Sick of the Alps? Try a different ski or snowboard destination for your snow break - and save money too
Want a change from - or simply can't afford - a ski trip to Klosters, Courchevel or St Moritz this year? heading 'off piste' to a less popular ski resort could give you a different experience, more space to practise your slalom and get you more for your money. Wy not consider...
Why go? Great for families, stunning natural beauty and magical nightsBest resort: Vihti
Finland is great if you want a winter holiday that offers you much more than just skiing. You can try dog sledding and reindeer spotting. Most ski resorts are in Lapland - Father Christmas Country - and reindeer can often be seen wandering about. The country is littered with charming log cabins, and when the sun goes down you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
The skiing in Finland tends to cater for less experienced skiers: mountains are lower, making runs shorter, so good for children getting their first taste of skiing or snowboarding.
Why go? Excellent shopping, food, après ski and great skiingBest resort: Zoldo Alto
Italy compares well in terms of price to France and Switzerland, with the major advantage that while you will be skiing on less famous turf (or snow) you will still be in the Alps with the facilities that come with it.
Italy's Dolomiti and Milky Way regions offer typical alpine runs. Add delicious Italian food and après ski to rival the French, not to mention shopping, and you can't go wrong.
Italian ski resorts focus on skiing and socialising with a stylish laidback atmosphere (it's not unusual to find the slopes empty while Italian skiers enjoy a long sociable lunch stop - that can last the rest of the day). Perfect for couples, singles and groups of adults who want to relax and enjoy a gourmet break.
Why go? Great skiing, facilities and access to the rest of the countryBest resort: Garmisch
The main ski resort in Germany is Garmisch in Bavaria. Situated amongst Germany's highest mountains, and overlooks traditional German fairy castles, this resort lies close to Munich, with its historical attractions, Christmas markets, shopping and restaurants.
Skiers can pop down to the historic city to enjoy a typical German beer after a long day on the slopes, or even take a few days out for a city-ski break. The location also makes it extremely convenient for access to the city's airport.
Garmisch hosted the Winter Olympics in 1936 and is still a World Cup venue, with fast, reliable ski lifts and high quality cross country skiing, as well as night floodlit skiing, toboggan runs, ice galas and an International New Year's ski jumping competition.
Why go? Avoid the crowds for peaceful, relaxing skiingBest resort: Bled
A little known ski destination, Slovenia is a bit of a hidden East European gem. Slovenia is home to a number small resorts, with well groomed slopes perfect for the less experienced skier. The country boasts cosy log cabins perfect for cosy apres-ski.
The stunning lakeside town of Bled is a great gateway to relatively unknown ski resorts, with local skiing based at Straza. Skiing is limited, with just two slopes, but they have snowmaking facilities and are even open at night. One lift pass also allows you to ski in four other areas, which can be reached by free ski bus: Zartnic, Pokljuka, Vogel and Kobla, which have a combined skiable terrain of 88km, served by 22 lifts.
While you're in Slovenia, try and pay a visit to the capital city, Ljubljana with its cobbled streets, boutiques and restaurants.
Why go? Cheap and cheerful for less advanced skiersBest resort: Pamporovo
Bulgaria is ideal for a good value ski or snowboard holiday. Skiing here is an absolute bargain compared with more popular resorts. With its beautiful scenery and friendly locals, Bulgaria is becoming increasingly popular for low-cost skiers.
Beginners and intermediates will find themselves challenged by the narrower ski slopes of the Bulgarian resorts, while junior skiers and snowboarders can have fun weaving through tree-lined runs. Facilities are fairly basic compared with the mega resorts of France but many have undergone modernisation recently.
Planning a budget ski trip? Visit Purple Parking's website for money-saving tips, including a ski baggage fees comparison chart.
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