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How to Save Money On Next Winter’s Ski Trip

The latest Ski Resort Report produced by the Post Office and Crystal Ski Holidays says skiers and snowboarders can halve their holiday costs next season by choosing carefully.

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Not surprisingly, you may think, the report says Bulgarian resorts are the cheapest places to go while Swiss ones remain the most expensive.

It also says:

  • Bardonecchia in Italy is the best value in the Eurozone, but prices are up 4%
  • Arinsal in Andorra is second only to Bansko as best value for family skiing trips
  • Prices can vary by hundreds of pounds for a week’s costs in a ski resort

The 14th annual report, produced by Post Office Travel Money in conjunction with Crystal Ski Holidays, was originally intended for launch in December 2020 but was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has since been updated and the results published in response to the surge in holiday bookings reported for winter 2021-22.

The report gives a barometer of prices for adult skiers in 32 resorts and for families in 28 resorts, the largest number ever surveyed.

It compares costs for ski and boot hire, lift passes and ski school plus lunch and drinks for adults in 32 top European resorts.

It uses local prices provided by Crystal Ski Holidays and converted to sterling by Post Office Travel Money.

It says cost-conscious skiers and snowboarders can halve their costs by booking one of Europe’s cheapest resorts in Bulgaria, Austria or Italy rather than Switzerland.

Crystal Ski, the UK’s largest ski tour operator, reports that bookings to all destinations are higher than at the same time pre-pandemic.

Budget trips to Bulgaria is seeing stronger demand than ever with Bansko selling ‘significantly better than in previous years’.

The pattern is said to be continuing with bookings for France, Austria and Italy where the most sought-after resorts with Crystal’s customers are Val Thorens, Obergurgl and Sauze d’Oulx.

February half term, which in 2022 spreads across two weeks in the UK, is proving most popular for families, but Easter and Christmas are said to be well up year-on-year.

Mid-January is the time when those not tied to school holidays are choosing to travel.

“We were so disappointed we couldn’t take people to the mountains this season, but the demand for 2021/2022 is immense,” Chris Logan, Managing Director of Crystal Ski says.

“We could be in for a bumper year. We’re well ahead of where we’d usually be in terms of bookings at this time of year, but there are still some amazing holidays available with particularly good value deals to be found at Christmas.

“Skiers have missed out on their snow fix for one, and in some cases, two years and they can’t wait to get back on the slopes.”

The detail

Bulgaria

The report found Borovets to be the cheapest option.

PlanetSKI’s Kisia Cove in Borovets. Image © PlanetSKI

At £438 it beat another Bulgarian ski resort, Bansko (£481), to the top spot for the second year running – although the gap between the two has widened because prices have risen by nearly 3% in Bansko but fallen by over five per cent in Borovets.

However, the skiing and living costs in both resorts are around half the price in all three Swiss resorts surveyed.

Switzerland

Wengen (£956), Saas Fee (£963) and Zermatt (£1,086) remain the most expensive ski resorts of those surveyed, although they are still likely to be resorts of choice for some seasoned skiers.

Italy

Prices have risen in several Italian resorts, although barometer costs are far cheaper than in Switzerland.

The cost of skiing is up by 4% in Bardonecchia (£517) but the resort remains best value of 26 Eurozone destinations surveyed.

Three other Italian resorts – Sauze (£571),  Sestriere (£574) and La Thuile (£620) – also feature in the best value top 10.

Austria

There is good news for skiers planning trips to Austria, where there have been price falls in five resorts (Ellmau, Kitzbühel, Obergurgl, St Anton and Zell am See).

The biggest falls have been in Kitzbühel which is down 10.6% to £783 and St Anton, down 13%to £873.

Two Austrian resorts have made the best value top 10:  Ellmau (down 5.2% to £556)  and Soll (£630), a new addition to this year’s report.

Where there are rises, these have been minimal increases of 0.3% in Mayrhofen (£697) and Saalbach (£716).

France

Morzine (£596) returns to the top 10 for the first time in three years in eighth place after seeing prices fall 8.8%.

It is one of four French resorts from nine surveyed to register a drop in the cost of skiing, meals and drinks.

Big increases in the cost of hiring ski equipment are responsible for pushing up prices.

The biggest rise is in Val d’Isère, where its total barometer cost has risen 10.7% to £912, making the resort the most expensive in the European Union.

Family Skiing

A total of 28 resorts regarded as suitable for families were surveyed this year, including five new ones: Saalbach, Scheffau and Niederau in Austria together with Les Arcs and Serre Chevalier in France.

Again, Bulgaria is the cheapest option.

Bansko (£1,443) has retained its long-held best value rating and proved to be almost 15% cheaper than its closest competitor.

However, prices have fallen over 12% in runner-up Arinsal, Andorra (£1,695) thanks to its family ski pass.

Arinsal has overtaken four Italian resorts to become the Eurozone’s cheapest ski resort.

Sestriere takes third place at £1,750.

The Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report was compiled using adult prices for one week (six active days) in 32 European resorts that are suitable for a range of skiing levels and 28 European resort suitable for families.  These were provided by Crystal Ski Holidays. 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.

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