EXPLAINED: Six money-saving tips for skiing in Switzerland
Skiing — and winter sports in general —are expensive activities in Switzerland, but there are some ways to cut costs.
Even during the best (economy-wise) times, skiing in the Swiss Alps is a pricey undertaking, especially if entire families are hitting the slopes and staying in mountain accommodations.
This season is even more expensive, as many resorts in Switzerland are increasing their prices due to rising energy costs.
Ski passes will cost more during the upcoming season — which usually lasts between November and March at high-altitude areas — to offset the price of electricity used to operate ski lifts.
For instance, the Bernese-Oberland resorts of Adelboden-Lenk, Gstaad, Jungfrau, and Meiringen-Hasliberg, raised their prices by 9.4 percent for adults.
In the Saas-Fee (VS) ski area, tickets increased by 5 percent.
These are just a few examples of the upward trend throughout many resorts in the Swiss Alps.
Does this mean you have to put away your skis this winter?
Not at all.
Yes, you have to be realistic and keep in mind that skiing is never going to be a cheap activity in Switzerland, but there are nevertheless ways to cut at least some of the costs.
The Local asked Daniel Dreier, financial expert at Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer platform, for his money-saving tips.
"Buying your ski passes in advance can slash the cost of skiing at many Swiss resorts by around 10 percent," Dreier told The Local.
Pre-season sales usually run between September and November, so now may be too late to take advantage of this particular tip, but keep it in mind for next season.
Get a ski pass rather than individual tickets
If you expect to ski at least 15 times, a season pass is cheaper than buying individual day passes every time you go skiing.
You can choose to purchase a pass for one resort, or a combo for the whole region.
If you are going to ski for only a week or so (as many foreign tourists do) rather than the whole season, you can purchase your pass for just the time you’ll be skiing.
Choose the right resort
"A few popular ski regions like Jungfrau and Aletsch Arena offer free ski passes for accompanying children on Saturdays," Dreier said.
Also, many don’t charge for accompanying children up to a certain age. «If you have several children, planning your ski trips based on the total cost of passes for your whole family can save you a lot of money,” he pointed out.
Choose the cheapest way to get to the resort
While families with children may find it less expensive to drive to the resort than use public transport, do your math carefully.
That’s because in some cases, public transport will cost less, especially given the current petrol prices, as well as the cost of parking your car at the resort.
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) offer a Snow’n’Rail deal with reductions of up to 20 percent on your ski pass.
"Additional discounts apply if you have a GA Travelcard, Half Fare Travelcard, or Junior Travelcard,” Dreier said.
A good thing about Switzerland is that you can get practically to the top of any mountain with a train and a Postbus.
Find the right accommodation
"If you expect to spend the night at a hotel, check into ones that offer complimentary or discounted ski passes," Dreier said. “Some entire regions offer heavily discounted ski passes to hotel guests."
You can find hotels which offer these ski deals on websites like Bergfex.ch.
You can find good accommodations on certain sites.Image by Riad Kanane from Pixabay
Look for deals online
Whether you are looking for accommodations, unwanted ski passes, or even pre-paid holidays that someone else can’t use, check out ads on websites like Tutti.ch, Anabis.ch and Ricardo.ch.
From time to time, a good deal can be found there.