10 best budget ski holidays
Don’t hang up your skis just yet. Pól Ó Conghaile has tracked down the top pocketfriendly hostels on the slopes, from British Columbia to Bad Gastein
Silver Star SameSun Ski Lodge, Vernon, Canada
Silver Star Mountain Resort claims to be the first custom-built ski hostel on the planet. Vernon is certainly one of Canada's most pic-turesque ski resorts, and any lodgings putting a roof over a skier's head in British Columbia for €20 deserve investigation. The village is located mid-mountain, which means accommodation, bars and shopping are all ski-in, ski-out, and the après-ski is kicking.
The hostel also offers free pancake batter each morning. Add maple syrup and you're all set.
Details: Rates at the Silver Star SameSun Ski Lodge (001 250 545 8933; hostelworld.com) start at €20.40 per night.
The hostel is a one-hour drive from Kelowna Airport.
Hostel 2962, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
We tend to associate the Alps with Austria, France and Switzerland, but Germany has a good ski offering too.
Quickly reached by autobahn from Munich or Memmingen, Hostel 2962 is the only hostel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
A footpath in front of the building leads along the River Partnach to the Olympic Ski Stadium and nearby mountains, and the Zugspitze Railway -- which scales Germany's highest mountain -- is a mere four-minute walk away.
The hostel itself is family owned and comes with an all-you-can-eat breakfast for €5.
Details: Rates at Hostel 2962 (0049 882 195 750; hostelworld.com) start at €20. The hostel is a 90-minute drive from Munich Airport and a one-hour and 45-minute drive from Memmingen Airport.
The Ginger Monkey Hostel, High Tatras, Slovakia
Set up by a couple of backpackers in the Slovakian village of Zdiar, the Ginger Monkey is squirrelled away in one of Europe's hidden skiing gems. The High Tatras punch above their weight with cross-country, night skiing and a lively social scene. Guests can chill out in a lounge overlooking the mountains or, if you tire of all the snow activities, you're welcome to walk the dog.
Details: Rates at the Ginger Monkey (00421 524 498 084; hostelworld.com) start at €13 per night. It is 100km from Krakow Airport, or 35km from Poprad (serviced by Danube Wings from Dublin).
Euro Youth Hotel & Krone, Bad Gastein, Austria
Don't let the name confuse you -- Euro Youth is a hotel and hostel in one, offering singles, doubles, triples and quads as private rooms. Set just metres from the train station, guests are also in line for free breakfast, Wi-Fi and heated ski storage. Bad Gastein itself is a historic spa town in the midst of the Hohe Tauern National Park, 1,000m in altitude and blending Belle époque buildings with an enviable Alpine landscape. It's chocolate-box Austria, locating skiers at the nose of the Gastein Valley.
Details: Rates at the Euro Youth Hotel & Krone (0043 643 423 300; hostelworld.com) start at €20 per night. The hostel is about an hour from Salzburg by train.
Tärnaby B&B, Lapland, Sweden
Ski muscles in need of soothing? We can think of worse things than haring into an outdoor 'barrel' sauna. Steaming away, with Lapland sparkling white outside the window, is certainly one reason to entice you towards the Arctic Circle this season.
The B&B is a cosy affair run by an Australian and Swedish couple and the resort itself is legendary, home as it is to several Alpine skiing heroes including 'superwoman' Anja Paerson, who won bronze in Vancouver recently despite a spectacular crash.
Details: Rates at Tärnaby B&B (0046 9541 0700; hostelworld. com) start at €17.85 per night. Get there by flying to Stockholm Arlanda and connecting to Hemavan-Tärnaby Airport.
The Treehouse, Grünau im Almtal, Austria
The Treehouse may be surrounded by Austria's Totes Gebirge (Dead Mountains), but the hostel itself is full of life. It's just a short walk from the nearest ski lifts too, and perks include private showers and ski clothing provided for free.
Grünau im Almtal itself can be filed under 'off-the-beaten track'. Its 40km of downhill skiing (with 19 different pistes favouring intermediate skiers) sweep down to a village based around a lovely old church, and a world away from more crowded Alpine resorts.
Details: Rates at the Treehouse (0043 7616 8499; hostelworld. com) start at €19 per night. Salzburg Airport is approximately an hour-and-a-half drive (98.6km) away.
Youth Hostel St Moritz, Switzerland
Kate Moss, Liz Hurley and the Shah of Iran are among those known to shack up in St Moritz of a winter, but who knew you could join them for €26 a night?
This hostel lies at the edge of the forest and offers rooms with two and four beds, but that's incidental really.
The real selling point is that it plonks you in the most famous of all Swiss resorts (St Moritz boasts 200 miles of piste spread over nine mountains) at bargain-basement prices.
The sun shines nearly all year round, and the snow record is first class.
Details: Rates at Youth Hostel St Moritz (0041 818 333 969; hostel world.com) start at €26.49 per night.
The hostel is three hours by train or two-and-a-half hours by car from Zurich Airport.
Lillehammer Hostel, Lillehammer, Norway
Host to the 1994 winter Olympics, Lillehammer offers skiers a complete, and often underrated, package.
As well as regular slopes, there's off-piste skiing, hundreds of miles of Olympic cross-country trails and a genuine Olympic-style bob sled that reaches speeds of 120km/h.
The bustling town of Lillehammer is only 100m from the hostel's door (all rooms have en- suite facilities, TV and Wi-Fi), with most sights within walking distance. It's based in the train station too, so transfers are pain-free.
Details: Rates at Lillehammer Hostel (0047 6126 0024; hostel world.com) start at €37.89 per night.
The hostel is 145km from Oslo Airport, a journey that takes 90 minutes by train.
K’s House, Hakuba Alps, Japan
A year after K’s House opened, Hostelworld customers voted it the best hostel in Asia.
The plaudits come on the back of a modern build; a cosy, clean and friendly escape for travellers in Japan’s Nagano prefecture.
Add-ons include a Japanese-style tatami lounge with bigscreen TV and free movies — the bees’ knees after a long day on the ski fields of Hakuba.
But it’s not just a winter destination. The Hakuba Alps are also renowned for hiking in summer, a beautiful autumn foliage, and year-round hot springs.
Details: Rates at K's House (0081 261 754 445; hostelworld.com) start at €25 per night. The hostel is three-and-a-half hours from Tokyo Narita Airport, or two-and-a-half hours from Matsumoto Airport.
Randolins, Engadin Mountains, Switzerland
Situated on the Suvretta hillside at the heart of Switzerland's Engadin Mountains, Randolins is another hostel fitting both the summer (hiking) and winter (skiing) bill. The complex of guesthouses here includes two to eight-bed rooms, all interspersed with recreation barns, foosball tables and ski and bike rooms. The complex is fitted out with Wi-Fi, and prices include breakfast, bedclothes, towels and taxes. The hostel, attached to a three-star hotel, also boasts its own wellness oasis.
Details: Rates at Randolins (0041 818 308 383; hostelworld.com) start at €32pn. The hostel is four hours from Zurich Airport.