Oberland, Engadine or Valais – the view of summits of 3,000 and 4,000 metres is certain. The ten highest mountains in Switzerland are located in the Valais Alps, including the highest in Switzerland, the Dufourspitze, at 4,634 m above sea level. This is one of the reasons why Valais is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. Here are numerous well-known holiday resorts such as Zermatt, Verbier, Saas-Fee, Crans Montana, Fiesch, La Tzoumaz, Leukerbad, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Riederalp and Champéry on the border with France.

Absolute snow security: With ten glacier ski areas and countless pistes at 2,500 m and higher, the Swiss ski areas are located at very high altitudes and are therefore extremely snow secure. While green meadows are already blossoming elsewhere else, the skiing fun is sure to continue here. In this respect, Switzerland is one of the top destinations in the world.

Our family tip: Meiringen-Hasliberg

If you like it picturesque, quiet, family-friendly and reasonably priced, then you should go to the Haslital in the Bernese Oberland. Fascinating mountain panoramas, open valleys, wide alpine meadows and child-friendly offers make this the ideal destination for families. The Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area with 60 km of pistes is particularly family-friendly, but also offers freeride areas and well-kept après ski. As the region is an insider tip and not (yet) one of the top travel destinations, the prices are rather moderate.

The Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area is aimed at families with children.

Our sports tip: Arosa-Lenzerheide

In a sunny, open valley in the canton of Graubünden lies the climatic health resort of Arosa. The Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area has 225 km of pistes and is therefore the largest contiguous ski region in Graubünden. Frequent skiers enjoy unbridled skiing pleasure here, from Hörnli to Piz Scalottas, while freeriders find their territories on the Weißhorn and Brüggerhorn. There are also 140 km of hiking trails, 30 km of cross-country skiing trails, snowshoe trails, night toboggan runs and other leisure activities.

Arosa is connected to the Rhaetian Railway network.

Get your own impression here and find your next dream destination in Switzerland.

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