TIP 06: Launched in 2012, Alpine Home Swap is a home-sharing network designed specifically for skiers and snowboarders. The catch? You have to own a home in (or close to) a ski resort. The concept is simple: Pay $115 per year for a membership and receive access to over 70 homes at resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand, the United States, and Japan. You can swap as many times as you’d like in a year at no additional cost and you negotiate the terms of the exchange directly with the owner, which means that the swaps don’t have to take place simultaneously. In addition, owners of these homes are an invaluable resource of insider knowledge. Want to drink, ski, and eat like a local? Ask your AHS host.
TIP 07: If the word hostel conjures up images of backpack-clad college coeds running wild around Europe, it shouldn’t. Come winter, hostel life is more sedate, mature, and teeming with ski bums. Switzerland’s Swiss Youth Hostels boasts an extensive network of hostels in many of its most famous ski towns: St. Moritz, Engelberg, Zermatt, Davos, to name just a few. For as low as 33.60 Euros per night (non-member price, which includes breakfast and linens), stay in castles, charming alpine chalets, and some not-so-sexy dormitory-style lodging. For affordable accommodation in Austria and France, try Hostelling International Hostels.
TIP 08: If you’re going to stay at one resort for a long time or if you’re traveling with a group, rent an apartment or chalet. A one-bedroom apartment in central Chamonix starts at about $750 a week and sleeps four people comfortably. Shop locally and cook meals at home, and you’ll save money on food costs, too. Search VRBO, TripAdvisor, and local tourism offices for self-catering apartments and chalets.