Ski Resort Report 2015

  • prices in Europe continue to fall

 

Prices have plunged in three-quarters of the 27 ski resorts surveyed in Europe and North America for the ninth annual Post Office Ski Resort Report – compounding the positive impact of last season’s fall in costs for UK skiers.

The value of sterling is a key factor in the changing fortunes of the ski resorts surveyed for this year’s Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report, compiled from research by leading tour operator Crystal Ski Holidays. Resort prices are down in Austria, France, Italy, Eastern Europe and Canada because of the powerful pound but have risen in the USA, where the dollar has dominated sterling all year and remains stronger than last winter. The exception to the currency rule is Soldeu (Andorra), which last year registered the biggest price fall of over 20 per cent. This season prices are up by almost four per cent, despite the weaker euro. In Switzerland it is the rise in local prices – albeit only two-three per cent – that will continue to make Swiss resorts less economical than their European competitors.

Against a backdrop of strong growth reported by Crystal last winter, the Ski Resort Report previews costs in 21 European and six North American resorts. In addition to spotlighting the resorts rated best value in those two regions, the report assesses costs for families and those looking for world-class skiing facilities.

In Europe, Bansko (Bulgaria) is again the cheapest resort but others are closing the gap. Ski passes and equipment, ski school, meals and drinks in Kranjska Gora (Slovenia), now cost only £5 more than in Bansko (see figure 1), while a price fall of 11 per cent in third-placed Livigno has enabled the Italian resort to overtake Ellmau (Austria) and move to within £27 of the leader.

Elsewhere in Europe, there have been falls of nine to 13 per cent in the barometer costs for the French, Italian and Finnish resorts that make up the remainder of the best value top 10. Family costs too are going downhill – with lower costs to be expected in the majority of resorts suitable for both adult and child skiers.

Among 10 world-class resorts surveyed (see page 6), Sestriere and Selva Val Gardena remain best value but prices have risen in both Zermatt and Wengen, making the two Swiss resorts significantly more expensive than their competitors in France, Austria and Italy.

In North America, the sterling impact has polarised prices (see page 5). The Canadian resort of Tremblant remains the cheapest of six resorts surveyed but Banff and Whistler have also registered price falls, making them cheaper than Winter Park, Breckenridge and Vail in the USA.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said:

“Skiers heading to many resorts in Europe and in Canada too will benefit from sterling’s increased strength. This means that even where local prices have edged up, UK tourists will find the cost of skiing as well as meals and drinks noticeably cheaper this winter."

“While skiing remains cheapest in Bulgaria and Slovenia, our research reveals that long-established favourites in France, Austria and Italy are great value too. Livigno is a great bet for both solo skiers and families as are Morzine and Ellmau. However, bargain-hunters should exercise caution when considering Swiss resorts as sterling has not strengthened enough to counteract the effect of rising local prices.”

Figure 1: Post Office Travel Money European Ski Resort Report Barometer 2015

Pricing survey covering a six-day ski pass and ski/boot hire for one person together with ski school (five-six half days) and the cost of lunch on the slopes plus drinks including coffee, Coca-Cola, wine and beer.

       
1 Bansko Bulgaria £259.34
2 Kranjska Gora Slovenia £264.13
3 Livigno Italy £286.29
4 Ellmau Austria £306.38
5 Sestriere Italy £322.04
6 Morzine France £333.02
7 Ruka Finland £334.01
8 Soldeu Andorra £343.84
9 Les Deux Alpes France £363.69
10 Serre Chevalier France £367.45
11 Selva Val Gardena Italy £374.59
12 Mayrhofen Austria £383.22
13 La Thuile Italy £385.30
14 Kaprun Austria £404.54
15 Courchevel France £450.31
16 Kitzbühel Austria £458.23
17 Val d'Isère France £458.45
18 St Anton Austria £522.83
19 Saas Fee Switzerland £573.40
20 Wengen Switzerland £597.26
21 Zermatt Switzerland £698.50

 

Data relates to exchange rates in November 2015

Best value resorts

  • Kranjska Gora has narrowed the price gap with Bansko to just two per cent this winter, thanks to sterling’s strength against the euro. Bansko has retained its position as the best value resort but is now under increasing pressure from Slovenia’s top ski destination, where prices have fallen nearly 12 per cent for UK skiers since last year
  • Livigno continues to be the best value Italian resort and an 11 per cent fall in prices means it has overtaken Ellmau to take third position in this year’s European barometer table. Local prices in the Austrian resort have spiralled by 12 per cent, primarily because of a 28 per cent increase in the price of a six-day lift pass. However, UK visitors will be cushioned from those price rises by the increased buying power of the pound, which means that they can expect to pay around the same as last season
  • Prices have fallen by nine per cent in Sestriere and Morzine and are down by over 11 per cent in Ruka. As a result all three resorts have overtaken Soldeu, where UK skiers face paying almost four per cent more than a year ago
  • The French resort of Serre Chevalier is one of only three surveyed in Europe to register local price falls. Cumulatively, this has resulted in an overall fall of 13 per cent in the cost of items surveyed by Post Office Travel Money. As a result, Serre Chevalier is the only new entrant to the best value top 10, replacing Selva Val Gardena

Figure 2: Best value resorts

  Bansko
Bulgaria
Kranjska
Gora
Slovenia
Livigno
Italy
Ellmau
Austria
Sestriere
Italy
Ski pass (6 days) £136.54 £117.95 £174.78 £151.55 £175.14
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £72.23 £76.49 £60.40 £65.60 £60.96
Ski school (5-6 half days) £106.03 £114.38 £92.93 £127.24 £114.38
Ski total £314.80 £308.82 £328.11 £344.39 £350.48
Coffee (large) £2.14 £2.14 £1.43 £3.22 £2.50
Coca-Cola (small) £2.50 £2.14 £1.79 £2.14 £1.43
Wine (50cl) £2.86 £10.01 £2.50 £4.29 £2.14
Beer (25cl) £2.50 £2.86 £2.86 £2.50 £2.14
Lunch on the slopes £8.22 £8.04 £7.15 £7.15 £8.76
Food/drink total £18.22 £25.19 £15.73 £19.30 £16.97
TOTAL £333.02 £334.01 £343.84 £363.69 £367.45

 

  Morzine
France
Ruka
Finland
Soldeu
Andorra
Les Deux
Alpes
France
Serre
Chevalier
France
Ski pass (6 days) £111.25 £114.38 £132.96 £140.11 £140.11
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £58.50 £75.06 £61.48 £69.34 £68.27
Ski school (5-6 half days) £78.00 £63.62 £78.63 £81.49 £100.08
Ski total £247.75 £253.06 £273.07 £290.94 £308.46
Coffee (large) £1.14 £1.07 £1.79 £1.79 £1.43
Coca-Cola (small) £1.14 £1.43 £2.14 £1.86 £1.43
Wine (50cl) £1.52 £3.57 £2.50 £2.86 £2.86
Beer (25cl) £1.14 £1.43 £2.14 £2.14 £2.50
Lunch on the slopes £6.65 £3.57 £4.65 £6.79 £5.36
Food/drink total £11.59 £11.07 £13.22 £15.44 £13.58
TOTAL £259.34 £264.13 £286.29 £306.38 £322.04

 

Best for families

  • Families will find lower prices in nine of the 10 resorts surveyed for this ski season. The biggest price fall is in Kranjska Gora, where a combination of lower local costs and the strong pound has led to a 16 per cent drop in costs. As a result, the Slovenian resort has moved up to second place in the family table, ahead of Ellmau and Soldeu
  • Although Bansko remains the cheapest for family skiing, prices have risen over three per cent since last season – the biggest increase among the 10 surveyed
  • Prices for families remain stubbornly high in Saas Fee, the most expensive of 10 resorts identified by Crystal Ski Holidays as suitable for family ski trips. Aside from the two East European ski resorts, where prices are around half that in Saas Fee, the Swiss resort is also 44 per cent more expensive than Mayrhofen, where prices are down this season by 15 per cent, and 62 per cent higher-priced than in Morzine.

 

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said:

Many parents taking their children skiing for the first time will want them to attend ski school and the cost of this can add considerably to a ski holiday.Kranjska Gora has again emerged as great value for those on a strict budget, offering the lowest price for ski tuition

 

  Bansko
Bulgaria
Kranjska
Gora
Slovenia
Livigno
Italy
Ellmau
Austria
Sestriere
Italy
Ski pass (6 days) £356.50 £374.58 £392.09 £349.56 £453.21
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £226.50 £293.09 £190.15 £222.32 £180.14
Ski school (5-6 half days) £261.00 £240.19 £340.27 £357.42 £314.53
Ski total £844.00 £907.86 £922.51 £929.30 £947.88
Coffee (large) £1.14 £1.07 £1.79 £1.43 £1.79
Coca-Cola (small) £1.14 £1.43 £1.86 £1.79 £2.14
Wine (50cl) £1.52 £3.57 £2.86 £2.50 £2.50
Beer (25cl) £1.14 £1.43 £2.14 £2.86 £2.14
Lunch on the slopes £26.60 £14.30 £27.16 £28.59 £18.59
Food/drink total £21.80 £35.81 £37.17 £27.16
TOTAL £875.54 £929.66 £958.32 £966.47 £975.04

  Morzine
France
Ruka
Finland
Soldeu
Andorra
Les Deux
Alpes
France
Serre
Chevalier
France
Ski pass (6 days) £429.77 £400.31 £560.44 £491.10 £729.21
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £259.76 £245.91 £215.17 £268.78 £433.41
Ski school (5-6 half days) £402.02 £457.50 £400.31 £477.52 £609.45
Ski total £1,091.55 £1,103.72 £1,175.92 £1,237.40 £1,772.07
Coffee (large) £2.14 £2.14 £1.43 £2.50 £3.99
Coca-Cola (small) £2.50 £2.14 £1.43 £2.00 £3.33
Wine (50cl) £2.86 £10.01 £2.86 £2.14 £13.31
Beer (25cl) £2.50 £2.86 £2.50 £2.00 £3.33
Lunch on the slopes £32.88 £32.17 £21.45 £28.59 £39.92
Food/drink total £42.88 £49.32 £29.67 £37.23 £63.88
TOTAL £1,134.43 £1,153.04 £1,205.59 £1,274.63 £1,835.95

 

Transatlantic skiing

  • Sterling’s value may prove the deciding factor for those planning transatlantic trips this winter. While the pound has surged forward over 15 per cent against the Canadian dollar since last year, it has weakened by around one per cent against the US dollar. As a consequence, prices are lower this season in the three Canadian ski resorts surveyed, while they have risen in all three US resorts
  • Tremblant remains comfortably the cheapest of the six resorts surveyed and has continued to drop in price for the third consecutive year. Prices are now over a third cheaper for UK skiers than they were in 2012 and 24 per cent lower than in Winter Park, which remains best value of the three US resorts, despite a 14 per cent rise in ski prices
  • The biggest price fall uncovered by this year’s report has been in Whistler, where a drop of almost 14 per cent has made the world-famous Canadian resort at least 18 per cent cheaper than its US rivals Breckenridge and Vail.
       
1 Tremblant Canada £526.83
2 Banff Canada £584.31
3 Whistler Canada £610.45
4 Winter Park USA £693.85
5 Breckenridge USA £745.52
6 Vail USA £751.88

Data relates to exchange rates in November 2015

Figure 5: Best Value Transatlantic Ski Resorts

  Tremblant
Canada
Banff
Canada
Slovenia
Whistler
Canada
Ski pass (6 days) £241.5 £306.38 £254.46
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £82.25 £88.75 £115.66
Ski school (5-6 half days) £185.58 £172.21 £221.05
Ski total £509.34 £567.34 £591.17
Coffee (large) £2.06 £1.54 £2.06
Coca-Cola (small) £1.80 £1.80 £1.80
Wine (50cl) £3.60 £3.60 £4.11
Beer (25cl) £3.60 £3.60 £3.60
Lunch on the slopes £6.43 £6.43 £7.71
Food/drink total £17.49 £16.97 £19.28
TOTAL £526.83 £584.31 £610.45

 

  Winter Park
USA
Breckenridge
USA
Slovenia
Vail
USA
Ski pass (6 days) £282.29 £381.30 £385.31
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £155.19 £130.44 £140.48
Ski school (5-6 half days) £238.81 £214.73 £206.70
Ski total £676.29 £726.47 £732.49
Coffee (large) £2.01 £2.34 £2.68
Coca-Cola (small) £1.34 £1.67 £1.67
Wine (50cl) £3.34 £3.34 £3.34
Beer (25cl) £3.34 £3.34 £3.34
Lunch on the slopes £7.53 £8.36 £8.36
Food/drink total £17.56 £19.05 £19.39
TOTAL £693.85 £745.52 £751.88

World-class resorts

  • There has been relatively little change to the table of world-class ski resorts although the gap has widened between the lowest and highest priced ski destinations in Europe. The Italian resorts of Sestriere and Selva Val Gardena remain by far the cheapest of 10 surveyed
  • Zermatt, has again proved to be the highest-priced among those in Europe and a three per cent rise in local costs has increased costs faced by UK skiers, making the Swiss resort well over twice as expensive as Sestriere
  • Falling prices in Whistler have enabled the Canadian resort to leapfrog Zermatt and move within a few pounds of Wengen.

Figure 6: World-class resorts

  Sestriere
Italy
Selva Val
Gardena
Italy
Courchevel
France
Kitzbühel
Austria
Val d’Isère
France
Ski pass (6 days) £140.11 £161.56 £150.48 £159.41 £182.29
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £68.27 £76.85 £111.11 £126.53 £117.29
Ski school (5-6 half days) £100.08 £118.66 £170.85 £157.27 £139.40
Ski total £308.46 £357.07 £432.44 £443.21 £438.98
Coffee (large) £1.43 £1.79 £2.14 £2.29 £2.86
Coca-Cola (small) £1.43 £2.50 £1.79 £1.93 £2.14
Wine (50cl) £2.86 £2.86 £4.29 £2.72 £3.57
Beer (25cl) £2.50 £3.22 £2.50 £2.36 £2.86
Lunch on the slopes £5.36 £7.15 £7.15 £5.72 £8.04
Food/drink total £13.58 £17.52 £17.87 £15.02 £19.47
TOTAL £322.04 £374.59 £450.31 £458.23 £458.45

 

  Sestriere
Italy
Selva Val
Gardena
Italy
Courchevel
France
Kitzbühel
Austria
Val d’Isère
France
Ski pass (6 days) £180.14 £193.61 £254.46 £252.83 £385.31
Ski/boot hire (6 days) £128.67 £175.44 £115.66 £108.68 £140.48
Ski school (5-6 half days) £193.01 £192.28 £221.05 £303.39 £206.70
Ski total £501.82 £561.33 £591.17 £664.90 £732.49
Coffee (large) £2.57 £2.99 £2.06 £2.66 £2.68
Coca-Cola (small) £2.14 £3.33 £1.80 £3.33 £1.67
Wine (50cl) £2.86 £13.31 £4.11 £11.98 £3.34
Beer (25cl) £2.72 £2.99 £3.60 £3.99 £3.34
Lunch on the slopes £10.72 £13.31 £7.71 £11.64 £8.36
Food/drink total £21.01 £35.93 £19.28 £33.60 £19.39
TOTAL £522.83 £597.26 £610.45 £698.50 £751.88

Skiers can purchase euro on demand at more than 10,000 Post Office branches. Currencies for other Ski Resort Report destinations, including the Swiss franc, Canadian dollar and Bulgarian lev, are available on demand at over 1,600 branches while over 4,000 larger Post Office branches stock US dollars. Up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at more than 11,500 Post Office branches or online for next day branch or home delivery, where a range of travel insurance policies suitable for ski trips are also available. Over 3,000 Post Offices are now open on Sundays while many branches are also open early in the morning and late at night, so holidaymakers can plan their visit to suit them.