Ski / Travel Tips

DIY ski holiday: the pros and cons

Carving up the pistes and admiring breathtaking views – ski holidays are a cherished winter escape for many.

Traditionally, a ski trip involved booking an all-inclusive package with a tour operator, ensuring convenience, albeit at the cost of customisation. However, a new trend has now emerged, with individuals taking charge of their winter adventures through DIY ski holidays.

The allure of a DIY ski holiday lies in the unparalleled freedom it offers. You get to select the perfect resort, handpick your dream chalet and curate a personalised itinerary that suits your preferences. However, for some, a pre-planned package where everything is taken care of is still the better option.

If you’re unsure whether to go it alone or leave it in the hands of a tour operator, then this article is for you. Join us as we explore the pros and cons of DIY ski holidays, to help you decide what approach suits you best…

Benefits of DIY ski holidays

1. Flexibility in choosing travel dates and duration

While some people enjoy a structured holiday, entrusting a third party to organise all the details for them, others may prefer a more adaptable approach where they can call the shots and tailor the holiday to suit their needs.

Generally speaking, planning a DIY ski holiday gives you more flexibility when it comes to the following factors:

  • Choosing your dates;
  • What time to travel and which method you decide to take;
  • In some cases, the duration of your holiday.

However, it is important to note that during peak times, many chalet owners will impose stricter changeover periods.

Start by heading to the OVO Network website and entering your dates to check availability during your chosen time.

A group of young adults pose on the ski slopes in snow
Holiday the way you want! Photo by Laura Corredor

2. Cost savings and budget control

Undoubtedly, the overall cost of your trip will be influenced by various factors, including your choice of accommodation and the activities you decide to partake in.

But when you opt for a DIY ski holiday, you are responsible for planning every aspect yourself. A significant advantage of this approach is that you can save a substantial amount of money, as you are not paying a third party to handle the arrangements on your behalf.

Costs such as flights and transfers differ significantly, however, one of the main savings will be on food and accommodation. This is because when you go self-catered, the cooking and cleaning (apart from changeover cleaning), is largely down to you.

Catered vs. self-catered

To give you an idea of how costs compare between a catered and self-catered chalet, we’ve summarised some information in a table below. The prices are based on an off-peak week in January in Morzine.

Self-catered Catered
Cost per chalet6490€10,404€
Cost per person463€867€
Capacity14 adults12 adults
Distance to slopes750m800m
FacilitiesHot tub, gardenHot tub, sauna

As you can see, there is a significant difference in cost between the two packages.

The prices do not include the following*:

  • Flights: approximately £95/110€ per person;
  • Transfers: starting from roughly £60/69€ per person (return);
  • Ski rental: from £55/63€ per person for a very basic package;
  • Lift pass: from roughly £200/230€ per person, depending on location and duration;
  • Ski lessons: from £170/196€ for six half-day lessons;
  • Spending money: at least £100/115€ per adult.

*prices are rough indications and vary on a number of factors including destination, inflation and supplier.

With a catered chalet, your breakfast and dinner are included in this price for five days of the stay, so that is a cost you won’t have to think about when you get there, although you’ll still need to cater for yourself at lunch and on the two staff days off.

If you’re not too bothered about having a three-course meal each night, you can make a real saving on your food spending. Depending on what you buy and your appetite, you can cook yourself some basic meals on a budget of around 80-100€ per person for the week. Of course, you’ll need to allocate more if you eat out regularly.

Top tip: If you’re travelling by car, do your food shop in a large supermarket further down the mountain. You’ll find more variety and save money compared to smaller shops in resort, which tend to be much more expensive.

A bottle of wine with glasses and French honey sits on a table at a mountain restaurant
Opting for a self-catered package means you have a bigger budget for eating out on the slopes

Find your dream chalet in the Alps


3. You’re in control of your lift pass and ski hire

Booking your own lift pass and ski hire allows you to scout the best deals and get what you want. And booking in advance certainly comes with its benefits. For example, booking online with Skiset can save you up to 50%, plus a further 5% discount for OVO Network guests.

When it comes to lift passes, you have control over when you book them and which supplier to buy from. However, companies will usually price-match the lift pass office, so you can be fairly certain you’re paying a fair amount either way.

Two people sit on a
chairlift with mountains in the background
Make sure to shop around and check prices in advance for lift passes – photo by Jason Blackeye

4. Tailored experiences

When you take charge of planning your own DIY ski holiday, the possibilities for tailored experiences are endless.

One of the most significant advantages is the freedom to handpick ski resorts that perfectly cater to your preferences and skill level. Whether you’re a beginner seeking gentle slopes, a family in search of kid-friendly amenities, or an adrenaline junkie yearning for off-piste challenges, you get to curate an itinerary that aligns precisely with your desires.

Here’s a taste of some different areas and what they offer:

For beginners: The Portes du Soleil

The Portes du Soleil is a welcoming region for skiing novices and beginners alike. This expansive ski area boasts a wide array of gentle slopes and user-friendly ski areas. It’s the ideal playground for those taking their first strides on the snow.

With dedicated beginner zones, expert instructors, and a supportive atmosphere, beginners can confidently progress at their own pace.

A family of three step off a Morzine lift
The Portes du Soleil is perfect for beginners of all ages © Sam Ingles, OT Morzine

Book your first ski holiday in the Portes du Soleil


For a family-friendly holiday: The Aravis

For families seeking an unforgettable ski holiday, the Aravis region in the French Alps is a true gem. With its charming villages, welcoming atmosphere, and family-friendly amenities, it’s the perfect destination for creating cherished memories together.

Both La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand, two prominent ski resorts in the Aravis, proudly hold the “Famille Plus” label. This recognition is awarded to resorts that go the extra mile to ensure families have the best possible experience, from kids’ ski areas to childcare facilities and exciting non-skiing activities.

A family with two young boys look out onto the mountains
La Clusaz is the perfect place for a family ski holiday © Pierre Guilbaud,

Cool for Kids ski chalets in the Aravis


For the thrill-seekers: The Mont Blanc region

The Mont Blanc region, with its stunning views and challenging terrain, is a haven for off-piste thrills.

Renowned for its legendary backcountry opportunities, Chamonix offers a playground of untamed wilderness, beckoning skiers and snowboarders to conquer its steep couloirs and deep powder fields. Meanwhile, neighbouring resorts like Saint Gervais and Combloux also provide a diverse range of slopes.

For those passionate about embracing the mountains’ wild side, this region promises an unforgettable journey of adventure.

Mountaineers climbing Aiguille du Midi
Chamonix offers rugged terrain and a world of thrilling opportunity – photo by Tim Jones on Unsplash

Chalets in the Evasion Mont Blanc


Secluded accommodation

Moreover, venturing off the beaten path offers the chance to explore remote ski destinations, immersing yourself in local culture. From savouring regional delicacies to connecting with the locals, your DIY ski adventure becomes a transformative cultural experience!

5. A wide choice of high-quality accommodation

When you opt for an independent ski holiday, you have the freedom to choose from thousands of top-class properties.

At OVO Network, we pride ourselves on offering an array of exceptional chalets with outstanding facilities. Whether you’re seeking the ultimate relaxation in a hot tub, the soothing warmth of a sauna after a day on the slopes, or the joy of splashing in a pool with family and friends, we have it all. Our partner properties cater to everyone, with kid-friendly amenities ensuring the little ones have as much fun off the slopes as on them.

Moreover, unlike package holidays, DIY ski holidays in self-catered ski chalets don’t restrict you to specific meal times, set menus and dining options. Take advantage of the fantastic kitchen facilities, hire a private chef to take care of things for you, or simply head out and explore the local cuisine! The choice is yours – and the options are plentiful!

Book your chalet with OVO Network


Challenges of DIY ski holidays

1. Time-consuming planning and research

While DIY ski holidays offer unparalleled flexibility and customisation, there are some drawbacks to consider before taking on the planning. One challenge is the added time and effort required for research. From finding the perfect ski resort to comparing chalets that fit your budget and desired amenities, it can be time-consuming.

Additionally, arranging transportation, whether it’s booking flights, renting cars, or organising transfers, adds another layer of logistical complexity. But, despite these challenges, for many avid skiers, the rewards of a tailor-made ski holiday often outweigh the extra effort.

Someone scrolls on a laptop whilst someone points at the screen
Planning your own ski holiday requires time and research – photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

2. Lack of professional guidance

When you book your own ski holiday, keep in mind that professional guidance may not always be readily available.

While Online Travel Agents such as Airbnb offer a vast array of options and the freedom to customise your trip, navigating through the choices without expert advice can be daunting. This is especially true if you’re unfamiliar with the destinations or unsure about specific details. Therefore, those travelling to the Alps for the first time might feel overwhelmed and prefer to leave it to professionals.

3. Potential language and cultural barriers

Additionally, you might encounter language challenges while communicating with accommodation providers, transportation services, or local businesses in foreign destinations.

For example, flight delays, accommodation issues, or equipment problems are not uncommon in travel, and being prepared to handle them independently can make a significant difference in how smoothly your trip unfolds. And unlike organised tour packages – where travel agents or tour operators take charge of such matters – independent travellers must be proactive in finding solutions.

While these barriers shouldn’t deter you from a DIY ski holiday, in some cases, you may need to research and equip yourself with some language tools, travel resources or a contingency plan that can help bridge these gaps.


Overall, there are advantages when it comes to both planning a DIY ski holiday and opting for a package deal. The option is up to you, but if you’re someone who prefers to holiday on your own terms, eat what you like, not be restricted to certain timings and have more independence, then a self-catered, independent ski holiday will be better for you.

Ultimately, with multiple online resources and endless booking options, it’s not that difficult to go it alone! So if you’re confident in your preferences and happy to do a little research, what are you waiting for? Book your winter ski holiday now!

Booking with OVO Network: convenience and flexibility combined

A happy group of friends holding skis and snowboards smile at each other on a ski slope
You don’t have to compromise on convenience on your DIY ski holiday with OVO Network – photo by Gustavo Fring

When you book with OVO Network, you get the best of both worlds. With over 150 self-catered chalets at your fingertips, you can select the ideal accommodation that suits your preferences and requirements.

Our friendly team of bilingual experts is dedicated to assisting you every step of the way, ensuring you find exactly what you’re looking for. From recommending the best property and resort tailored to your needs to addressing any queries you may have about the booking process – we’re here to help.

Once you’ve booked, your dedicated local property manager will be in touch, ensuring that the chalet is meticulously prepared to meet your requirements. Additionally, they can provide assistance with travel arrangements and help organise exciting activities for your group.

Take advantage of round-the-clock support and reap the rewards of a high-quality experience, without having to compromise on flexibility. Plus, with our 24-hour hold feature, you can reserve up to three properties whilst you decide. It’s completely free, no card details are required and no one else can book it in the meantime.

Head to our website to browse our complete range of Alpine properties, and begin planning your hassle-free DIY ski holiday today…

Book your DIY ski holiday in the Alps


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