How to Save Money on a Family Ski Trip


A skiing trip with children ages 2 and older in tow isn’t a cheap way to holiday, which can seem off-putting. But it doesn’t have to be such a headache. Family ski trips can be tons of fun and create wonderful memories that last a lifetime. And there are quite a few things you can do to make the budget stretch that little bit more…

 1. Home Sweet Home.

There is no place like home! And honestly, who needs mountains when you can ski in your own backyard. Or down the river embankment. So much easier.

Zirl, Garberalm/Thomasegg

HOWEVER: Tirol’s mountains lure with beautiful, stunning and majestic snowcapped scenery and amazing skiable terrain. Skiing is a wonderful skill to learn, and the kids will have loads of fun gliding across the snow.

2. Travel There on Foot.

That’s a great way to cut the cost albeit it might take you weeks to get there. And it’s probably not your offspring’s most favourite way of travelling.

Tobogganing fun #lovetirol ❄️

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A more convenient mode of travelling is getting there by train. As up to four children may ride free with each fare-paying adult you can save money and make memories when you take the kids on a journey they won’t soon forget. Early birds can even save more with some great deals and discounts, such as SparSchiene by Austrian Railways, Sparpreis Ticket by German Railways, and Sparbillet by Swiss Railways. Doing so, you can get to Tirol at a discount rate of Euro 19.00 to 39.00 only. Good to know: In most areas of Tirol, complimentary ski shuttles and public transportation are available so there’s no need for a car.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep in a Tent.

Winter camping can be fun for some, but for most of us, it can also be just plain cold.

Nauders, Tscheyeck, Skicamp

Another budget friendly option for accommodations while you and your family enjoy a winter wonderland is to choose to rent an apartment or private vacation home. You can enjoy all the comforts of home and save money by self-catering. On the other hand, my colleague Mirte found a few reasons why you should give winter camping a try.

4. Book in the Middle of Nowhere.

Choose a resort carefully and look for a remote accommodation that is located in pristine wilderness, far away from villages and ski resorts and only accessible by dirt roads. Ideally in a dull place where there is nothing to do and to see (we can’t think of any right now in Tirol, but, again, give it a try).

Lunch on a mountain hut is a must when skiing in Tirol 🍴🍳😋

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Another surefire way to save money is visiting smaller resorts. The big resorts are great and they know what they are doing, but such a high level of service comes with a price. There are, however, great lesser-known options throughout Tirol lying on the free ski bus route or next to a small ski hill. These resorts often have a more down-home vibe and smaller crowds, which is an ideal way to learn for beginners. They also usually have cheaper lift tickets, equipment rentals and group lesson rates, too.

5. Have Bread & Water.

A great way to save a bit of cash. Who needs butter?

The Tirol Version of Bread and Butter. With Speck. And Parsley.

The Tirol Version of Bread and Butter. With Speck. And Parsley.

Luckily, there are a lot of affordable options out there at village inns and restaurants. Seriously, eating and drinking out are really affordable in Tirol. Or, again, consider staying in apartments, condos and lodges. This type of accommodation gives you the facilities to make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner, which will save you lots of money on meals out.

6. Get Those Wooden Skis Out.

Back in those days of wooden skis with leather straps across our boots, skiing was fun, too, wasn’t it? And who cares that someone was always breaking a leg. Rumour has it, and it’s only rumour, that new wide skis allow easier and safer learning than in years past. So let’s be honest, dust off those rusty skis to keep the costs down without spoiling the fun.

Just rediscovered some handmade powderskis in my cellar. Looking forward to the new winter season ❄️

A post shared by Michael Gams (@smagichim) on

As critical as ski gear is, most of it can be rented. So rather than buying the big equipment, borrow it. Rental shops provide a huge selection of the latest high-quality equipment and you can save up to 50% on kids’ rentals. At selected ski rental shops, children often get free equipment rental. Intersport Rent shops, for example, (which can be found at all Tirol ski resorts), offer a kids-rent-free package for kids 10 and under.

7. Don’t Buy Lift Tickets.

Instead, carry your kids uphill yourself. Another wallet saver, this is a great workout, too!

Watch out for the happy ladies in the rear!

Watch out for the happy ladies in the rear!

Or, look out for ‘kids ski for free’ deals. Many Tirol resorts will allow children under a certain age to ski for free (either all winter long or during special times), so before buying everyone their own ski pass, check there aren’t any deals on beforehand.

8. Don’t Invest in Ski Lessons.

A surefire way to save money and preserve your sanity on your wintertime getaway is to teach your children to ski yourself. After all, offspring of the winter-inclined is born with ski legs. And no, this is not a recipe for family strife and disaster—it makes for a great family bonding experience. Which parent would need some time off to explore the mountain without the entire brood in tow? Tirol’s certified instructors are not all that great, let’s be honest.

The little ones are also having fun skiing, most of the time 😉🎿 #lovetirol

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Seriously speaking, ski school is worth every penny, especially when the kids are young. If the kids get ski lessons from a pro in Tirol, they’ll be so slick on the slopes they’ll make you look bad. Plus on the days they’re in school, you and your wife/husband get an all-day ski date. Just to let you know: Several regions have programs that encourage snow sports with free lessons to support that next generation of ski fans, such as Karwendel Silver Region all winter long and Tirol West, Ötztal Valley, Wipptal Valley and Imst during their Family Weeks (checkout dates in the .pdf below).

9. Choose a Locale by Coincidence!

It’s all the same in Tirol – there are mountains and ski resorts and valleys in between wherever you go… so it doesn’t really make a difference where you go to.

Luftaufnahme der Alpen

Yep, we agree to that! Tirol is beautiful wherever you go. There are a lot of great mountains in Tirol, which means as a ski vacationer you have a lot of choice. And obviously, you can’t go wrong. HOWEVER: Many Tirol resorts love families, and many offer deals to lure them in. Look for Guest Card deals and programs that allow free rides on public transportation and ski buses from hotels to the lifts, free or reduced lift tickets and ski lessons, free use of cross country ski tracks, and admittance to a number of sights and attractions, including indoor swimming pools, horse-drawn sleigh rides, kids activity programs, and many more. In Tirol, a fabulous wintertime family vacation doesn’t have to break the bank, folks :).

Don’t know where to find these cool deals and discounts? Don’t worry, we did the work for you so read on.


Kids Ski Free Programs:


A brave mom to two wild boys, Julia König explores the great outdoors with her family in tow. Ready to attempt new challenges and explore new adventure playgrounds, she provides inspiration, travel tips, and destination reviews for families.

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