Find some great discounts on winter sport breaks
Looking for a last-minute fix of winter sports action?
Money Matters contributor Sarah Barrell rounds up some of the great deals available now.
Last year’s spectacular snow and this season’s early booking incentives have seen ski holiday sales rise, compared with the slump of recent years. And there are still good discounts available.
Head for the alps
Try Erna Low for 10% off selected holidays for Easter. And take advantage of the week commencing 16/17 March (the ‘in-between’ season), which offers good savings. Thomson Ski currently has £60 off a week’s skiing in Kitzbühel, Austria. Departing 16 March, half-board accommodation, flights and transfers cost from £449 per person. Crystal Ski is offering £300 off a week to Claviere in Italy’s Milky Way. Departing 16 March, it costs from £579 per person, all-inclusive with flights. Prices and offers correct as at Jan 2013.
You don’t have to confine your snowy break to skiing, there are more unusual packages on the market too. For example, Le Chardon Mountain Lodges in Val D’Isère, France, is running a ski and Pilates retreat (departs 24 April), where sunrise/sunset Pilates classes and healthy meal breaks punctuate the day’s guided skiing. Four nights stay costs from £1,275 per person (not including flights), and is available through the Mantis Collection.
Need equipment? If you’re a dedicated snow sportster, the heavy lifting is made easier this year. Pre-Fit Delivery Company sizes skiers for clothing and equipment and sends the kit ahead to the resort – from £39 per person per week. And you can indulge your inner ski nerd with Ski Bluebird's new Ski Geek Week. Stay at a luxury Courchevel chalet and get ski assessment, video analysis, test days, off-piste and avalanche training. From £849 per person, all-inclusive (international travel costs extra).
Sales are looking very healthy at the high-end of the market but there’s still plenty of choice with new accommodation popping up across the Alps. Meriski, specialist in luxury, catered chalets in the French resort of Méribel, has two new lodges for this season. The largest, Impala Lodge, sleeps 14 in seven en-suite bedrooms with indulgent extras such as a sunken outdoor hot tub, sauna house and screening room.
From £782 per person per week, based on 14 sharing, for exclusive or split bookings (international travel costs extra). Prices and offers correct as at Jan 2013.
Across the Atlantic
Big spender? If you’re going to invest time and money getting to North America’s slopes this season, how about selecting somewhere with a royal seal of approval? Skoki Lodge was the mountain retreat of choice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their recent official visit to Canada. Inghams has just introduced weekend trips to this backcountry Banff lodge, with two days from £149 per person (international travel costs extra). Accessed by a seven-mile mountain trail, Kate and William took a helicopter into Skoki – but for most of us it will be a case of ‘have snowshoe, will travel’.
Accidents on holidays can result in unexpected bills, so it’s a good idea to consider insurance for winter sports breaks. Winter sports cover may attract an increased premium so for more of an idea on rates and cover available check out Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance.
Four ski destinations that take you that bit further afield…
Go east for world-class powder, natural hot springs and wildlife that includes snow monkeys – notably at the former Winter Olympics host resort of Hakuba. Visit insidejapantours.com.
Ski in the European summertime, in English-speaking resorts, with pristine runs above sweeping fjords; plus local wine to fuel your après-ski. Contact travelbag.co.uk.
High-altitude Himalayan resort Gulmarg is the latest hub for ski savvy adventurers, with few groomed trails but excellent powder and limitless off-piste. Contact industours.co.uk.
Ski above the Sahara at Oukaïmeden, two hours from Marrakech. February is a great time to visit this rustic resort with runs accessed by Africa’s highest chairlift. Contact lawrenceofmorocco.com.
This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.