Kranjska Gora overtakes Bansko for the first time in 10 years to become best value in the new Family Ski Resort Report (www.postoffice.co.uk/familyskiing)
Early snowfall boosts Crystal Ski bookings for Sestriere and Mayrhofen as local price falls help reduce the impact of a weaker pound
French and Swiss resorts struggle to compete with Austria and Italy on price
For the first time in its ten-year history, research for the Post Office Travel Money Family Ski Resort Report has revealed that Kranjska Gora is now the cheapest of 16 ski resorts across Europe – overtaking long-time leader Bansko¹. The Slovenian resort was one of six surveyed where prices in the local currencies have slid downhill to reduce the impact of sterling’s fall in value on families planning ski holidays this winter².
Featuring European resorts recommended as most suitable for family skiing by Crystal Ski Holidays, who conducted the research in partnership with the Post Office, the report compared the cost of six days’ ski and boot hire, lift passes and ski school, together with a sample price for lunch on the slopes and a range of drinks for two adults and two children.
At a total cost of £1,071 for the basket of goods, Kranjska Gora was easily the cheapest resort surveyed. Local euro-based prices have fallen five per cent since last season – in part due to discount offers on equipment hire. This means the weaker pound will have less of an impact than in many other resorts surveyed, where half of those surveyed saw year-on-year rises exceeding 25 per cent.
The low cost of family ski tuition was a key factor in helping Kranjska Gora to overtake Bansko. Its £340 price tag for six sessions was almost £200 lower than in the Bulgarian resort (£530). As a result, while Bansko has remained lowest-priced of the 16 ski resorts for ski/boot hire and lift passes, its barometer basket costs £1,151 – 7.5 per cent more than Kranjska Gora.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four of all UK currency transactions, said: “One of the most important considerations for parents planning ski holidays is likely to be the cost of tuition – particularly for their children. We have been tracking low prices for ski school in Kranjska Gora for some years and in today’s cash-conscious environment the resort is looking unbeatable value.
“But it does depend on what costs you need to factor in for your ski trip and families will be well-advised to do their homework to establish the price that covers all their planned activities before booking. When you have to budget for three, four or more people, the price differences between resorts can really add up and swapping to a cheaper one could save hundreds of pounds.”
Ski school prices are also around 25 per cent lower in third-placed Livigno than in Bansko which has helped the Italian resort (barometer basket: £1,197) to close the overall gap between them to around £46 from £100 last year.
Another Italian resort, Sestriere (£1,288), is catching up on the survey leaders because local prices have dropped 12 per cent since last season – primarily because of reductions in the cost of lift passes and ski school. After the exchange rate was applied, the Post Office found the overall price increase of 6.9 per cent to be the lowest by far across the 16 resorts.
According to Crystal, reports of early snowfall have made Sestriere one of its bestsellers this season and the same applies to Mayrhofen (£1,509). The Austrian resort was another of those surveyed to reveal a fall, albeit small (-2.3 per cent), in local prices.
In sharp contrast, Ellmau, traditionally the cheapest Austrian resort surveyed, has seen a marked increase in ski tuition costs and, along with the stronger euro, this has resulted in a rise of over 38 per cent in its barometer basket (£1,327) since last year.
The French and Swiss resorts surveyed struggled to compete on price with Italian and Austrian ones (excluding Kitzbühel). None of the three French resorts surveyed (Morzine, Serre Chevalier and Les Deux Alpes) made it into the top half of this year’s Family Ski Resort Report league table. Morzine (£1,572) was best placed in 10th position (down from 6th a year ago). And when the weaker exchange rate is added to local rises of between 10-14 per cent in French resorts, it means UK skiers can expect to pay 33-39 per cent more than a year ago.
Switzerland remains most expensive in the survey although the price rises in the two resorts surveyed were lower than in France. This is because local charges are on par with last year in Saas Fee (£2,279) and slightly lower in Wengen (£2,398).
Chris Logan, Crystal Ski Holidays Managing Director, said: “There certainly seems to be a strong appetite for ski holidays this winter and the early snowfall widely reported across Europe has boosted demand. Ski holiday bookings have been strong for the last four weeks and we advise families who want to ski during the Easter ski holiday to book soon as nearly 60 per cent of our packages have been sold already.
“Families who want to keep their costs down can save a lot of money if they take advantage of lower rates on ski passes, equipment and even lessons pre-booked before leaving the UK.”
Skiers can purchase euros over the counter at more than 10,000 Post Office branches. They can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day ‘click and collect’ at almost 3,000 branches as well as next day collection at any branch or for home delivery. Swiss francs and Bulgarian lev are available immediately at over 1,600 branches or for pre-order in over 11,500 Post Office branches or online. A range of travel insurance policies suitable for ski trips are also available at Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
¹ The Post Office Travel Money Family Ski Resort Report was compiled using prices for 16 resorts in Europe suitable for a range of skiing levels, provided by Crystal Ski Holidays (www.crystalski.co.uk), the UK’s leading ski holiday specialist. Costs are based on mid-season pricing and entry level skis and boots. Ski school daily hours vary depending on the resort. Lunch prices are based on two courses (main course and dessert) excluding drinks. A full breakdown of prices is published in the separate Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report tables. All prices are based on the Post Office exchange rates in 2nd December 2016 and are rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.
²Post Office Travel Money found price falls in local currency (before the exchange rate was applied) in six of the 16 European ski resorts surveyed. These were:
Kranjska Gora: -5.0%
La Thuile: -2.0%