News Headlines     |     


Wi-Fi in ski resorts - James Cove, Cyberspace
Wednesday April 10, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

Some offer it for free in hotspots across the resort while others charge large amounts for poor connections. We reckon internet access is now an essential part of the ski holiday experience. Our content editor gets on his hobby-horse.

"I am sorry but we offer Wi-Fi for 5 Swiss francs for a half hour period.  Not many of our guests use it and so it is unfair to them if they have to pay for you to use it," said the manager of a hotel in Zermatt after I complained about the lack of free internet access earlier this month.

I politely pointed out that I had no interest in watching television but I had to pay for it to be available to everyone else.

I mentioned that I had stayed in numerous hotels across the winter and the best all had free and easy to use internet access. 

At least put it in the bar and people will probably buy a drink.

I pointed out that I had travelled on a public bus earlier in the day in Switzerland and it had a free service as it drove down a twisty mountain road in a remote part of the Swiss Alps. 

70% of the Post busses now have free Wi-Fi, albeit with a loose connection occasionally.

On the busesOn the buses











For the past decade Geneva has offered free public Wi-Fi and there are now 70 hotspots across the city.

In this day and age many people cannot afford to ignore emails for a week and accessing social media and their favourite web sites is essential.

The forward-looking resorts offer it in lift stations, cafes, hotels and other venues. There are hotspots on the slopes and in the villages.

They don't do it for fun but rather because it enhances their guests experience and if clever they use it to promote resort services. They tell people what is going on in the resort and allow them to discover the attractions.

Verbier, Val Thorens and Vail have an active policy of promoting access and encouraging their guests to share their experiences online.

In Zermatt I had to content myself with sitting on a bench outside the tourist office in the cold. I refuse to pay for Wi-Fi on principle and will not recommend a hotel that does not offer it.

I have no doubt that eventually they all will so it might be better for hotels to do so now.

I had a similar conversation with the manager of the Edelweiss and Gurgle hotel in Obergurgl back in the winter of 2010.  I happened to be back in the summer of 2011 and the hotel had changed its policy and offered internet access in all rooms for free.  I sought out the duty manager to congratulate him on the change of policy.

He thanked me for my moaning a year earlier and said I was quite right.  

In Switzerland the issue of internet access has recently been written about on the web site, Swiss Info.

For the article see here.

It makes interesting reading and concludes that Switzerland still has some way to go to offering easy internet access to its guests.

In this day of smartphones, laptops, tablets, social media and the like the businesses that offer easy access to the internet is already ahead of its competition.

Of course it costs but so does installing heating, water and many other services and people are not charged directly for them. It is built into the price.

This winter Inghams has offered free access in all its chalets and chalet-hotels and it has gone down very well with clients.

I visited some friends in the Hotel du Verbier earlier this month and though they complained about the kids messaging friends at dinner they said it was brilliant to be able to keep up with things without having to pay and keep an eye on the clock.

If a family of four wants to have internet access on and off for a week's holiday the bill soon adds up if it is 5 Swiss francs for half an hour.

I am actually writing and posting this article from a train in Norway. 

Not only is the access free it was instant. It was the same at the station, the airport and even on the plane I flew over in run by

It is the first time I have seen it on a plane in Europe.

Surfing at 39,000 feetSurfing at 39,000 feet













I flew from Gatwick to Oslo keeping up with work and posting a few comments on Facebook at 39,000 feet.

A friend who I worked with in Verbier a few seasons back saw my Facebook post.

She now lives in Oslo and we are meeting for a drink as I pass through on my way back. We wouldn't have made contact without the free Wi-Fi on the plane.  I will certainly use again if there is a choice.

This is the world we now live in and it is only set to develop further. 

Easy internet access is a requirement for many and where it is not offered people will not go.

Old-fashioned hotels and tourist offices take note.

One happy (sad) manOne happy (sad) man















For the spirit of the mountains


Related Articles

POLITICS, PISTE & POWDER (Saturday December 14, 2019)
HOW TO SKI SCHOOL... (Saturday December 14, 2019)
DECEMBER SKIING SECRETS (Saturday December 14, 2019)
VIDEOS TO WHET YOUR APPETITE (Saturday December 7, 2019)
HOW TO DO A CITY AND SKI BREAK... (Saturday December 7, 2019)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners