Crystal Ski identifies best value resorts

Crystal Ski identifies best value resorts

Ski resorts in Bulgaria, Andorra and Slovenia have emerged as the cheapest destinations for this winter but holidaymakers face steeper prices in Switzerland.

The slump in sterling against the Swiss franc will lead to higher prices in the country this season, according to the fifth annual Ski Resort Report by Post Office Travel Money produced in conjunction with Crystal Ski.

The report, which investigated costs in eight European and two North American destinations, found Bulgaria to be cheapest for skiers whose main consideration is cost.
 
At a total of £263 for ski equipment, lift passes and ski tuition plus drinks and an evening meal for two, Bansko was more than £100 cheaper than Arinsal in Andorra, the runner up resort and lowest-priced in the eurozone.

Prices were down by over 5% in both Bansko and Arinsal. Slovenia’s emerging Bohinj resort was a close third.
 
Prices have risen by more than a quarter in Switzerland where higher resort charges have been compounded by the plunging pound, now worth 9.1% less than a year ago. 

Although sterling has rallied from a year low in August when it was worth 17.7% less than now, Adelboden in Switzerland was the most expensive resort in Europe (£654.54) and higher-priced than its main rivals in Italy, France and Austria.
 
Livigno in Italy was lowest-priced of the ‘Big Four’ winter sports countries surveyed (£451.42) – 31% cheaper than Switzerland.
 
But the research found wide variations in the prices charged across Europe. An evening meal in Livigno, Italy (£61.32) cost over twice as much as in Formigal, Spain (£30.19) and was even more expensive than in Switzerland (£45.38). 

Apart from this, Adelboden was the highest-priced European ski resort for every item surveyed – most notably for a 50cl carafe of wine, which costs £26.92.
 
Schladming in Austria lost its position as cheapest of the established ‘Big Four’ resorts surveyed to Livigno because of the high cost of ski school tuition. At £159.43 for five/six days’ tuition, Schladming was highest-priced in the eurozone for ski school and 69% more expensive than in Italy.  
 
Trips to Canada and the US remain the most expensive options for skiers – even though prices have fallen over 25% in Banff, Canada. 

A 2.7% weakening of sterling against the US dollar helped make Killington, another new resort surveyed, marginally more expensive than Banff and highest-priced overall.

Crystal Ski managing director Simon Cross said: “With the ski market falling to 911,000 skiers last season, there are fewer ski holidays on offer for the coming winter.

“Demand for peak weeks is strong and half term is heavily booked, although we have added more flights and accommodation to help meet demand.

“Customers can keep their costs down by booking early and pre-booking ski equipment or taking advantage of special incentives like the offer of free lift passes in some French resorts and Switzerland. These have already helped generate bookings for hard-pressed Swiss resorts.”

Head of Post Office Travel Money Sarah Munro said: “With more pressure on the pocket than ever before, resort costs are likely to be a key factor in determining resort choice this year.

“Skiers on a budget have great value resorts to choose from if they head east to Bulgaria and Slovenia or west to Andorra. Italy is also looking good for those skiers who prefer skiing in one of the long-established favourites. However, in these uncertain times it is crucial to plan carefully.”

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