Ah Switzerland. The land of stunning mountain backdrops, exquisite chocolate, watches that cost as much as a sports car, yodelling and unaffordable ski holidays. Actually, despite having a (rightly deserved) reputation as being a little bit on the pricey side, we think it is possible to enjoy a ski holiday in Switzerland for what is actually a reasonable amount of money.
What is a reasonable amount of money you might ask?
Well. I’ve recently enjoyed two ski trips to Switzerland that were actually a lot more affordable than I would have thought – even giving some French and Austrian resorts a run for their Euros.
Yes, stay tuned, I’m doing the build up and I will share all about how to find cheap ski resorts in Switzerland, and even how to find very affordable ski deals in this stunning country too.
There will be a few affiliate links in here btw. This just means we may earn a commission if you click and buy, at no extra cost to you.
How many ski resorts are there in Switzerland?
Switzerland is currently home to 356 ski resorts, spread across her Alpine valleys. From the Valais in the south, to St Gallen and Uri in the east. Most of the ski resorts in Switzerland spread across the bottom of the country in an an arc up to the eastern regions and the border with Austria and Lichtenstein.
You can reach many of the ski resorts in Switzerland via public transport from Geneva airport (read about transfers from Geneva) or Zurich. The train network is efficient, comfortable and relatively affordable.
Before we list the cheapest ski resorts in Switzerland, a quick caveat. By my reckoning, there are three categories of ski resort in Switzerland.
At the top, you have your premium ski resorts which are the headline acts. I’m talking Verbier, Zermatt, Davos, St Moritz, Andermatt, Saas-Fee and Gstaad.
Next we have our mid tier gems, which you may or may not have heard of but definitely still tick all those snowy boxes. These are the likes of Crans Montana, Les Diablarets, Jungfrau/Grindenwald, Grimentz, Engleberg-Titlis and Anzere.
And then we have the budget ski resorts that are usually pretty small or low altitude, but hey… They’re Switzerland! These are places like Pays St Bernard, Nax-Mont Noble, Arolla/La Forclaz/Evolene, Gershinalp and Hoch-Ybrig.
It’s worth noting that these budget ski resorts are still pretty excellent, even if they are kinda obscure and maybe don’t have the best infrastructure. But that’s the point of this article, right? You’re looking for the cheapest places to ski in Switzerland and there are LOADS.
And one more fun fact for you budget ski gem hunters… (this one might just change your ski or snowboarding life)
How to find cheap ski passes in Switzerland
Swiss ski resorts operate a dynamic lift pass pricing system. What this means is that the price varies depending when you buy, and where you buy. The reason for this is that the Swiss ski resort operators want to encourage people to use their ski areas outside of the popular times (such as weekends and holidays) meaning that sometimes the prices in premium or mid tier ski resorts becomes insanely cheap. Well. Cheaper anyways.
And yes, some of the premium resorts use dynamic lift pricing, including Verbier and Zermatt.
You don’t get dynamic lift pass at the ticket office window though. You have to do it online in advance.
So the trick to finding cheap lift passes in Switzerland is to…
- Find a resort you like the look of.
- Find their lift pass booking form online.
- Browse the prices and find out when they offer the lowest price.
As an example, we have recently returned from Crans-Montana, which falls into the mid-tier ski resort (140 kms of skiable terrain, highest point just under 3000 metres). How much did the lift pass cost us? CHF103 for three days – which worked out as about £88.
Was it any good? Yes. Yes it was.
Read our Crans-Montana review.
This means you can pick up some amazing prices for ski resorts such as Crans Montana, Verbier, Engleberg-Titlis, Saas-Fee and Les Diablarets for prices as low as CHF32 per day.
Thats about £30 each day. To ski in Switzerland!
To get this price I went to the Les Diablarets/Alpes vaudeoise website.
I then chose the multi-day pass (the best discount is on the 7 day pass, so for my workings out, thats what I chose). You then scroll through to find the price on whichever date its on, or book on the date you want to go on.
Et voila. Cheap ski pass in Switzerland!
Which are the cheapest ski resorts in Switzerland?
Based on the dynamic lift pass pricing, the cheapest ski resorts in Switzerland will vary, depending when you want to go and how long for.
But for the sake of creating a list of the cheapest places to ski in Switzerland, these are our top 10 (prices based on 7 day lift passes unless otherwise stated):
1. Les Diablarets/Alpes Vaudoise
The Gryon/Villars and Les Diablarets ski area is easily accessible from Geneva Airport and Lausanne by road and train. And with skiing above 3000 metres on a glacier, this is both one of Switzerland’s most affordable ski resorts and excellent snow sure terrain too.
Prices for Alpes Vaudoise start from CHF32 per day.
2. Crans Montana
With stunning south facing pistes taking in amazing views of the Swiss Alps, plenty of opportunity for freeriding and powder skiing, this family friendly resort is surprisingly affordable (if you book in advance). It’s also very accessible via public transport from Geneva, being in the Valais region close to Verbier and Zermatt. Crans Montana is also great for cross country skiing and even offers night skiing on Fridays!
You can find lift passes in Crans Montana from CHF22 per day.
A network of small and local ski resorts makes up the fantastic Engleberg ski resort, in the shadow of Mount Titlis. You’ll also find traditional villages and lots of family friendly fun, not to mention stunning Alpine vistas and powder skiing.
Find prices from CHF37.50 per day.
Another gem in the Valais region of southern Switzerland, Anzere is a great mid sized resort with ski slopes close to Sion and Sierre. If you’re looking for a place where you’ll probably have the slopes to yourself, this could be your spot for affordable skiing.
Find lift passes from CHF35 per day
5. Val d’Annivers/Grimentz
Despite being a great affordable ski resort in Switzerland, the Val d’Annivers region is still a best kept secret – somehow. The traditional village of Grimentz, Zinal and St Luc are linked together to offer some of the best freeriding and off piste skiing, just a stones throw from Zermatt. And pretty much half the price if you book at the right time.
Prices for Val d’Annivers go as low as from CHF41 per day
This is actually one of the local ski resorts in the Engleberg Titlis ski area. But if you need an affordable ski area, this is a great option.
Prices from CHF27 per day (1 day pass only).
7. Pays St Bernard
Made up of three small ski resorts spread across two valleys, the Pays St Bernard pass allows you to access La Fouly, Champex Lac and Vicheres/Liddes for a low price. You can also enjoy night skiing at Champex Lac once a week!
A fabulous resort for those looking for ski lessons for the kids, or simply wanting to enjoy a beautiful area with an affordable lift pass. There are several great learner areas as well as some excellent runs for intermediates.
Lift passes available from CHF32 per day
This is a ski area with some insane value… The gondola up from the base in Vals is FREE, although you’ll need to pay to access the lifts further up the mountain. So this is definitely one of the most affordable ski resorts in Swirzerland in that respect. Don’t be put off by the 25 kms of pistes… This is a freeriding hot spot with stunning off piste and powder riding to be found throughout the season.
Ride from FREE and access from CHF33 per day (1 day pass only)
10. Robella/Val de Travers
As far as local ski resorts go, this one doesn’t even have a website in English! Mostly suited to beginners and intermediates, the ski area is in a beautiful area and offers fun terrain for kids and families.
Lift passes start from CHF29 for the day, with a great value CHF300 for the season pass.
Part of the 4 Vallees ski network, and just across the valley from Verbier, this is actually a great value lift pass with access to world class powder skiing on a good day. There is plenty of powder and freeride skiing to be found here, so if you want the Verbier experience on the cheap, check out Bruson.
Access Bruson from CHF20 per day
While you might not have heard of half of those ski areas, we think they all look pretty epic for a great day on the snow – and pretty much any of them would be a great snow sure pick anytime between December until March.
*Bruson is part of the 4 Valles area and sits across the valley from Verbier village. In 2023/24 season, they are offering CHF20 day passes on selected Thursdays. Although you don’t get the area of 4 Vallees, you do get incredible freeriding and powder skiing on the right day. Full price day passes are CHF56, but book a week and you can get prices as low as CHF40 per day.
And while the lift passes might be cheap, there is another part of the Swiss ski holiday you need to factor in. And that is, obviously, accommodation.
How much is accommodation in Switzerland?
Finding a cheap place to stay in a Swiss ski resort isn’t actually that tricky. There are usually cheap deals on self-catering apartments. And this is where we think you can keep those costs down too.
Self catering obviously means saving money on dining out (which is very costly in Suisse), and you can enjoy a spot of home apres ski too.
We headed to Crans Montana and stayed in a great apartment right in the centre of town which was a total bargain if I’m honest. Something like £100 per day for 2 people, self catering, close to the lifts and with all ya mod cons and stuff.
We found our place on Booking.com.
But a great site for budget accommodation in Swiss ski resorts is Europe-Mountains. They offer some excellent deals on chalets, hotels and apartments for some absolute bargain prices, so make sure to check them out if you’re looking for a quality place to stay.
If you’re really looking for budget options, then hostels are as cheap as it gets. And they’re also usually well equipped for skiers and snowboarders in Switzerland too. And, as if that wasn’t enough, ski hostels also tend to be fun for the cheap apres ski vibes.
Check out HostelWorld for the best deals on ski hostels in Switzerland.
Why choose Switzerland?
While it might seem like the expensive option, actually Swiss ski resorts offer a lot of benefits for just a little more outlay (or not, as we’ve seen in this guide). Snow conditions are usually pretty reliable in the Swiss Alps, so if you’re looking for a snow sure resort when everywhere else is looking a little thin, Switzerland has lots of options.
Their dynamic lift pass pricing also goes a long way to making the options of skiing in Switzerland much more affordable than you might think. Especially out of peak season.
Accessibility is also a big deal. Many Swiss ski resorts are easily reached by train or bus, meaning no need to spend out on costly transfers. If you’ve ever taken a transfer bus to an Alpine resort, you’ll know that these can really bang the price up considerably.
And Swiss ski resorts tend to be gorgeous authentic villages, rather than some of the built for purpose resorts you might find elsewhere. This makes Switzerland a great option for romantic ski breaks.
How much is food and drink in Switzerland?
Yes, eating and drinking in Switzerland can be pretty expensive. Even in the supermarket. But… You can eat like a king for not that much, if you have access to your own kitchen. Supermarkets like Denner and Aldi offer the best prices, although Coop is not bad also. Migros tends to be the pricier option.
Some prices for supermarket food as of 2023/24:
- Loaf of cheap bread: CHF2
- Bag of raclette potatoes: CHF1.50
- Pack of pasta/spaghetti: CHF1.50-2
- Salad items (tomatoes etc): CHF1-2
- Coffee pods (pack of 20): CHF5-10
- Block of cheese: CHF5-10
- Sausages: CHF3-6
- Steak/chicken: CHF5
- Packet fondue: CHF10
- Bottle of wine: CHF5-as much as you want to pay
- Case of 12 beers: CHF14
- Chocolate bar: CHF2
- Packet of crisps/chips: CHF4
If you want to eat out… And hey, you’re on holiday, it’s not as nuts as you might think. We did enjoy some food and drink out and prices go something like this.
- Pizza: CHF15-25
- Burger and fries: CHF20-30
- Fondue per person: CHF35
- Pint of beer: CHF9
- Hot wine: CHF5-7
- Coffee: CHF4
And so there you have it. Book your cheap Swiss ski holiday and enjoy! Check out our budget ski packages.
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