Only the rich and famous can afford to go skiing in Europe, right? It may be a cliché, but it’s not exactly accurate. As it turns out, Europe is chock-full of excellent ski resorts, many of which are totally affordable — yes, even for us normal folk. That’s why we went on the hunt for the best ski resorts in Europe that we can actually afford.
We considered a number of factors, including real-life reviews, average length of ski season, quality of snow, and size of the ski area. We were also interested in the number of ski runs and trails suitable for skiers of beginner, intermediate, and advanced ability levels. All prices listed and their exchange rates are accurate as of February 2020.
Abetone Ski Resort
Pistoia Province, Italy
1-Day Pass: €40.00 ($44.00) (weekday discounts available)
6-Day Pass: €161.00 ($175.00)
As one of the most popular ski resorts in the Apennines, Abetone Ski Resort offers 50 kilometers of skiing and snowboarding slopes, cross-country skiing trails, and snowshoeing trails. Each ski area is conveniently color coded to mark terrain for beginners, intermediates, and experts, and each area has guaranteed snow thanks to an artificial snow system that covers up to 80% of the resort.
Bansko Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: BGN 70 ($39.00)
6-Day Pass: BGN 400 ($222.00)
The first of three Bulgarian resorts to make our list of the best affordable ski resorts in Europe is Bansko. One of the most popular ski resorts in Eastern Europe, Bansko offers 14 lifts to the more than 50 kilometers of slopes. It has lots of varied terrain, stunning mountain views, and one of the most inexpensive weekly rates of any ski resort anywhere. Bansko is the perfect ski destination for anyone searching for excellent value for money.
1-Day Pass: BGN 62 ($35.00)
6-Day Pass: BGN 320 ($178.00)
Bargain hunters love to ski in Bulgaria, and one of the Eastern European country’s best resorts is Borovets. Situated about 1,300 meters up into the Rila Mountains, Borovets is Bulgaria’s oldest ski resort. It’s separated into three zones, though beginning and intermediate skiers will likely enjoy the upper half of the mountain where there are wide open pistes. Party animals will love the lively and cheerful apres ski scene, while those in need of some instruction are sure to appreciate the top-notch teachers employed by the resort.
Cauterets Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: €38.00 ($42.00)
6-Day Pass: €195.00 ($212.00)
If you’re looking to save some money and avoid the big crowds, then consider skiing Cauterets in the French Pyrénées. Located between France and Spain, the Pyrénées don’t draw nearly the crowds that the Alps do over in Central Europe. However, the skiing is just as good. Cauterets offers 23 different ski runs. These include nine intermediate, eight advanced, and two expert. A ski school is available for children or beginners.
1-Day Pass: €52.00 ($57.00)
6-Day Pass: €279.00 ($303.00)
Located just three hours from Barcelona, Grandvalira is situated in the heart of the Pyrénées in the tiny country of Andorra. It boasts a whopping 200 kilometers of pistes and other ski terrain, and trails and lifts link to five different Andorran towns: Canillo, El Tarter, Encamp, Grau Roig, and Pas de la Casa. Nearby hotel rooms are plentiful and inexpensive, as is the case with local restaurants and bars.
Gudauri Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: 50 GEL ($18.00)
6-Day Pass: 266 GEL ($94.00)
Gudauri Ski Resort is located in Georgia’s Greater Caucasus Mountain Range in the mkhare, or province, of Mtskheta-Mtianeti. There are about 64 kilometers of ski runs, serviced by 15 lifts, and on-site ski instructors for those in need of a lesson or two. However, most people head to Gudauri for the unique winter sports it offers. Because of the resort’s mountain wilderness surroundings, ski touring is popular here, as are speedriding, paragliding, and heliskiing.
Harrachov Ski Resort
Harrachov, Czech Republic
1-Day Pass: 420 Kc – 690 Kc ($18.00 – $30.00)
6-Day Pass: 3800 Kc ($165.00)
The town of Harrachov, one of the Czech Republic’s oldest mountain towns, has a rich history of winter sports. Ideal for downhill skiing and snowboarding, the resort offers two chair lifts leading up to four runs of varying steepness and ability level. Multiple circuits for cross-country skiers are also available. An on-site ski and snowboard school offers lessons to those in need of a little instruction.
Hintertux Glacier (Hintertuxer Gletscher)
1-Day Pass: €55.50 ($60.00)
6-Day Pass: €266.50 ($289.00)
Hintertux is one of the few European ski resorts open year-round. Located on a glacier, Hintertux offers 60 kilometers of piste ground, plus a freestyle ski zone for the daredevils in the group. Don’t forget to check out Nature’s Ice Palace, where one can paddle board, kayak, or ice swim within “the walls of eternal ice.” Hintertux as a whole includes a few different resorts, but any choice you make is bound to be an affordable one.
Jasná Nizke Tatry
Demänovská Dolina, Slovakia
1-Day Pass: €56.00 ($61.00)
6-Day Pass: €289.00 ($314.00)
Jasna Ski Resort in Slovakia offers skiers a whopping 41 different slopes! These range from beginner-level pistes to runs reserved only for the experts. For those who enjoy night skiing, Jasna offers that, too. There is even an excellent ski school on site for children and other beginners who are new to the snow.
Kasprowy Wierch – Zakopane
1-Day Pass: PLN 130.00 ($33.00)
6-Day Pass: PLN 720.00 ($182.00)
Poland’s Kasprowy Wierch – Zakopane ski resort offers snow lovers 15 kilometers of ski runs and other skiable terrain. Four chair lifts transport guests up and down the mountain, with two different winter sports areas located at 1,014 meters and 1,897 meters. While there is plenty to offer beginner- and intermediate-level skiers, Kasprowy Wierch – Zakopane is especially popular amongst advanced skiers.
Kranjska Gora Ski Resort
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
1-Day Pass: €35.50 ($39.00)
6-Day Pass: €176.00 ($191.00)
Situated on the border separating Italy and Austria, Kranjska Gora in Slovenia offers skiers an amazing 30 kilometers of runs and trails. The resort’s hotels are all located right alongside the slopes, meaning overnight guests are never too far from the action. For those looking for a shorter experience, Kranjska Gora is within easy distance from a number of larger cities and towns, so it’s an ideal day trip. Plus, a day pass to ski is only about $50.
Krvavec Ski Resort
Cerklje na Gorenjskem, Slovenia
1-Day Pass: €35.00 ($38.00)
6-Day Pass: €163.00 ($177.00)
Krvavec Ski Resort is the second largest ski resort in Slovenia, a country known for its winter sports culture. Situated in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Krvavec offers guests 30 kilometers of ski slopes to suit all abilities. There is also a very large snow park, with six jumps and eight different objects. When the snowfall has been especially good, there is also potential for excellent off-piste activity, with lots of forest area and stunning views of the Alps.
La Norma Ski Resort
La Norma, France
1-Day Pass: €26.00 ($29.00)
6-Day Pass: €141.00 ($153.00)
Situated in the heart of the Savoyard French Alps, La Norma Ski Resort is located in the town of La Norma, a quintessential European ski town. Ideal for beginning skiers and/or families with young children, La Norma offers 27 runs, 51% of which are perfect for beginners and intermediates. The high-altitude of the resort’s location means powder lasts a lot longer here. For that reason, La Norma’s many chutes and powder fields are especially popular. An excellent ski school is also available for those in need of a little instruction.
Les Houches Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: €45.00 ($49.00)
6-Day Pass: €225.00 ($244.00)
Chamonix may be France’s most famous ski area, but it also costs around $350 for a pass during peak ski season. Save yourself some money — and avoid the massive crowds — by heading to Les Houches. Located just six kilometers from Chamonix, Les Houches offers ski runs ranging from 950 meters to 1,900 meters in length, though super thrill seekers might miss the black runs and open air clubs offered at Chamonix. The apres-ski scene at Les Houches features a number of bars, and Happy Hour gets quite the crowd from 5-7 P.M.
Alta Valtellina, Italy
1-Day Pass: €43.00 ($47.00)
6-Day Pass: €247.00 ($268.00)
Located not too far from Milan, Livigno is a ski resort popular with the younger ski crowd. The offered terrain is ideal for intermediate skiers and just challenging enough to satisfy those in the advanced crowd. The resort’s terrain park has rails, kickers, and pro-sized jumps big enough to get anyone’s heart racing. Livigno is also a duty-free zone, and prices for food and drink are very reasonable.
Madesimo Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: €42.00 ($46.00)
6-Day Pass: €204.00 ($222.00)
Madesimo Ski Resort is a part of the Skiarea Valchiavenna in Madesimo, Italy. It offers skiers 60 kilometers of varied and extensive terrain, with pistes measuring between 1,550 and 2,880 meters. Resort highlights include Canalone and Camosci off-piste runs (though these are better left to the experts) and the Val di Lei runs. The apres ski vibe here is quintessentially Italian, with complimentary aperitivo snacks like tartlets and antipasti, and meals served with regional wines.
Maribor Pohorje Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: €26.00 ($28.00)
6-Day Pass: €162.00 ($176.00)
Located right above the city of Maribor in the Lower Styria mountain range is Maribor Pohorje Ski Resort, the largest ski resort in Slovenia. Over 42 kilometers of north-facing ski slopes are offered to skiers of all ability levels. There are also 27 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, and 10 kilometers of night-skiing trails. Though the resort is open to the public during peak snow season, it also hosts the annual “Golden Fox” competition, a women’s World Cup event with slalom and giant slalom events.
Niederau Ski Resort
1-Day Pass: €46.00 ($50.00)
6-Day Pass: €229.00 ($249.00)
Though it’s arguably the best-known village in the Wildschönau in the Austrian Tyrol, the village of Niederau and its Niederau ski resort remain an affordable option for skiers and snowboarders on a budget. The total ski area covers two valleys, and a purchased pass is good for any run within that area. The runs are perhaps best suited for those beginner or intermediate skiers, as there are few truly challenging trails in Niederau. Those interested in some lessons will have quite a few instructors to choose from. After a long day of skiing, the traditional mountain village of Niederau oozes with Tyroleon charm and offers the perfect apres-ski experience.
Olympic Center Jahorina
Jahorina, Bosnia & Herzegovina
1-Day Pass: €28.50 ($31.00)
6-Day Pass: €123.00 ($134.00)
It may be surprising that the resort commonly known as Jahorina in Bosnia & Herzegovina is included on our list of the best affordable ski resorts in Europe. After all, the resort did host the 1984 Winter Olympics! Located just a few minutes from Bosnia’s capital city of Sarajevo, Jahorina offers something for every level of skier, plus bars, clubs, and during the holidays, an excellent Christmas market.
Smolyan Province, Bulgaria
1-Day Pass: BGN 43 ($24.00)
6-Day Pass: 231 BGN ($128.00)
Located in the Smolyan Province of Bulgaria and about 10 kilometers from the city of Chepelare, Pamporovo ski resort is one of the country’s most popular. Still, it remains one of Europe’s most affordable ski destinations. The family-friendly resort offers 55 kilometers of ski runs that are ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers. There are also 38 kilometers of cross-country skiing track, and more than 100 on-staff ski instructors that teach lessons in a variety of languages. A number of hotels, restaurants, and bars are in the main ski area, making Pamporovo an excellent multi-day destination.
Poiana Brasov, Romania
1-Day Pass: 150 lei ($34.00)
6-Day Pass: 570 lei ($129.00)
Like the resorts in Bulgaria, Poiana Brasov in Romania is an excellent ski destination option when you’re on a budget. The most popular resort in Romania, Poiana Brasov offers nine miles of marked terrain suitable for everyone from beginners to expert. Night skiing is also available, and draws quite the crowd. Located near the resort are spots for winter camping, trails for snowshoeing, and lots of bars and restaurants offering cheap food and drink.
Serre Chevalier Vallée Ski Area
La Salle-les-Alpes, France
1-Day Pass: €51.50 ($56.00)
6-Day Pass: €264.00 ($287.00)
As one of southeastern France’s biggest ski resorts, Serre Chevalier consists of more than 250 kilometers of slopes for skiers of all ability levels. Much of the area is covered by snow cannons to ensure that there is always sufficient powder for the best runs. One of Serre Chevalier’s most appealing features is its wooded area. The timber line is at 2,150 meters, which means there are about 700 meters of vertical drop of tree-lined slopes.
Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau
1-Day Ski Pass: €49.00 ($53.00)
6-Day Ski Pass: €245.50 ($266.00)
Though it’s been declared one of the prettiest towns in all of Europe, Albach, Austria has managed to stay totally underrated. This, in turn, has also kept it an affordable place to ski and enjoy winter. Because of strict laws dictating the size of any new buildings built, everything in Alpbach is cozy and charming —picture a postcard-perfect alpine village. The resort offers skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and snow trail walks. Beginners to experts are welcome, though more of the former frequent Alpbach.
Andermatt, Sedrun, and Oberalp, Switzerland
1-Day Pass: CHF39.00 ($40.00)
6-Day Pass: n/a
We know what you’re thinking — affordable skiing in Switzerland? There’s no such thing! While it’s true that Switzerland isn’t exactly known for its budget options, SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun is the less expensive option for anyone determined to ski with the Swiss. A pass will get you access to all that SkiArena’s five main ski areas — Gemsstock, Nätschen, Sedrun/Oberalp, Realp, and Valtgeva — have to offer. There are slopes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers. There are also snowshoeing trails, hills for sledding, and day spas with hydrotherapy and hot outdoor pools.
1-Day Pass: n/a
6-Day Pass: n/a
Sweden is another winter destination that isn’t exactly known for its budget options. But one exception is Vemdalen. A four-night stay at the resort can set you back as little as $210 total, and gives you full access to the resort’s three alpine ski zones, dog sledding, horseback riding (yes, in the snow!), and cross-country skiing trails. As an added bonus, the nearby town of Anorak is a great place to grab some Swedish tapas after a long day on the slopes.
1-Day Pass: €48.00 ($52.00)
6-Day Pass: €222.50 ($242.00)
Located, almost literally, in the shadows of the massively popular Kitzbuhel resort, Söll is quiet and affordable, but offers the same great skiing experience for which Austria’s Tirol is so famous. Perfect for families and beginner to intermediate skiers, Söll offers a variety of slopes and some seriously great views. The little town of Söll is a quintessential ski town, too, complete with locally owned restaurants and bakeries famous for their kiachl (a traditional fried dough).
Špindlerův Mlýn Ski Centre
Špindlerův Mlýn, Czech Republic
1-Day Pass: CZK 1,000.00 ($43.00)
6-Day Pass: CZK 5,780.00 ($250.00)
Skiers beginner to advanced in skill level will love Špindlerův Mlýn Ski Centre in the Czech Republic. For families, or those new to skiing, talented instructors are on staff to provide lessons on well-groomed slopes. Meanwhile, more than half of the 20 runs are suitable for advanced skiers. The ski center’s cross-country trails are groomed daily, and offer an additional experience. Visitors to the Špindlerův Mlýn Ski Centre also have access to the Horni Misecky Ski Centre via the cableway.
Val Cenis – Lanslevillard/Lanslebourg/Termignon
1-Day Pass: €39.00 ($43.00)
6-Day Pass: €195.00 ($212.00)
Val Cenis is actually made up of five ski resorts in the Haute Maurienne Vanoise, all of which are affordable options for budget-conscious skiers. Cumulatively, Vel Cenis consists of 125 kilometers of pistes, lots of hotel options, an authentic European ski village experience, and stellar views.
1-Day Pass: €41.00 ($45.00)
6-Day Pass: €216.00 ($234.00)
Andorra’s Vallnord ski resort is made up of three smaller ski areas: Arinsal, Pal, and Ordino-Arcalis. The former two are connected to each other via a gondola. Though Vallnord is smaller than Grandvalira, its 90 total kilometers of trails and terrain leave plenty of room for families and other groups. Head to Pal-Arinsal for pretty views, tree-lined slopes, and an excellent ski school. On the other hand, Ordino-Arcalis is the most Alpine resort in the Pyrenees. It offers 25 pistes, 14 lifts, a 15,000-meter snowboarding park, a slalom stadium, and even a biking circuit.
Vogel Ski Resort
Triglav National Park, Ljubinj, Slovenia
1-Day Pass: €33.00 ($36.00)
6-Day Pass: €153.00 ($166.00)
The small country of Slovenia may be one of the best places in the world for winter sports, but it remains an affordable place to ski. Vogel, located within Triglav National Park and about one hour from Ljubljana, offers a six-day pass that costs about $200. The resort is especially popular among families. It includes a kids’ ski club, modern ski lifts, and a near treeless terrain which offers stunning views of the nearby alpine lake.