To ski or not to ski

By | Category: Travel news

For some years the skiing market, as evidenced by UK and Irish bookings, has been in decline. That may be changing. Since both the Post Office and Crystal Ski – one of the largest carriers of skiers both have recent reports available – have recently published reports, do we know what is exactly going on?

We know that prices have risen since last year. So what else is new? We know that a number of resorts have been much more adventurous in pricing and in adding in added-value products. Crystal says that ‘added value’ deals and well-priced self-catering and all inclusive packages are a reason for a rise. The Post Office says that the availability of charter flights is a key pointing out that Italy didn’t do as well as last year because it saw some charter flights withdrawn.

According to Crystal, France and Austria still attract near two-thirds of all those seeking skiing holidays and these tend to have the higher prices. Add in Italy and that accounts for nearly four-fifths!

But cost and time wasted queuing for ski-lifts must be an issue as well. In the Post Office’s study of thirty resorts there was a difference of two and a half times the price between the cheapest, Bansko in Bulgaria and Wengen in Switzerland. But their study leaves out a lot of up-and-coming destinations like those in Turkey, Albania and Romania. Only one area of Slovenia is covered and none of the established areas in Norway and Sweden. And, of course Scotland is omitted because you don’t need foreign currency to travel there.

Neither report really covers the amount of time hanging around on slopes or waiting to be taken there which is a consideration amongst regular skiers. But as the Post Office does point out the availability and quality of snow is also key. Which is why many book at places where sufficient snow is virtually guaranteed or leave it until nearer the time of the holiday.

Leaving those thoughts aside, the Post Office survey doesn’t include the cost of getting to the resort so although Winter Park in the US state of Colorado is some 22% cheaper than last year as is Temblant in Quebec in Canada, the air fares have risen. But even in Europe there have been some price drops and not just due to the slight decline of the euro against sterling.

When it all comes down to it, I think skiers look for decent snow, as much time as possible on the slopes rather than reaching and cost is less of an issue. Especially amongst affecionados. But with them, they want to tick as many different places off their lists as possible.

But two of the highest costs are ski passes and kit hire (if you don’t take your own. If you can get deals on these – and ski school if you want it – then there are bargains out there particularly if you can be flexible.

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