Snow is falling and so are European resort prices as ski season prepares to get into full swing

  • Italy tipped as value choice: prices in Livigno fall by 10 per cent in Post Office® Ski Resort Report          (www.postoffice.co.uk/skireport2012). Italy’s average resort price is cheapest of the ‘Big Four’ ski countries
  • Prices are again lowest in Eastern Europe led by Bansko in Bulgaria
  • Andorra’s Soldeu is over 18 per cent cheaper for families this year

As December marks the official start of the ski season, European resorts have more reasons to be cheerful than in recent years because snow has already fallen and so have prices in many UK favourites.  While it may be no surprise that Eastern Europe is cheapest for bargain-hunters, falling prices in Italy are this year’s revelation, according to the Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report¹, which features prices for 27 European and North American resorts, researched by the leading ski-holiday operator Crystal Ski.

Visitors to Livigno in the Italian Alps can expect to find the cost of ski passes, equipment hire, ski school, meals and drinks 10 per cent lower than last year².  At £361.85 for ski holiday costs, Livigno was fourth cheapest of 27 resorts in the sixth annual Post Office report, the largest ever compiled, and has the lowest-priced ski school (£75.44 for 5-6 half days) – under half the cost of 14 other resorts surveyed.

In addition to rating all 27 resorts for overall value, this year’s report recommended the best for family skiing, beginners and for skiers considering world-class resorts.  Here too Italy scored well: of 12 world-class resorts surveyed, Italy’s Sestriere (£418.85) and Cervinia (£439.48) were the bargain choices, 42 and 39 per cent cheaper respectively than Zermatt (£725.73), Switzerland. More surprisingly, their low prices earned the two resorts top ten places in the best value chart – Sestriere at no. 7 and Cervinia at no. 8.

What is more, when prices for the five Italian resorts surveyed were compared with those in the three other ‘Big Four’ ski destinations – Austria, France and Switzerland – Italy’s average (£429) was cheapest and over 30 per cent less than Switzerland.

For the sixth year running, Eastern European resorts emerge as cheapest in the report.  Skiers on a budget will find prices lowest in Bansko, Bulgaria (£264.52) followed by Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (£324.56).   However, price is not the only consideration since the Crystal Ski Industry Report 2012 reveals that Bulgaria lost ground last season, dropping from a four per cent to 2.7 per cent market share.  By contrast, France, Austria and Italy together gained four extra per cent, to bring their market share to around 80 per cent.

In the ‘Best for Families’ price comparison, Soldeu, Andorra completes the top three line up behind Bansko (£853.26) and Kranjska Gora (£1,118.42).  At £1,121.14 for a family of four, Soldeu was only marginally more expensive than Kranjska Gora.  Its high rating was boosted by a significant drop in local resort prices, which, when combined with a 5.6 per cent rise in sterling’s value against the euro³, resulted in an overall 18.3 per cent fall in ski holiday costs since last year.

Andrew Brown, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “The stronger pound is having a positive impact on ski resort prices in Europe 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.  Aside from the 18.3 drop in costs Soldeu, skiers are likely to save around 10 per cent in Livigno (Italy), 12 per cent in Nendaz (Switzerland) and 5.5 per cent in Ellmau (Austria).

“Another way to save money is by resort-swapping within countries.  For example, families can shave 28 per cent off their ski costs in Austria by choosing Ellmau over Kaprun and almost 20 per cent in Switzerland by visiting Nendaz rather than Wengen.”

“In order not to lose the benefit of the stronger sterling, change holiday cash in advance to get a good rate rather than leaving it until the airport or in resort.   Another option is to load money onto a pre-paid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card Plus, which is now available in Swiss francs as well as euros.”

In the Best for Beginners category, Bansko was joined by Ellmau (Austria) and Soldeu (Andorra) as the lower priced resorts – all three offering a good range of nursery slopes.

Commenting on ski holidaymakers’ desire for value, Simon Cross, Managing Director Crystal Ski, said:

“Over the last few seasons, we’ve developed excellent relationships with suppliers to deliver great value holidays for British skiers.  Crystal Ski Plus is a great example of this – an inclusive package with flights, transfers, accommodation and ski packs offered at a lower price than any DIY skier can get.

“As a result Crystal Ski Plus packages and destinations offering exceptional value have done extremely well this autumn, confirming that skiers are still price-sensitive and know where to find a good deal. There is also evidence that more favourable holiday dates, combined with a more stable economic environment will lead to a ‘bottoming out’ of the market this winter and hopefully the first signs of a recovery.”

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 The Post Office Ski Resort Report was compiled using prices for 27 resorts in Europe and North America, 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 are based on two courses (main course and dessert) excluding drinks.  A full breakdown of prices and an analysis of this is published in the separate Post Office Ski Resort Report. All prices are based on the Post Office exchange rates on 16 November 2012.

2 Year-on-year comparison of percentage fall or rise in costs for ski resorts surveyed in both 2012 and 2011 (NB: the price rise in Winter Park, USA is accounted for partly by the lack of family promotional offers in 2012 compared with 2011),

Resort

% +/- 2012 vs. 2011

Soldeu, Andorra

-18.3

Nendaz, Switzerland

-12.0

Livigno, Italy

-10.0

Ellmau, Austria

-5.5

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

-3.2

Schladming, Austria

-2.7

Selva, Italy

-2.7

Serre Chevalier, France

-2.5

Bansko, Bulgaria

+2.8

Winter Park, USA

+35.5

Data relates to exchange rates on 16 November 2012 compared with 2011.

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

Currency

% change

2012 v 2011

Rate: Nov 2012

Rate: Nov 2011

Bulgarian lev

+6.9%

2.17

2.03

Euro

+5.6%

1.14

1.08

Swiss franc

+3.8%

1.36

1.31

US dollar

+0.7

1.45

1.44

Canadian dollar

-1.3

1.47

1.49

Data relates to rates on 16 November 2012

Press Release archive

Subscribe to our press feed
  • For press enquiries, e-mail Marion Telsnig: marion.telsnig@tuiski.com
    Tel. 0208 939 5027

    For Crystal logo & imagery requests, please email:
    photos@tuiski.com