Planning a self-catered ski trip but worried about the workload? Just because self-catering is the cheapest way to ski, doesn’t mean it has to be the most hassle. Get it right and you can enjoy your own space and schedule while keeping the costs down. Here are our tips for the best self-catering ski holiday.
**Updated 24 March 2023**
Ski towns such as Innsbruck, Chamonix, Bourg St Maurice and Serre Chevalier all have over 10,000 permanent residents. All those people have to shop somewhere, meaning bigger, better priced supermarkets. Ask the locals where they shop for an idea of where to go.
These towns also have more choice when it comes to eating out. With options ranging from McDonald’s to Michelin starred you can eat out where your budget allows, and you don’t have to dine in the same place each day (unless you want to).
Avoid the small purpose built resorts as these often only have one small supermarket with sky high prices. Also rule out high altitude or difficult to reach resorts as the extra cost of transporting the supermarkets stock is passed onto the customers.
It’s all well and good planning to go self-catered, but if the cooking facilities consist of a suspect looking microwave with a single hob on top – if you are lucky – then you’ll struggle to have the best self-catering ski holiday. Try to find accommodation with a proper kitchen, at the bare minimum including a fridge and a proper cooker with hob.
There’s nothing worse than arriving in your apartment to find you have to head straight back out again to buy essentials such as toilet roll. For the best self catering ski holiday find out what’s included and bring enough to cover the first day or two. Check for tin openers, toilet rolls, dish cloths and washing up liquid.
After a day on the mountain, nothing beats comfort food – don’t stress over fancy recipes when a plateful of cheese and carbs will do just fine. Meals like pasta, chilli, noodles and curry are easy to throw together with a sauce or packet mix.
Buy baguettes from the local boulangerie (some even deliver them) and make packed lunch. Most resorts have picnic areas where you can eat in some of the most scenic spots on the mountain. Meribel also has the indoor Chaudanne Lounge and Picnic’n Relax room if you want a break from the great outdoors.
For the best self-catering ski holiday you don’t want to cook every nigh. But if you’d rather not pay restaurant prices or can’t leave the apartment due to kids, then check out food delivery services. Companies such as Huski deliver high quality food at reasonable prices straight to your door.
All you have to do is put it in the oven or microwave to heat it up. You pre-order the night before from a huge range of options including everything from Savoyard specialities to Thai and classic British dishes to Indian. They also do breakfasts, kids meals, vegan, dairy free and gluten free. Plus they deliver drinks – including booze.
I tried the Huski service while on a snowboarding holiday in Les Arcs and it was exceptionally good. All the food was very tasty, I’d go as far as saying the Thai and Indian dishes were on a par with takeaway at home. Although you can self cater for less, for the quality of the food the prices are very reasonable – chicken jalfrezi for two is €13. Huski delivers all over the French Alps.
The best self-catering ski holiday are enjoyed as a group. Take turns at cooking – that way everyone has a couple of nights off and mealtimes are fun and sociable. Bulk cooking keeps costs low, and with everyone chipping in on the housework, it feels less of a chore.
Request neighbouring apartments, or go for a self-catered chalet. To avoid the hassle of getting everyone organised, book through a specialist. Not only can you choose between the biggest selection of skiing holidays and share shortlists but you can all pay separately.
With a family or a group of friends driving to the Alps can save you a lot of money on flights. It also helps if going self-catered as you can fill the boot with your favourite food from home. By getting the bulk of shopping done before you’re officially ‘on holiday’ you also keep on top of the budget in your own currency.
To make cooking easy while you’re out there, pre-cook meals and freeze them before you leave. Pop them in a freezer box and they’ll keep cool for the length of the journey and be ready to reheat when you get to resort.
When planning your meals, it is essential to consider a balance of nutritious, energy-dense foods and comforting, easy-to-prepare options to fuel your body after a long day on the slopes. Opt for ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes, and keep in mind that high-protein meals will help with muscle recovery, while carbohydrates will provide the energy you need for skiing.
The pesky baggage allowance limits how much food you can pack, but you can still squeeze in a few essentials. Pack light weight, low volume items such as a mixes that you add water to – most UK supermarkets sell dried falafel, sausage, bolognese and chilli mixes. Also good are flavour packages for fajitas and pasta bake.
Avoid things which could spill easily if your luggage is handled roughly. Make sure you know the rules of what not to pack – your chef’s knife might do a better job than the ones in your apartment, but you don’t want to get caught with it in your hand luggage!
Standard rail passengers are allowed two suitcases, plus a smaller piece of hand luggage. The direct ski trains add free ski or snowboard carriage on top of this. This allows for plenty of space to bring food from home – there isn’t a weight restriction but kitchen knives and utensils are restricted.
If you hire a car from the airport or station then stop at a hypermarket on the way to resort. Moutiers has a big Carrefour you can visit on the way to skiing holidays in Paradiski, Espace Killy and the 3 Valleys. Food is a lot cheaper than in resort, with more choice too.
With wheels on hand throughout the week, you can pop out and stock up whenever you need more supplies. If you have a private transfer, ask your driver whether it’s possible to make a pit stop on the way.
The best self-catering ski holiday isn’t all about cooking… Set aside a night to eat out and sample the local cuisine, whether it’s a tartiflette when you ski in France, schnitzel in Austria, fondue in Switzerland or pasta and pizza in Italy.
If you’d rather eat in, shop locally and recreate a regional favourite. A lot of self-catered accommodation comes with its own fondue set, or you can hire one with cheese and bread from a local deli.
Self-catering is not just for the budget conscious or those with food allergies. It’s a great way to keep the week flexible with the plans in your hands. Follow these tips for the best self-catering ski holiday, and you’ll have a low-costs but fun and hassle free week to your own schedule.
We hope you found these 10 tips to help you have the best self-catering ski holiday useful. When you know what food to take on a self-catering ski holiday you can save money, time and hassle. Let know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to check out our skiing accommodation.