Post Office Travel has revealed that Bulgarian ski resort Bansko is still the cheapest around, ideal for families looking to cut the cost of their ski break this winter. Its Ski Resort Report shows that prices for ski equipment, lift passes, ski school, meals and drinks are £872 for a family of four - four per cent less than last year and £38 cheaper than runner-up ski resort Kranjska Gora in Slovenia. Low-cost airlines easyJet and Wizzair fly to Sofia from the UK and there is plenty of affordable accommodation available. AlphaHolidayLettings.com has a selection of chalets and apartments in Bansko, including luxury apartments with full hotel facilities from just £99 per person per week.
With great weather and snow conditions, Kranjska Gora is a top resort for a ski holiday and offers a fantastic base to explore the Julian Alps. On top of that, it's cheap! Post Office has revealed the Slovenian resort offers the best value in the eurozone and is closing the gap on Bansko, due mainly to low ski school prices (£72 for 5-6 half days). Ski resort costs are an average of £299 per person, making it the cheapest place in Europe for skiers needing tuition. Balkan Holidays offers seven-night half-board ski holidays in Kranjska Gora with return flights and four-star accommodation from £514 per person.
Of the Big Four (Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy), family-friendly Ellmau in Austria offers the best value skiing for a family of four, with an average price of £984. Located in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol, the attractive village combines fantastic skiing options, beautiful scenery and excellent value. Prices start from as little as €5 (£4) for a hearty Gulasch Soup and you can expect to pay about €3 (£2.40) for a half litre of beer. The SkiWelt links eight resorts and boasts 280km of pistes – the largest linked ski area in Austria – all available to explore on one lift pass, from £124 per person or £373 for a family of four for six days. Inghams offers seven nights' half-board accommodation at Alte Post from £589 per person, including return flights from Gatwick to Salzburg and resort transfers.
With its tax-free status, Italy's Livigno is a superb option for snow sports tourists in search of excellent value. The friendly ski resort is nestled between two easily accessible mountain faces with a charming town. Ski resort costs for the 2014/15 ski season are just £321 per person. Or even cheaper with the free ski pass being offered to visitors when they book four or more nights in selected apartments and hotels between 29 November and 19 December 2014 or from 11 April to 3 May 2015. As over 80 per cent of Livigno's slopes can confirm coverage from their snow-making system, it's also a risk-free option for early and late season visits, meaning you can also save on flights by avoiding peak travel dates.
Cheap flights from London Stansted to Carcassonne with Ryanair put Soldeu on the budget skier's map. Post Office has revealed that the most dramatic fall in resort prices this year is in Andorra, which has seen a 23 per cent drop from last year with resort costs for one person at £331. What's more, Andorra is well-known for its duty-free status which helps when it comes to après-ski fun. There's no shortage of bars, restaurants and hotels, and drinks are served by the amount you want, not in uniform measures. The village of El Tarter is home to one of Europe's most respected ski schools so if you're serious about skiing and want to be taught by the best instructors without the price tag, Soldeu is the resort for you. A week at the Bellavista Apartments costs from £340 per person with Neilson, including return flights, resort transfers and self-catering accommodation (based on 4 January 2015 departure).
Finland’s top ski resort Ruka is surrounded by stunning wilderness and offers a variety of trails, adventure slopes and quieter slopes ideal for alpine skiers. The gentle slopes are popular for beginners and families, with Ruka’s ski school offering private tuition and English speaking instructors. Ski passes are considerably cheaper than in the French or Swiss Alps: a six-day ski pass costs from £435 for a family of four, while in Saas Fee you're looking at £715. Packages are incredibly cheap too. A seven night-stay with Crystal Ski at Ruka Suites in Finland costs from £159 per person including return flights and self-catering accommodation (price based on family of four).
Italian resort Sestriere has been named the biggest bargain among 10 world-class resorts, including Vail, St Anton, Val d'Isere and Whistler by Post Office Travel. Ski and living costs in Sestriere (£353 per person) are virtually half those in Zermatt (£686), making it a grand choice for families too at £1,321 for four people. The 2006 host of the Winter Olympics is renowned for great snow conditions, its quiet village scene and spectacular mountain views. Crystal Ski offers seven-night holidays in Sestriere from £175 per person (based on four sharing), departing 18 January from Gatwick and including self-catering accommodation at the Olympic Village Apartments.
France might not be the first place to look for a cheap ski holiday but the resort of Morzine is offering great value this winter season with the strong pound against the euro making resort costs eight per cent cheaper than last year and just £365 per person or £1,304 for a family of four. The well-established resort boasts village charm and is a wonderful choice for families. This winter sees the opening of Rude Chalets' The Rude Lodge, a hostel-style lodge in a funky young style with en-suite rooms from £28 per person per night.
Bargain hunters heading across the pond on a transatlantic ski holiday will find Eastern Canada’s Tremblant one of the cheapest resorts in North America. Tremblant has seen a nine per cent price fall in resort costs since last year – mostly the result of a weaker Canadian dollar. A ski pass for six days, ski/boot hire, ski school, coffee, wine, beer and lunch on the slopes costs an average of £565 per person, compared to £750 spent in American resort Vail. Virgin Holidays offers seven nights in Tremblant from £819 per person including flights from Heathrow to Montreal, B&B accommodation at Le Kandahar and car hire (based on 18 March 2015 departure).
Pretty resort Selva Val Gardena lies at the heart of the world's largest ski area, the Dolomiti Superski, which is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts no fewer than 460 lifts and 1220km of piste, offering endless opportunities all on one area lift pass. As one of the cheapest places to ski in Italy, Selva Val Gardena's resort costs are just £408 per person, according to Post Office. Thomson Ski offers a seven-night half-board stay at Hotel Pineta from £515 per person, based on a 21 March 2015 departure from Gatwick. Thomson is also offering free lift passes for children under seven this season.