Here’s how ski holidays in Switzerland can be affordable

09/01/2017 - Brandi Gulick

Switzerland is known to be expensive, but it’s also quite beautiful. When it comes to its scenery and culture, this mountainous state is a unique holiday destination that winter sports fans should not miss out on. Find out how ski holidays in Switzerland are possible even on a normal budget.

Views like this one at the Leichbachhorn in Graubünden can be seen from practically every peak in Switzerland.

The Matterhorn, cheese fondue, pocket knives, chocolate – Switzerland is famous for many things, but the fantastic mountain landscapes are surely the most impressive. Almost half of the land surface – 48 % to be exact – is covered by mountains, some of which are known to be the most beautiful Alpine peaks in the world, such as the Matterhorn. It’s therefore not too much of a surprise that Switzerland is in high demand amongst winter sports fans – theoretically, at least. In reality, many holiday-goers prefer Austria or France in the end. The question is: why?

Why would anyone want to miss out on such dreamy runs like the one seen here at the Weisshorn near Arosa?

Perceived truth vs. real truth

“Switzerland is way too expensive!“ This is the main argument whenever discussing Switzerland as a potential travel destination for ski holidays. The Swiss Confederation has always been known to be expensive, especially since the revaluation of the Swiss Franc in 2015. However, this assumption is not even entirely true. There are more than 330 ski areas in the Swiss Alps, most of which nowadays have prices comparable to Austrian ski areas. The same applies to accommodations, which can be affordable depending on their location. It’s the daily expenses that cost a pretty penny – but there are always small tricks to be applied.

Plan the board in advance

There is no question: the price range in ski huts or restaurants is very high. However, this should not keep you from spending your holiday in Switzerland. Would you really deny yourself a fascinating alpine world and unique skiing pleasure because you’re unwilling to spend €20 on a pizza in the ski hut? You certainly don’t have to! Regarding the board, you can definitely avoid unnecessary expenses. If you book a holiday home or an apartment, it’s best to bring along a basic supply of food with your car. Grocery stores in ski resorts are not really low-priced, but if you do your grocery shopping in supermarket chains such as Migros or Coop in bigger resorts, you will find fairly moderate prices.  A small snack for a break on the piste is enough, and you can cook together in the evening.

The St. Moritz ski area – seen here is the Diavolezza gondola – is also easy to reach from Zuoz.

Flexibility pays off

When it comes to the strong Swiss Franc, the holiday regions have thought of various ways to create added value for their guests. This is why guest cards with discounts and special tariffs in ski hire shops and ski schools are offered in many resorts. Another advantage is the overall price flexibility: The smaller the demand, the lower the room rates, for example. Like this, the offer can vary despite the strong currency. Guests have to keep in mind: If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you will find really good deals in some holiday regions.

In St. Moritz, you’ll really be able to treat yourself. Delectable cheese and ham specialities are offered almost everywhere.

Choose your holiday resort purposefully

Whenever the rich and famous are around, the exclusive ambiance wants to be paid. This is why high prices should not be much of a surprise in noble resorts such as St. Moritz, Vebier, Gstaad or Crans-Montana. Admittedly, this is not only true for Swiss ski resorts and can always be taken into account when planning a holiday. How about trying the smaller neighbouring resorts for a change, such as Täsch instead of Zermatt, or Silvaplana instead of St. Moritz? The attractive ski areas are not too far away but you can still enjoy a little peace and quiet away from the jet-set life in noble resorts. After all, authentic winter holidays are not about being posh and watching celebrities, but about sports, relaxation and experience of nature, all of which are abundant all over Switzerland.

Further advantages

Easy arrival: Many holiday resorts can be reached by train easily, e.g. by SBB and the Rhätische Bahn. Most holiday-goers, however, use their own car for financial reasons. Like this, you are more mobile in resort and can reach the villages in valleys and on high plains faster. Just like in Austria or Italy, toll charges have to be paid on motorways. The vignette at a price of approx. 42 Francs (EUR 38.00) per car has to be paid once and is then valid for 14 months (start of December until the end of January).

Incredible views and plenty of snow – that’s the standard for the glacier ski area of Zermatt.

Unique panorama: Whether in Bernese Oberland, Engadin or Valais – the view over 3,000 and 4,000 m high peaks is guaranteed. The ten highest mountains in Switzerland are in the Valais Alps, including the highest mountain in the country, the Dufourspitze, with an altitude of 4,634 m.  This is only one of the reasons why Valais is known as one of the most popular holiday regions in Switzerland: here, you can find numerous popular resorts such as Zermatt, Verbier, Saas-Fee, Crans-Montana and Chambéry at the border to France.

Guaranteed snow: With 10 glacier ski areas and countless pistes at an altitude of 2,500 m and more, the Swiss ski areas are located on high levels, which gives them a high reliability for snow. While green meadows are in bloom elsewhere, the skiing fun continues here. When it comes to this, Switzerland is one of the top destinations worldwide.

Our tip for families: Meiringen Hasliberg

When looking for a picturesque, quiet, family-friendly and inexpensive destination, Haslital, in the Bernese Oberland, is the place to be. Fascinating mountain panoramas, open valleys, wide Alpine meadows and child-friendly services make this resort an ideal holiday destination for families. The ski area Meiringen-Hasliberg, with 60 km of piste, is known to be especially family-friendly, but also offers free ride areas and good après ski. The region is still an insider’s tip and is not (yet) part of the top holiday destinations, so that the prices are rather moderate.

The Meiringen-Hasliberg ski area is especially designed for families with children.

Our tip for sports fans: Arosa-Lenzerheide

The climate health resort Arosa is located in a sunny, open valley in the canton of Graubünden. The local ski area Arosa-Lenzerheide offers 225 km of piste and is the largest interconnected ski area in Graubünden. Frequent skiers can enjoy unlimited skiing fun from Hörnli to Piz Scalottas, while free riders will find their spots at Weißhorn and Brüggerhorn. Additionally, there are 140 km of hiking trails, 30 km of cross-country tracks, snowshoe paths, night tobogganing and a wide selection of leisure time activities.

Arosa is connected to the Rhätischen train network.

Our money-saving tip in Davos

With an extra charge of CHF 1.00, the Davos-Klosters lift pass can be used as a 2nd class ticket for Rhätische Bahn trains. The tickets is valid on the lines to Chur, St. Moritz and Scuol-Tarasp, making it ideal for smaller excursions in the region.

Davos is quite a magical mountain, and is waiting to be enjoyed by everyone.

See for yourself and find your next dream destination in Switzerland:

>> Ski holidays in Switzerland

>> Schweiz Tourismus

Prices and exchange rates from: 21/07/2017

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