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There is no denying that skiing is a costly hobby. And this is especially true in Switzerland, one of the most expensive countries in the world. First, you must spend a lot to get your ski equipment. But then, you must pay at each ski station to use their ski lifts. And this is not cheap as well.
However, there are a few things you can do to ski for less in Switzerland. You can already take a look at these deals regardless of the season. These tips can be handy for next season, for instance.
These tips are especially useful if you are a beginner or teaching a beginner. For instance, we could ski for free with Mrs. The Poor Swiss at the beginning.
In this article, we see eight techniques that will help you ski for less in Switzerland. If you know other tips, I would love to hear about them!
1. Learn for free in some stations
One great thing about many Swiss ski stations is that you can use learning slopes for free! These slopes are made for children to learn skiing. They generally have very slow machines to help you up the slope. All the small stations I know with such slopes offer them for free. Most of the time, there are not a lot of people there.
These slopes are perfect if you are a full beginner. That is where we went with Mrs. The poor Swiss on her first days of skiing in February 2019. Depending on how fast you learn, you can probably ski for between one and five days for free with this!
If you do not know if a station offers these slopes for free, you can contact them, and they will tell you! There is no need to pay much money to learn to ski! Ski stations want many people to learn to ski to make them new customers!
2. Young children can ski for free
In all the stations I know, children under six can ski for free! There may be some stations where you have to pay. Just look at stations where children do not pay and go there to ski with your young children!
If you are teaching your kids to ski, you only need to pay a pass for yourself. And since you are teaching, you will not have to go up many lifts. So you can also consider my next advice to pay even less for you!
3. Use points card when you can
Another thing that can help you ski for less is to use a points card instead of a daily card. Most stations offer these cards. You are buying some amount of points. And every time you use the ski lift, a few points are removed. And these cards are generally valid for several days.
Most people completely ignore these cards. But they can be a great cheap option even for multiple days. It is especially true if you are skiing with beginners. When you start, you are not skiing fast, and it takes you longer to go down than to go up. When you spend most of your time on the slopes, these cards can be a nice bargain.
For instance, I and Mrs. The Poor Swiss did a ski weekend using only these cards. We paid 37 CHF each for a 70 points card. After two days, we both still had some points on our cards. We could have gone for three days with our tickets. If we had both taken a two days pass, we would have spent 138 CHF. You can save 64 CHF like this, almost 50%! Points cards are often a bargain when you are slow.
You still need to run some maths to ensure this is worth it. We have also been to some ski stations where the points card was almost a scam. You need to be careful!
4. Compare ski stations
There are a lot of ski stations in Switzerland. There are some famous ones like Zermatt, Gstaad or Glacier 3000. But many beautiful stations are not that famous. There are some stations where you would probably not like to spend several days. But I think that most stations are worth spending one day there. Even small stations are quite lovely for a day or a half-day.
There are huge discrepancies in price. If you want to ski for less, you need to do your research. For instance, here is a list of more than 150 ski stations and the price for a day. One day ranges from 10 CHF to 85 CHF. In that case, the cheapest one has only one ski lift. But it could be enough for a few hours of learning to ski. And if you go for a single day, you do not need 300 kilometers of slopes.
5. Prefer multiple-days cards
If you ski at the same station for several days, you should always take multiple days’ passes. The only exception would be if you can take a points card. All stations offer a nice discount if you take several days directly. There is also the advantage of not having to go to the ticket office daily, which is quite good.
As an example, we can take one of my favorite ski stations, Les Mosses. The daily pass costs 55 CHF. The pass for two days only costs 69 CHF. So if you go a full weekend, you can save 41 CHF by taking a two days pass. For six days, the pass will cost you 184 CHF. It is 146 CHF cheaper than taking six daily passes. It is essential to consider multiple-day cards instead of daily passes.
6. Use seasons pass if you ski a lot
Two kinds of seasons pass if you intend to ski a lot.
The first kind of pass is the station seasons pass. It means you can ski for the entire season at the same station. They can be a good bargain if you intend to ski a lot in the same station. Honestly, these are rarely excellent bargains. You must spend many days in the same station to make it worth it.
For instance, the closest ski station to my home, La Berra, offers a season pass for 450 CHF. Since the daily pass is 39 CHF, you must ski at least 12 days in this station to make it worth it. But this is a tiny station. Even though I have always lived close to this station, I cannot remember a year where I went more than ten times to it. For some bigger stations, it can be worth it. But you need to do your math. And do not forget to compare with multiple days cards if the ski station offers them.
The second kind of season pass is for multiple stations. These passes are valid for unlimited entries in a region of stations. For these passes, you would need to know in advance in which area you will ski to maximize its usage. Here are a few of these passes:
- Snow Pass Valais Unlimited: This pass gives you access to all ski stations of the state of Valais. There are a lot of stations, including the famous Zermatt. However, it is costly at 1850 CHF per adult. You would need to go many days in many stations to make it worth it.
- SuperPass: This pass gives you access to Gstaad ski stations and nearby stations. There are also a lot of stations. But once again, it is costly, at 1170 CHF per adult.
There are other passes like this. These are only examples. However, these passes are costly. If you are an avid skier and you go skiing several times a week, they may be worth it. But for most people, these passes are not worth it.
7. Use The Magic Pass for an awesome season
The Magic Pass has existed since 2017. The idea is to make skiing cheaper. And it is an excellent offer! It gives you access for the entire season to about 50 ski stations!
The maximum price is 899 CHF. But you can get it much cheaper if you buy it early. Generally, it starts at 399 CHF and slowly increases to 899 CHF.
It is also worth noting that this pass is valid in Summer if you want to go hiking and use the lifts.
If you intend to ski a lot in many different stations, this is a good option for you. However, it is only good if you get an early price or ski a lot.
Indeed, if you count a day at an average of 50 CHF, you must go skiing eighteen days a year to make it worth it at full price. I think ordinary people do not ski that many days a year. However, if you get the lowest price, you only need to ski for eight days for it to be worth it!
8. Leverage your travel cards (half-fare, GA)
If you use Swiss public transportation, you may have a travel card. There are two important cards: the half-fare and the GA travel card. In some ski stations, these two cards could give you some discounts.
In the best case, you can get a 50% discount on any of these cards. However, each ski station can do what it wants since they are not part of Swiss public transportation. However, almost all cable cars going into a ski static are half-price with these cards.
You will never get free rides, even with your GA travel card. However, 50% off in some cases is always nice!
As you can see, if you are willing to put in the effort, there are many ways to ski for less in Switzerland. It probably will not come cheap. But it will be affordable for most people.
Learning to ski is almost free in Switzerland. That is if you do not have to pay for a teacher. So many people are skiing in Switzerland, it is not difficult to find a teacher with your friends. Then, you can use learning slopes for free. And when you are ready to move to bigger slopes, you can still use cards point since you will do very few slopes in a day.
Once you are getting faster, the best way to save money is to take multiple-day passes instead of several daily passes. If you are motivated, you can also opt for a season pass. And do not forget about multiple ski station passes.
I hope you can ski for less now with these tips. Skiing is incredible, and the Swiss mountains are gorgeous. It is an awesome experience.
Do you know any other tips to save money on skiing in Switzerland? Did you use some of my tips?
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