If you haven’t already booked your ski holiday for this winter, time’s running out but there are still plenty of bargains to be had on flights and accommodation. It’s always difficult to work out which is the best ski package to go for as there are so many contributory factors; cost of ski hire and ski lift passes; quality of the piste; appropriateness of the slopes to the ability of the skier and the cost of flights and accommodation.
Many people choose to put their own packages together with the popularity of accommodation websites and budget airlines looking to cash in on the ski flight market. Long gone are the days of self-drive to the resorts with the cost of fuel and ferries compared to flight prices.
Surprisingly Zurich Airport is not a top ski holiday airport
If you’re going to arrange your own ski trip, you may want to consider the best airports for the ski resorts first. Many airports claim to serve a country’s ski resorts but in wintry weather do you really want to have to drive two or more hours from the airport to get there?
The biggest five airports for ski travellers in Europe are Geneva, Milan, Turin, Salzburg and Chambery. Flight prices vary for each depending on which budget airlines fly there.
Geneva Airport serves resorts in France and Switzerland and so gives ski travellers the advantage of being able to choose between two countries. The closest resorts are Megeve and Chamonix, both an hour away whilst another thirty minutes on will see you at Chatel, Flaine, Avoriaz and Villars. Geneva is a major hub for easyJet but bmibaby, Flybe and Aer Lingus also fly there. bmibaby are the cheapest airline if you want to take your own skis at £17.99 whilst easyJet come in at £18.50. If you’re driving to your resort, Rhino Car Hire can arrange a ski rack and winter tyres or snow chains for you which can be already fitted when you collect your car from the airport.
Milan has three airports of which two; Malpensa and Linate, are close to the ski resorts. easyJet are the only budget airline to fly to both airports which are equal distances to the main ski resorts. Barzio, Bergamo, Como, Lecco, Pian delle Betulle and San Colombano are all within an hour of Linate Airport whilst Alpe Campo di Rimasco, Como, Bergamo and Pian delle Betulle are within an hour of Malpensa.
There are dozens of ski resorts within an hour of Salzburg making it one of the most popular ski airports during the winter season. The best known are Schladming and St Wolfgang. Many budget airlines offer year round or seasonal flights to Salzburg including Flybe, Ryanair and easyJet. BA also fly to Salzburg as do the major travel companies Thomas Cook, Monarch and Thomson. This means you’re likely to get great prices on your airfare and on this route easyJet are often but not always the cheapest.
Turin is a more popular airport for flights to the Italian ski resorts as it’s close to the Val d’Aosta and the Dolomites. There are several ski resorts within an hour of Turin which hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, including Sestriere, Bardonecchia and Sauze d'Oulx . Courmayeur and Breuil-Cervinia are an extra thirty minutes further on with Courmayeur and Cervinia among the world’s top resorts. easyJet and Ryanair are the two budget operators to the airport and prices between the two are comparable depending on the dates you fly and whether you’re taking your own ski equipment with you.
This is a very small airport but comes alive in a big way in the winter. Ski flights are operated by BA, Flybe, Jet 2 and several of the big holiday charter companies. easyJet and Ryanair don’t have a presence there so flight prices can be a little higher although competition is fierce. Many ski resorts are within ninety minutes of the airport including the world famous resorts of Courchevel, Chamonix and Val d’Isere. There is a ski train that passes through the many ski resorts up the valley but for more convenience you can also collect a hire car from the airport complete with winter tyres or snow chains and ski rack.
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