1. Bansko, Bulgaria

Bansko is arguably the jewel in the crown of the budget skiing mecca of Eastern Europe. Centred on a pretty medieval town, Bulgaria’s biggest ski resort has 65km of pistes to explore for jittery first-timers and pros alike, with the benefit of a long ski season from December to May.

Of course, the resort earns this place on the page because it’s cheap. A six-day lift ticket costs £125, and a basic lunch for two at Banderiza, or ‘beer barrel’, at the gondola summit, costs little more than a tenner, and that’s including a bottle of red wine.

Not only super-affordable, Bansko is also gloriously uncrowded and boasts a new state-of-the-art lift system. Lower runs travel through the trees, and there’s open bowl skiing at the top, plus slalom runs and a cross country track stretching 5km.

Away from the mountains, the town has many cultural monuments and historic sites to discover, making a trip here much more than just a ski break.

The Pirin National Park, slightly further afield, is a Unesco World Heritage site home to epic limestone mountainscapes, glacial lakes, waterfalls and caves.

Most of the après-ski is provided by 100 traditional taverns called mehanas, each with “greeters” dressed in national costume beckoning tourists to enter. Enjoy food, wine, and live folk music. If that doesn’t float your boat, the clubbing scene rocks, too.


2. Brides-Les-Baines, France

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Just a 25-minute gondola ride from the heart of Meribel, here you can access the amazing skiing of the Three Valleys – without the price tag.

Brides-Les-Baines is a picturesque alpine valley town, directly linked to Europe’s skiing haven, spanning 600km of pisted runs for every level of skier or boarder. Try the budget eatery, the Cactus Café at the Chaudanne, Méribel’s main ski lift area. A six-day lift pass costs £165.


3. Soldeu-El Tarter, Andorra

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Nestled in the heart of the original budget skiing destination, Soldeu could do with a spit and shine, but its local slopes are some of the best in the region.

There’s 186km of pistes to choose from, from beginners to black runs.

Cheap and cheerful restaurants are in surplus (try the famous Fat Albert’s), and lift-pass rates are reasonable, at £190 for a six-day pass.


4. Söll, SkiWelt, Austria

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With more than 250km of pistes, 91 ski lifts and more than 70 mountain restaurants, the SkiWelt area offers the good life to powder lovers.

Head to Söll, seen as a livelier alternative to the other eight Austrian villages. It may be small, with good beginner and lower-intermediate runs, but the après ski isn’t. Try Söll’s famous Whisky Muhle – you can blow away the hangover on the slopes the next day.

A six-day lift pass costs £168, which is not bad at all for these parts.


5. Killington, Vermont, US

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Variety is the spice of skiing in Killington, on the east coast of the US, with runs for every level.

‘The Beast’, accessible via Boston airport, is the largest ski resort in Vermont, with a good snow record, and a series of six wooded peaks to explore, yielding 140 trails.

A six-day lift pass costs about £267, but as most visitors are day-trippers, resorts do good packages for longer stays. Make sure to shop around, and book your flight early.