For people living in the UK, snow is something of a rarity, and skiing isn’t really a sport you can indulge in unless you don’t mind heading to the dry slopes.

Subsequently, those with the means and a passion for winter sports might want to consider purchasing a holiday home abroad.

Chalets are an excellent option, and these cosy cabins provide their owners with a surprising amount of versatility.


Where are the options with chalets?

Switzerland and France are among the most popular locations for chalets, alongside nations like Austria, Scandinavia, Norway and Sweden.

However, competition for chalets in the famous Swiss market could increase over the next few years in the wake of a law passed in early 2012.

The Weber law limits the number of holiday homes built across Switzerland (including in ski resorts), which has essentially prevented the construction of new chalets and holiday homes.

With few or no new chalets being added to the market, a limited stock means that prices may start creeping up as demand outweighs supply.

While there are a lot of top-class skiing spots and chalets clustered around the Alps, there are also options for those looking further afield.

Mountain ranges in the east and west of Canada are known for their persistent snow and prime skiing conditions, while Japan, Australia and New Zealand also have a lot to offer.


Renting out your chalet

Once you’ve taken the plunge and actually purchased your idyllic mountain lodge, it’s time to decide what you plan to do with the property when you aren’t living in it.

While you’ll probably want to stay in your chalet during the winter, practicing slaloming and moguls during the day while putting your feet up in front of the fire at night, what are you going to do with it for the rest of the year?

While some chalets are located in regions with frequent, long-lasting snowfall, others thaw out during the summer and make activities like skiing impossible.

With that in mind, there’s always the option of renting out the chalet during the off-season. While having your chalet occupied will provide you with a source of income, it’ll have the added benefit of acting as a deterrent to burglars.

Different countries have different practices when it comes to chalet ownership. As a case in point, Roddy Aris of property consultant Knight Frank says;

‘In France, around 80% of alpine buyers rent out their property to cover their regular expenditures’.

Another option for supplementing your income is a hybrid of residence and renting, where you can play host to visitors during the skiing season.

While this does require a good dose of people skills (and potentially some cooking prowess) it can be both rewarding and entertaining.

Chalets can also prove to be a good long-term investment if you happen to pick one up at a good price in an up-and-coming location.


As the skiing season approaches, a cabin on a mountainside might be just what the doctor ordered, so start looking into your chalet options!