Are ski holiday's getting cheaper in the Alps?
An annual number crunching exercise that looks at the costs of a ski holiday at a select basket of ski resorts across Europe and North America has found that prices have actually dropped for Brits at some ski centres.
The annual Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report, which has now been running for 11 seasons, uses numbers supplied by Crystal Ski Holidays on in resort costs and covers everything from lift pass, ski school and ski rental costs to the price of meals and drinks bought in resort.
In the past the study has thrown out some unlikely-seeming big price swings from one season to the next, but this season changes are more modest. Interestingly price movements are largely in the right direction as far as skiers are concerned, with prices down a little in three-quarters of the 22 European resorts surveyed. In most cases it’s just a few percent, but in two the drop is in to double digits.
How? Well a key factor is that (at the time the figures were compiled at least) the pound was performing a little better than a year ago against the Euro, and quite a lot better against the Swiss Franc.
However it seems actual prices in some resorts are also being squeezed, with some lift pass prices, ski rental fees and to a lesser extent even ski teaching costs dropping, at least at certain times of the season,
“The biggest cuts we’re seeing locally are all in France, comparing 16-17 with 17-18 and it really is a mixed bag,” said a Crystal spokesperson, “For example a Morzine lift pass was €197 last year but is €159 this in certain weeks so a 20% discount. Equipment rental is also down (from €138 last season to €101 this winter. There was a change in tuition prices too but only a couple of Euros.”
Crystal found it was a similar picture at Les Deux Alpes (lift pass down from €245 to €212 (“In certain weeks”), rentals down from €112 to just under €98 and tuition down €6.
Overall the Post Office report found the biggest price falls in France, but smaller drops to in Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland.
Besides Morzine (-12.6%) and Les Deux Alpes (-10.7%) some of the biggest falls noted were at Serre Chevalier (-9.1%) and Val d’Isère (-7.4%).
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which compiles the report to help publicise the Post Office’s in-branch and online currency exchange service, commented, “With increasing pressure on the pocket, resort costs will be a key factor in determining where to ski this year. Prices are down in most resorts but the best savings to be struck are where the improved exchange rate combines with falling local prices.”
Outside of France the biggest price drop was -5.8% at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia which the Post Office Ski Resort Report now reckons in the cheapest destination in Europe for skiers of the resorts in studies, calculation a week of in resort costs there at £325.47.
Prices in Bansko, Bulgaria, once regarded as the cheapest mainstream European ski destination were down -2.5% but were still just over £26 more than the Slovenian resort and in fact the study place Italy’s Bardonecchia second cheapest at £347.12
At the other end of the price scale the report’s authors note that the USA is moving further away from Canada and indeed the rest of the Western World in terms of the expense of ski holidays there.
The three US resorts included, all owned by Vail Resorts, one of the world’s most successful ski resort operators, came in at costing between £1,418.11 and £1,430.61 for a week’s skiing at either Breckenridge, Park City, or Vail itself. More than four times the cost than a week in one of the three cheapest resorts in Europe. They also came in at more than 40% more expensive than the priciest week in Canada, at £966.67 for a week in Tremblant, Quebec.
“It is great news that prices faced by skiers will be lower than last year in so many resorts. France and Italy are already in hot demand this season and we expect this to strengthen when savvy skiers check out prices and find they can pay less if they pick resorts like Morzine or Sestriere, where both prices and snow are likely to be falling!” commented Crystal Ski Holidays’ Managing Director Chris Logan.