Winter is coming! For many, that also means it’s time to hit the slopes. We have chosen five resorts perfect for St Andrews students, whether you’re seeking cheap and cheerful or something more luxurious…
An unusual choice and not particularly well known, but great for people who like a well-pisted piste. The resort can be reached by a surprisingly cheap train, either from Salzburg or Munich. This, along with the option of staying in a youth hostel and much cheaper food than in France, makes it perfect for students wanting to ski on a budget.
For those who want Canadian skiing but haven’t got the patience to travel all the way to the west coast, just a couple of hours from Montreal, Tremblant offers tough but fun skiing. Plenty of open piste, moguls and expansive tree runs give variety, with a lot of black and double black runs for those who want to be challenged. Often there are huge dumps of snow, a bonus for those who love powder. Nightlife is guaranteed as a hundred or so gap year students spend the winter there training to be ski instructors, and the bars are very cheap compared to those in Europe, which might slightly make up for the cost of the flight. Be warned though – it’s FREEZING.
Skiing in Slovakia is increasingly attractive for students who want to ski on the cheap. It is particularly good for fun, but not too tough, off-piste skiing, with plenty of powdery runs through trees. However, it is not the place to go for those who love expansive, well-pisted runs. There’s a Tesco, if you’re missing St Andrews, though you can’t use your Club Card. Beer is particularly cheap. Be careful about where you stay, as you want to make sure you can easily access the ski bus, otherwise you might find you’ll be hiking to the resort.
For a more glamorous side to skiing, Courcheval is the place to go. Stock up on designer skiwear at the many boutiques, stop for lunch at the Michelin star restaurants, but make sure you save some money for après-ski, as drinks at the bars cost a small fortune. Courcheval is expensive, however, the quality of the skiing is hard to beat; an extensive network of well-maintained runs across Les Trois Vallées with plenty of options for people of all standards. There can be cheap deals to stay in the lower villages of the resort, such as La Tania, and if you’re happy to eat in and get drunk in your cabin before hitting the nightlife, it can be an affordable trip.
The January break and Easter holidays are not the only opportunities to go skiing – hop on the train from Edinburgh and spend a weekend up in the Cairngorm Mountains near Aviemore. Snow has been particularly good in the past few years, so it’s definitely worth taking advantage of having a ski resort only a few hours away. Stay in the youth hostel, party with the many stags and hens on their last nights of freedom. As for food, who needs raclette when there’s a fish and chip shop?