Download images here
The ski market 2014-15 showed strong growth for Crystal Ski Holidays despite below average snowfall and frequent changing snow conditions during the course of the season.1 Last winter, Crystal grew its customer numbers by 7%2 overall, with families and under 35s in particular returning to the mountains in force, showing double digit increases.
Tamsin Todd, managing director Crystal Ski Holidays: “We are delighted that despite all the changeable weather conditions the ski industry had to cope with last winter, we have inspired British skiers and reminded them how fantastic a ski holiday is. Next season we are combining an even wider choice of resorts and direct flights with our expert in-resort service as we aim to make the mountains accessible to everyone looking to enjoy a holiday on the slopes.”
France was once again the most popular ski destination for British skiers and the new direct flights last season from Southampton, Bournemouth and Cardiff provided easier access to the slopes for many skiers. Crystal’s programme to France will grow next winter with the introduction of the resorts of Châtel and Sainte-Foy. Châtel is a family-orientated Savoyard village resort within the superb Portes du Soleil ski area. Skiing is in two distinct areas, one connecting to the Swiss face and the other to Avoriaz and beyond. Sainte-Foy is a quiet ski resort nestled deeply in the Tarentaise valley close to Les Arcs. It has a friendly, authentic village atmosphere and traditional Savoyard architecture. There is rarely a queue to be seen at a chairlift and ski runs are often empty.
Austrian and Italian resorts also remained popular with British skiers last season. The resort of Kronplatz was added to Crystal’s programme last winter and will be joined next winter by Corvara, Colfosco and Arabba in the Dolomites. Corvara and Colfosco, where Alta Badia meets the Sella Ronda ski area, is one of the best locations in the Italian Dolomites for endless slopes. The Alta Badia area has over the recent years built up a gourmet culture, on and off the mountain. Arabba, a low key, peaceful and quiet village on the Sella Ronda offers some of the steepest sections on the circuit and plenty of challenges for the more seasoned skier with heli-skiing and off-piste on the Marmolada glacier.
A new direct flight from Birmingham to Verona next winter as well as an additional flight from Gatwick to Innsbruck will help Crystal’s customers in the midlands and southeast reach the slopes they love from their local airports.
The new resort of La Massana and a new direct flight from Edinburgh contributed to the steady growth of Andorra last winter, which Crystal customers appreciate for its excellent ski schools, great value, high altitude skiing and tax-free shopping.
Canada and the Nordic countries remained popular in 2014-15 for customers seeking a different winter holiday experience and Pyhä in Finland will be added to Crystal’s programme for 2015-16. Pyhä lies at the edge of a national park with a dramatic background of frozen lakes, waterfalls and snow-covered forest. Lifts are open to 7pm offering night skiing for those mile munchers who can’t get enough of the slopes.
Bulgaria also saw an increase in the number of skiers visiting this value for money ski country. Norway, Switzerland and the USA were stable.
Next season, Crystal will add Engelberg in Switzerland and Ruhpolding in Germany. Engelberg offers fabulous off-piste skiing and the revolving Mount Titlis cable car, alongside cosy mountain and gourmet restaurants. Ruhpolding in Bavaria offers skiing alongside a range of other activities like cross-country skiing and driving piste bashers. Novice skiers can ski on the local mountain for free; more advanced skiers will prefer the nearby larger ski area.
To book www.crystalski.co.uk 020 8939 0726
Notes to editors
1 Frequently changing snow conditions during last winter; Source: Weathertoski.co.UK
November: big snowfalls across many south-western parts of the Alps however, below 2000m cover remained thin or non-existent. Early December, most of resorts in the Alps were struggling, especially in the north-western Alps where a number of resorts were unable to open any terrain at all until after Christmas.
On 27 December, on the busiest transfer day of the season, the first big snowfall arrived with 40-60 cm of new snow resulting in unprecedented traffic chaos on the approach roads to the northern French Alps as well as airport closures.
Excellent ski conditions by New Year, however some of the southern resorts were reliant on artificial back-up.
Mid January, the situation vastly improved in the Alps and at the end of month, exceptional conditions in the western French Alps. February was perhaps the best period of the season.
Snow conditions in March were more variable: rain in the lower resorts of the northern Alps at the start of the month followed by a colder, snowier snap before it settled down again for a spell of more spring-like weather.
April started cold with some significant snowfall in Austria, then turning very warm and sunny, before ending with further snowfalls mostly at altitude and in the east.
2 Source: Crystal Ski Holidays own data