Prices go Downhill in Some European Ski Resorts

Prices have fallen in two thirds of the ski areas surveyed for the latest Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report.  So, which resorts offer best value?

The 15th annual report, produced in partnership with Crystal Ski Holidays, looks at the cost of ski school lessons, equipment, lift passes, meals and drinks for a week-long trip.

Switzerland is, once again, the priciest while those in Bulgaria are the cheapest.

Bardonecchia in Italy is the best value resort in the Eurozone countries.

Costs have, though, gone up in most of the Austrian and French resorts surveyed, with Val d’Isere in France the most expensive resort in the Eurozone.

The figures produced in the report are based on mid-season prices for a ‘barometer basket’ of:

  • Lift pass for 6 days
  • Entry level skis & boots hire for 6 days
  • Ski school tuition (5 to 6 half-day lessons)
  • Cup of coffee
  • Bottle of Coca-Cola
  • Glass of house wine
  • Bottle of beer
  • Lunch on the slopes for 6 days (main course and dessert, excluding drinks)
Les Menuires. Image © PlanetSKI

Les Menuires. Image © PlanetSKI

Family Skiing

The good news for families planning trips at February half-term or Easter is that prices have dropped year-on-year in 19 of the 28 ski resorts rated most suitable for skiers with children.

However, the costs vary by hundreds of pounds.

Bansko in Bulgaria offers the lowest prices.

Looking up at the run named after Italian skier Tomba in Bansko

Bansko, Bulgaria – photo © PlanetSKI

At a total of £1,358 for the ski barometer basket for 2 adults and 2 children (aged 6 and 8), prices have fallen by 12 per cent in Bansko.

It makes it the best value resort for the 4th year running.

Bardonecchia in the Italian Alps has again emerged as cheapest in the Eurozone for families.

As runner up to Bansko, it has seen its prices fall back to £1,592.  That’s more than 20 per cent lower than a year ago when the resort registered a big increase in ski costs.

Comparing this season’s prices with those in 2019 –  the last full ski season – families can expect to pay around 2.3 per cent more.

Of the 7 countries surveyed, Italy has widest range of well-priced ski resorts with 4 more of its resorts featuring in the best value top 10.

Sestriere (£1,761) is in 3rd place after its prices fell 5.9 per cent year-on-year, while Passo Tonale is 4th cheapest at £1,782, a 10.2 per cent drop.

La Thuile (£1,887) takes 6th place with a price fall of 9.2 per cent.

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, enjoying lunch in La Thuile, Italy, where prices are down – photo © PlanetSKI

Cervinia (£2,106) is in 10th position and registered one of the biggest falls of 14.4 per cent.

One PlanetSKI reader, Scott Farser, has made his observations about Italy over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.

“I think the skiing in France is superb but always had the feeling we as Brits have been getting ripped off by the French.

“Much prefer Italy and Austria these days, better value and if you go to the right places skiing as good if not better than France.

“I know where my £ will be spent.”

Now here on PlanetSKI we rarely write much about food, we prefer to concentrate on the slopes and the skiing.

But that is about to change.

“Italy not only has the best food of all the alpine nations in my opnion, it is also the best value and comes in at such a good price,” said PlanetSKI’s editor James Cove.

“I have been living in Aosta for the past couple of weeks and there is another month or so to go.

“My wallet is not under threat but my waist line is.”

“The report from the Post Office and Crystal Ski Holidays backs up what I have seen with my own eyes.”

It is €1.50 for a coffee, €7 for a pizza and €12 for a bowl of fabulous pasta.

This cost €11 and tasted even better than it looks.

Italian mountain food. Image © PlanetSKI

Italian mountain food. Image © PlanetSKI

And yes, you can ski after an Italian mountain lunch.

The trick is to eat a small amount or simply share a plate.

Valtournenche, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Valtournenche, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Andorra is another good value choice.

Arinsal (£1,883) is 5th cheapest, although prices are 6.3 per cent higher than last year.

Soldeu also features in the top 10 but prices there are 9.3 per cent lower than a year ago so it has risen to 7th place (£1,941).

The remaining two places in the best value top 10 are taken by the Austrian resorts of Rauris (£1,974) and Ellmau (£2,045).

None of the 9 French ski resorts surveyed made the top 10.

Morzine (£2,134) was the best-placed in 11th position.

Image c/o Office de Tourisme de Morzine-Avoriaz

Morzine, the best value French resort, according to the Post Office ski report – photo c/o Office de Tourisme de Morzine-Avoriaz

Elsewhere in France, there have been big price rises for Tignes (£2,868) of 8.1 per cent and Alpe d’Huez (£2,481), where prices are up by 11.1 per cent.

High prices in Saas Fee (£3,120) and Grindelwald (£3,119) have again made Switzerland the most expensive destination for families, although prices in Saas Fee have fallen 2.6 per cent year-on-year.

“This year’s comparison of prices in all the leading European ski destinations shows that the cost of lift passes, equipment hire, tuition and living costs continues to vary by hundreds of pounds,” says Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money.

“This makes it vitally important for skiers looking for a bargain break to do their homework before booking a ski holiday.

“Bulgaria and Italy are again looking great value but both Andorra and Finland are good alternatives to more expensive resorts in France, Austria and Switzerland.”

St Moritz, Switerland – photo © PlanetSKI

Crystal Ski Holidays says demand for ski and snowboard holidays has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“There are still good late deals available so now’s the time to book,” Chris Logan, Managing Director of Crystal Ski, says.

“And all our customers have the reassurance of our holiday promise, so if things change and they can’t, or don’t want to, travel for any reason, they can take advantage of free flexible amends.

“Whilst it’s still important for people to understand entry requirements for the destination they are visiting, the season’s looking bright and the mountains are calling.”

Adult Skiing

In line with the cost of family skiing, prices in two thirds of the 32 ski resorts surveyed for adult skiing have also dropped.

Following the pattern of recent years, Bulgaria leads the way with the best value ski resorts.

Borovets has beaten Bansko to the top spot for the 3rd year running.

Although prices have fallen in both resorts, the higher fall of 7.3 per cent in Borovets (£435) means that it has widened the gap with Bansko, where the overall barometer cost has dropped 5.1 per cent to £488.

The 6 Italian resorts surveyed represent the best value for UK skiers among the ‘big 4′ ski destinations of Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland.

Sestriere, Italy – photo © PlanetSKI

With price falls in all 6, the Italian resorts feature among the 12 best value resorts.

The survey’s biggest price fall of 10.6 per cent has been in Bardonecchia (£495), which is rated the 3rd cheapest overall.

Prices in 6th-placed Morzine (£618) have fallen by 3.1 per cent, enabling the French resort to overtake Ellmau (£648) in the Austrian Tirol, where costs have risen by 2.1 per cent.

These are the only resorts in France and Austria to make the best value top 10 because these countries account for most of the price rises this season.

There have been year-on-year increases in 5 of 9 French resorts and 5 of 9 Austrian resorts surveyed.

Although prices have also risen by 1.5 per cent in Soldeu (£638), the Andorran resort is 8th cheapest in the survey and remains one of the best value choices.

Finland’s Ruka (£648) takes 10th place after recording a price fall of 7.6 per cent year-on-year.

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

In common with the family report, Swiss resorts rate as the priciest of all.

Wengen, Saas Fee and Zermatt each registered totals exceeding £1,000, though there were small price falls in all 3 resorts.

Prices have risen by 5.2 per cent in Kitzbühel in Austria (£881) and around 1 per cent in Val d’Isère (£980), making the French resort the most expensive in the Eurozone.

Val d'Isere, France

Val d’Isere, France – photo © PlanetSKI.

You can read the full report, which has a breakdown of all the costs, here.

Image © PlanetSKI