Having had more than a few ski holidays with the major holiday companies I wanted something cheaper, and the only alternative I could find was to use the big companies to book self-catering accomodation. Then I discovered the French youth hostel website (FUAJ). Cheap accomodation and the most amazing food - and lots of it! One year I couldn't take a whole week off to go boarding so had a long weekend, something that is much harder to organise through the big companies, who tend to deal only in week-long packages.
I speak a little French while the friends I went with don't, but they didn't find it weird being in a hostel where everyone else was French. Yes, you have to organise your own transport but in my experience more and more people are doing this anyway.
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