Kids ski free deals and price discounts offered by hard-pressed ski resorts in Europe and North America have sent the cost of family skiing sliding downhill – according to the annual Post Office Travel Money Family Ski Resort Report. With sterling holding its 2010 value this year¹ for most ski destinations, resort equipment and living costs have tumbled by between four and 20 per cent compared with two years ago.  The exception was Switzerland, where the strong franc kept prices higher.   

Produced in conjunction with ski holiday operator Crystal Ski, the Post Office Family Ski Resort Report compared prices for ski holiday essentials in 10 resorts across Europe and North America².  Costs for equipment hire, lift passes and ski school, together with meals and drinks were checked in resorts selected for their family suitability.  The Post Office found that many local prices had dropped as a result of 2-for-1 ski rental, free lift passes and added value incentives on food and drink. 

The clearest message emerging is to head east for Bansko in Bulgaria where prices are less likely to break the bank. Rated best value and particularly suitable for novice and intermediate skiers, Bansko’s shopping basket was 17 per cent cheaper than in 2010.  At £817.64 for a family of four, it cost less than half the price in traditional favourites Italy and Switzerland, highest-priced of the European ski destinations.  

Runner up resort, Slovenia’s Kranjska Gora, was cheapest in the eurozone but, at £1,142.11 for skiing and living costs, 28 per cent more expensive than Bansko.

Family ski and boot hire was cheapest in Ellmau in Austria.  At £187.16 this was less

than half the price charged in Les Menuires in France’s Trois Vallées (£385.32).  This

helped push the Austrian resort’s prices down 11 per cent from their 2009 high, making it cheapest of the ‘Big 4’ European ski destinations surveyed (£1,198.61). 

Resort costs in Ellmau were 34.6 per cent lower than in Nendaz in Switzerland (£1,828.96), highest-priced of the ‘Big 4’ where a 9.5 per cent rise in value for the Swiss franc disguises the fact that costs locally are on par with last year. Les Menuires (£1,567.16) and Italy’s Selva (£1,724.30) also registered price falls of five per cent compared with 2009.

Selva suffered from having the highest ski school prices in Europe.  Six days’ tuition cost £722.94 – nearly a third more than in Les Menuires (£552.29) and 75 per cent higher than in Ellmau (£412.84). For families not needing tuition, the Italian resort was cheaper than France for a lift pass and ski equipment.

While more expensive than most of Europe, family skiers considering transatlantic trips to Canada or the USA this year will find that ‘kids ski free’ deals have cut resort costs significantly.  Prices have plunged by over 23 per cent in the family-friendly resort of Fernie, which boasts the greatest number of ski runs (140) in the Canadian Rockies.  Even better, the Post Office survey found that prices have fallen by 31 per cent in the US resort of Winter Park in Colorado.

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “This year’s report revealed welcome news for cash-conscious family skiers.  We found good examples of price cuts in most of the resorts surveyed – especially in North America.  Prices are more competitive than before in the bargain hunter’s resort of Bansko in Bulgaria and Switzerland is working hard to combat the negative impact of the poor exchange rate. 

“However, for families who want to keep a lid on ski costs, the budgeting should start before flying off to their resort.  They should start by changing holiday cash in advance rather than leaving it late and getting a poor rate at the airport.”

Simon Cross, Managing Director of Crystal Ski, said: “Although demand for half term and peak weeks for family travel has been strong this year, the difficult weekend timing of Christmas and the New Year means that there are some great deals to be struck as the season gets underway.”

Skiers can purchase euros over the counter at more than 8,500 Post Office branches. Currencies for other Family Ski Resort Report destinations, including the Swiss franc, Canadian dollar and Bulgarian lev, are available at over 1,600 branches.  An additional 2,600 stock US dollars.  Other currencies can be pre-ordered for collection or home delivery at 11,800 Post Office branches or online at

The Post Office has just been named by the UK public as the ‘Best Foreign Exchange Provider’ for the fifth year running at the prestigious British Travel Awards. It was also voted ‘Best Travel Insurance Provider’ for the sixth consecutive year and a range of winter sports travel insurance policies are on offer at


Notes to Editors:


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



% +/- 2011 v 2010

Nov 2011  £=

Nov 2010 £=


Canadian dollar










US dollar





Bulgarian lev





Swiss franc





Post Office rate on 18 November 2011 compared with 2010


2 Post Office Family Ski Resort Report 2011: total costs of ski prices and basic commodities






Kranjska Gora







Lift pass (6 days)






Ski/boot hire (6 days)






Ski school (5/6 days)






Ski total






Cup of coffee












Wine (50cl carafe)






Beer (25cl)






Lunch for 2 adults + 2 children(excluding drinks)






Cost of living total















Les Menuires








Winter Park

Lift pass (6 days)






Ski/boot hire (6 days)






Ski school (5/6 days)






Ski total






Cup of coffee












Wine (50cl carafe)






Beer (25cl)






Lunch for 2 adults + 2 children(excluding drinks)






Cost of living total















Post Office. Data relates to exchange rates on 18 November 2011.

 Ski resort prices are supplied by Crystal Ski (  Costs are based on mid-season pricing and entry level skis and boots, unless otherwise stated. Ski school daily hours vary dramatically from two-four hours depending on the resort. Family meal prices are based on a typical mid-range pub/restaurant.

Canada lift pass and equipment hire prices include ‘kids ski free’ deals available for the 2011/12 season and the ski school price is based on three full days as no half days are available.

USA equipment hire price is based on superior skis/boots for adults and free equipment for children. The ski school price is based on three full days as no half days are available and also includes lift pass and lunch for the children – the price of two children’s lift passes has been deducted from the price.

All USA and Canada prices include sales tax and gratuity for meals.

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