Skiers on a budget get more for their money in Europe this season

PREVIEW BRIEFING: POST OFFICE SKI RESORT REPORT

As skiers get ready to hit the slopes this winter there is good news for those planning a trip to Europe.  Post Office® Travel Money reports that sterling has strengthened against all European currencies this year1 which should make both on and off-piste prices cheaper for UK visitors. This positive picture will provide an additional incentive for budget-conscious skiers and comes as leading ski-holiday operator Crystal Ski is reporting increased bookings for some European ski resorts.  Resorts across Europe will be hoping that more cash in hand and a repeat of last December’s heavy snowfall could together help stem the decline in demand for ski holidays identified in successive Crystal Ski Industry Reports

In terms of best value, the lowest-priced resort in Post Office’s annual Ski Resort Reportproduced in conjunction with Crystal Ski is Bansko in Bulgaria, where skiers will find their pounds stretch even further as sterling buys 7.5 per cent more Bulgarian lev than last winter. Meanwhile, skiers travelling to the eurozone will get 6.6 per cent more for their money, and those visiting Swiss resorts will be 4.6 per cent better off – an improvement

on last year when a plunging pound bought 9.1 per cent fewer Swiss francs than in 2010.

In a preview of its annual Ski Resort Report, which is launching in late November in advance of the opening of Europe’s ski resorts, Post Office Travel Money has identified eight resorts where budget-conscious skiers will get the most for their money this season3. The full report featuring resort research conducted by Crystal Ski will investigate costs in 27 ski resorts across Europe and North America, comparing the prices of ski passes, equipment hire and ski school, plus drinks and lunch on the slopes.

SKI RESORT REPORT PREVIEW – Best Budget Options in Europe:  

  • Skiers on a budget will find the lowest prices in Bansko (Bulgaria)
  • Kranjska Gora (Slovenia) offers best value in the eurozone, followed by Ellmau (Austria) and Livigno (Italy)
  • Bansko offers the cheapest ski pass and equipment hire – 25 per cent less than runner-up Kranjska Gora, another Eastern European destination. At the other end of the spectrum Nendaz (Switzerland) is over £220 more expensive
  • Livigno offers the lowest-priced ski school (£75.44) – 49 per cent cheaper than Nendaz
  • A two-course lunch on the slopes will hit skiers harder in Ruka (Finland) and Ellmau – £17.54 and £16.05 respectively – more than double the cost in Bansko (£6.91)
  • Wine (50cl) costs most in Ruka (£10.53) and Nendaz (£12.41) – over triple the price of Ellmau (£3.42) and 4.5 times more than Bansko (£2.30)
  • Beer (25cl) is cheapest in Bansko (£1.15) – 71 per cent cheaper than Soldeu (Andorra) and Ruka (both £3.95)
  • In Livigno (Italy), the benefit of the strong pound is compounded by a three per cent drop in resort costs, bringing prices in nine per cent lower than last year, once the exchange rate has been applied
  • Prices almost on par with 2011 in Bansko (+2.9 per cent).

Andrew Brown, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “Seasoned skiers may have their favourite resorts and stick with them whatever the fluctuation in prices, but bargain-hunters, especially novice or intermediate skiers, are more likely to look for the cheapest deal. In this case there’s no doubting that Eastern European resorts will be a great bet.

“However, while skiing is cheapest in Bulgaria and Slovenia, our research shows that there is good value to be found in long-established favourites, Austria and Italy, providing you choose your resort carefully. And skiers heading to Europe have the added bonus of up to 7.5 per cent more currency for their pounds this year due to the strengthening of sterling.

“In order not to lose the benefit of the stronger sterling, skiers should change holiday cash in advance rather than leaving it until the airport or in resort, where they are likely to get a poor rate. Another good option is to load money onto a pre-paid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card Plus.”

Simon Cross, Managing Director Crystal Ski, said: “Skiers have become ever more value conscious over the past few seasons and in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen an increase of over 20 per cent in bookings for destinations such as Bulgaria, Slovenia and Austria where there is tremendous value for money on offer for the savvy skier.  With strong early booking offers and an expectation of greater value when you get to resort as a result of the relative strength of the pound, it is a good time to get your ski holiday secured for the upcoming season. We’ve also seen strong demand for our all-inclusive and Crystal Ski Plus holidays confirming the desire for good value ski holidays.”

10,000 Post Office branches now offer euros on demand while 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery.

Ends

Notes to editors:

1 What the £ buys in ski resorts: Year on year currency exchange rates table

Currency

% change

2012 v 2011

Rate: Oct 2012

Rate: Oct 2011

Bulgarian lev

+7.5%

2.15

2.00

Euro

+6.6%

1.13

1.06

Swiss franc

+4.6%

1.36

1.30

 

2 Source: Crystal Ski Industry Report 2012 reported that 894,700 UK skiers took a winter sports holiday in 2011/12, a drop of 1.8 per cent over the previous season, compared with a five per cent drop in 2010/11 and 10 per cent drop in 2009/10.


3 Post Office Ski Resort Report: Preview

 

Bulgaria

Bansko

Slovenia

Kranjska Gora

Austria

Ellmau

Italy

Livigno

Andorra

Soldeu

Finland

Ruka

France

Morzine

Switzerland

Nendaz

Ski pass (6 days)

£106.00

£135.96

£179.82

£168.42

£183.33

£139.47

£197.37

£200.00

Ski/boot hire (6 days)

£66.00

£92.11

£50.00

£96.49

£73.68

£93.86

£90.35

£129.20

Ski school (5-6 half days)

£80.00

£78.07

£100.88

£75.44

£120.18

£131.58

£126.32

£147.45

Ski total

£252.00

£306.14

£330.70

£340.35

£377.19

£364.91

£414.04

£476.65

Coffee (large)

£1.01

£1.32

£1.75

£1.32

£1.75

£2.19

£2.63

£2.70

Coke (small)

£1.15

£1.75

£2.19

£2.63

£2.02

£3.51

£2.63

£3.28

Wine (50cl)

£2.30

£5.26

£3.42

£4.39

£4.82

£10.53

£8.77

£12.41

Beer (25cl)

£1.15

£1.75

£2.63

£2.63

£3.95

£3.95

£3.51

£2.92

Lunch on the slopes

£6.91

£8.77

£16.05

£10.53

£12.46

£17.54

£11.40

£10.95

Food/drink total

£12.52

£18.85

£26.04

£21.50

£25.00

£37.72

£28.94

£32.26

TOTAL

£264.52

£324.99

£356.74

£361.85

£402.19

£402.63

£442.98

£508.91

 

Source: Post Office. Data relates to exchange rates on 4 October 2012. Prices provided by Crystal Ski (crystalski.co.uk). Costs are based on mid-season pricing and entry level skis and boots. Ski school daily hours vary depending on the resort. Lunch prices based on two courses (main + dessert) excluding drinks.

 

 

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