The appeal of skiing in Zermatt
If you are a ski addict, you will likely know that Zermatt is one of the in places to go! With over 360 km of pistes, incredible scenes like the one above, pumping apres-ski and the cutest village EVER, it ranks as one of the very BEST ski resorts in the world.
Of course, that does not make it a value destination. When celebrities, royals and billionaire business men flock there in their droves, rooms start from £154 per night on hotels.com for the Christmas period this year. The average is well in excess of £200 a night, with top properties selling for over a £1,000 per night. Ouch!
Of course, that is before you even think about indulging in all that this chocolate box village has to offer. Food and drink in Switzerland is notoriously expensive so wild nights out may be a wistful idea, unless you happen to win the lottery before your visit.
Budget skiing in zermatt
My first experience of skiing was in Zermatt, twenty years ago. I was fortunate enough to qualify for a work incentive, for top rookie of 1997, and won a fully expense-paid weekend to this heavenly destination. Little did I know, that the inclusive ski lessons, luxury five star hotel and services of luxury operator Scott Dunn probably cost more than a few months of my salary at the time!
Since, then I’ve considered returning on many occasions, but always thrown in the towel in defeat after seeing the ridiculous cost of a weekend stay.
Suffice it to say then, I was pretty excited when I discovered an alternative way to visit which doesn’t cost the bank. Just follow this three step plan for your own budget version of skiing in Zermatt.
Step one – book budget flights
I booked flights in the EasyJet sale, for a total of £252 from Manchester to Milan. That includes flights for myself and Jason and three bags, after all we have ski boots and helmets to ram into our cases. Normally we would carry boots in separate bags, but if it saves £40 on carriage by combining them in one case, so be it!
Step two – book your hotel directly
This is where you need to get creative. No way are you going to bag a bargain in Zermatt at Christmas! Not now, not ever! However those 360 kilometres of slopes connect three enchanting valleys, two of which are located in neighbouring Italy. Prices are much more affordable there.
You can take your pick from hotels in Valtournenche or Cervinia (from £63 per night), hop on the nearest ski lift and soon be skiing down into Zermatt. Just be sure not to miss the last life back from Zermatt or you might be paying for a very expensive taxi. After all that little mountain hop is a drive of over 200 km!
Cervinia still comes out more expensive than Valtournenche (beware, some of the cheapest options are some distance from the village on hotels.com). If you stay in the smaller settlement of Valtournenche, prices drop remarkably, but it still connects directly into the Zermatt-Cervinia area.
Step three – book the bus and train combo
From Milan to Valtournenche, it is a four hour plus journey, but who’s counting when you will be greeted by stunning mountains every step of the way? The bus links you to Chatillon train station, from where you take a train to your final destination.
All the timetables can be found on Rome2Rio (a truly awesome site for finding your way around) and with prices starting from £13 per person (each way), this is a bargain. Y0u can also book a shared minibus direct from the airport for two people, for €90 each way.
My total cost for a week from 24th to 31sr December is £957.
I will be heading back to Milan to celebrate New Years Eve and where better to celebrate? Anyone who has ever witnessed a fiesta in Italy knows that the Italians are the master of incredible firework displays. I simply cannot wait!
Have your say
Where will you be spending Christmas and New Year 2017? I know it probably seems like forever away right now, but trust me, the years get faster as you get older, and I swear it will be here in no time…
Also if you have any top tips for bargain lift passes, or great value bars and restaurants in the area, be sure to pop them below.