January isn't the most cheerful month! So if you'd rather be skiing down the slopes than stuck at home, but your bank balance has been hit by Christmas, we've got something to cheer up your New Year.
Hunt out your skis, salopettes and sunglasses and check out the best bargain ski breaks for under £500 – and that's including flights.
The Perfect 10: Bargain ski for under £500
Plus the apartment complex includes a heated pool, Jacuzzis, saunas, Turkish baths and spa to help you recover after you come back from the slopes. The apartment sleeps up to eight and costs from around £134 per person per week with WakeUpInFrance.co.uk. Keep your costs right down by swapping flights for a ski-drive trip and take advantage of SeaFrance's Any Duration crossings, at £25 each way for a car and up to five passengers (plus as much ski equipment you can fit on a roof rack).
Ski Norway has a special offer of £482 per person, based on six sharing, for a seven night stay departing 3 April, including flights and transfers.
When you're done with the snow, there's an Xbox 360 to keep you entertained as you relax, flatscreen TV, free wifi – one apartment also has an iPod dock. Prices start from £140 per person per week in February and March, based on five sharing, including bed linen, towels and a cleaning service at the end of the week. Transfers from Geneva airport cost from £55 return per person. Easyjet flies from London Gatwick and Luton to Geneva will cost from around £38 return.
Five minutes walk from the main St Michael lift to take you up the nearest mountain, Speiereck-Grosseck, you've got five ski areas in total, all served by the same ski pass, including the Katschberg, Aineck, Fanningberg and Obertauern ski regions.
Prices start from around £1,269 for a 10-person chalet for five nights between January 29 and March 4, and from around £1,185 for a six-person chalet for five nights during the same period. There's no minimum number to rent the chalet, so the cost is divided between the group – as cheap as £127 per person. Prices are around 10% cheaper from March 5.
You can also book on a single night basis, depending on availability, priced from around £23 per person per night, based on 10 sharing.
Flights to Salzburg or Klagenfurt, which are both just over an hour from the resort, cost from £50 per person with Ryanair, German Wings or Air Berlin. Ski passes cost from around £99 for four days. Hire cars cost from around £22 per person, based on four sharing.
DirectLine Skiing offers seven nights half-board for £329 at the four-star Hotel Bor & Edelweiss, Borovets, based on two sharing, departing on February 12.
Slovenia retreats can provide airport transfers and transport to/from the villas for a day of skiing at Kranjska Gora, one day at Tarviso Monet Lussari, and one day at Gerlitzen, from around £24 per person.
There's a special launch offer of around £1,170 per week to hire Villa Planina, sleeping 20 – so around £58.50 per person – or around £1,470 per week for Villa Nebina, sleeping 18, which equals around £81.50 per person. You need a minimum of 12 people to get the offer, so if you can only find 11 friends, it works out at £97.50 or £122.50 per person for the week. For smaller groups, prices start from around £50 per night for both villas, based on a minimum of three nights.
Flights from London Stansted to Ljubljana with Easyjet cost from £22.99 per person, or from £175 from London Gatwick with Adria. Ryanair also flies to Klagenfurt in Austria from around £14 return, which is around an hour's drive.
Pierre & Vacances offers seven nights at the four star Residence Les Terrasses d'Azur in Isola 2000 for around £114 per person from March 12-19, based on four people sharing a one-bedroom apartment. The luxury apartments look out over the Chastillon valley and have good access to the free funicular railway to the ski runs and shops. A six-day adult lift pass costs £118 and Easyjet flies from London Gatwick to Nice from around £53.
Chill out with a two-bed Swiss-style apartment overlooking the valley, from HomeAway, a two minute walk to the ski bus, which runs every 15 minutes in high season connecting you to the ski resorts. There's also parking available. The apartment sleeps four and costs £240 per person per week in February and £208 per person per week in March.
There are no direct flights to the nearest airport, Bern, although Air France does fly via Paris. Easyjet flies to Basel and Zurich, both within a couple of hours' drive of Lauterbrunnen, from around £37 return.
Crystal Holidays offers a week's stay for £475 including flights, transfers and half board departing March 12.
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