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I have to admit. I was a late bloomer when it comes to skiing. Actually snowboarding as I never tried skiing. It’s on my list to do for this year though. Despite the fact I’m from Poland, where winters are perfect for this sort of sport I did not start snowboarding until I met Chris. He is like a snow bunny. He just loves it so every year now, around January time we go snowboarding. After trying a few different places over the last few years, here is my guide to top 3 snowboarding destinations on a budget. They are also perfect for beginners as by no means am I good at snowboarding 😉
Top 3 snowboarding destinations on a budget – Bulgaria
Bulgaria was my first ever snowboarding holiday destination. Mostly because of the price and the fact that Chris enjoys going there. We booked our package through Crystal Ski which is part of TUI. Buying a package is a great idea if you are only starting as everything is included. From your lift passes, equipment, lessons and accommodation. I will recommend that you go for a half board package (breakfast & dinner) as you do not want to to be going back to your hotel for lunch. Sometimes selected hotels offer you to have your lunch at one of the restaurants on the slopes but you will need to check this.
Bulgaria is perfect as a snowboarding destination on a budget as everything there is relatively cheap. You will not go bankrupt by having lunch on the slopes or having a drink at the apres ski bar.
The slopes in Bulgaria are also quite easy which is great if you are only just starting. I had a few lessons with an instructor as part of a group. I managed to pick up a few bits in only 3 days and I was fairly independent on my last two days. The only problem was, my instructor had very limited English. It was her first season teaching season as well.
We stayed in the hotel Snezhanka in Pamporovo. Located in Rhodopi mountains. The hotel is 3* accommodation. It was pretty basic but then we didn’t mind that as the only time we are in the room was to get changed and to go to sleep. Our room was on the top floor which meant we had an amazing view from the balcony. The food at the restaurant was nice. We also got a glass of wine with our dinner. Downstairs, there was a lobby with a bar and a huge fireplace. It was lovely sitting there in the evening having a drink and just relax after an intense day of exercising. We also had a sauna and swimming pool we could use at an additional charge and a small beauty room. All very cheap if compared to UK prices. The only disadvantage was how long the transfer was from the airport to the hotel. Over 4 hours on a coach wasn’t ideal but it was worth it in the end
Top 3 snowboarding destinations on a budget – Andorra
Andorra is just AMAZING! My all-time favourite snowboarding destination on a budget. Again, we booked to go away in January. This seems to be the best time to go from the cost perspective but also to have guaranteed snow. We stayed in resort Arinsal. Small village not far from La Massana. As there is no commercial airport in Andorra, we had to fly to Toulouse airport in France and go on rather long transfer. But it was worth it every minute. Andorra is beautiful and has many routes to explore for any skill level. There were lifts from almost every hotel, that will take you to the top which means you don’t have to take a bus transfer to the bottom of the mountain like we had to do in Bulgaria. The other good thing about Arinsal is that when you get to the top, you can get a gondola to the other side of the mountain and spend the day exploring new routes. Your ski pass from Arinsal will work there with no problems.
Andorra has an amazing apres ski bars and restaurants and they are super cheap as everything is tax-free. The portion sizes are enormous and to be honest I was always full just after having a starter. If you are looking for an amazing place to eat, I can highly recommend Pampa Steakhouse. Their steaks are enormous and so so yummy. The atmosphere is also very friendly and welcoming.
We stayed in the Hotel Patagonia. This was fairly large 3* hotel with beautiful lobby and cosy rooms. The breakfast was amazing with a wide selection of continental and cooked products. Right outside of the hotel we had the equipment hire shop and a lift that took us right to the top of the mountain. The hotel is located right at the top of the of Arinsal so be prepared that if you decide to go out for dinner, you will need to climb back up the hill on your way back 😉 but on the other hand, the view from the balcony is absolutely breathtaking.
Top 3 snowboarding destinations on a budget – Poland
This is what is weird to me. When you say Poland to someone, the first thing they think is cold. But if you say “snowboarding destination” Poland never gets mentioned. Poland is an amazing idea if you are looking for a snowboarding destination on a budget. With most of the southern polish borders being mountains, you really are spoiled for choice. For the past few years, this is where we are ending up spending our winter holidays. As we have an apartment in Poland is easier for us to stay there and then drive to the slopes than it would be to stay in one of the resorts. We normally go to a place called Zieleniec, which is located very close to the Czech border and only 2 hours drive from our flat. Chris absolutely loves going there and he is normally checking the weather forecast in November lol
Poland is probably one of the cheapest destinations if you want to go somewhere cool but don’t have that much money. Plus, the flight to Poland can cost you less than a £100 return if bought a few months in advance.
Zieleniec has many routes for every difficulty level. The best time to go is during the week as on the weekend it can get quite busy with the locals and the wait at the lifts can be quite long. The other good thing is, that you can buy your lift pass only for a day or even a few hours, where in most resorts you will need to cough up for a minimum of 3 days. The other good thing is that if you decide that skiing or snowboarding is not for you, you will find that Zieleniec has still plenty to offer. There are lots of routes you can take if you want to go for a walk or you can go sledging on a Bambi slope
As we never actually stayed in any of the hotels in Zieleniec, I can’t actually recommend anything specific but here you will find a selection of few good ones 😊
Do you go on winter holidays?