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Children are the future
Saturday July 19, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

The future of snowsports relies on new, young blood coming in. The International Ski Federation has been addressing the issue and its latest initiative is a report comparing lift ticket prices for kids.

It has been years in the making and is an exhaustive report, all 84 pages of it. 

The report is an objective analysis of 700 resort websites globally for the under-18s, lift ticket prices and cost-saving initiatives for children.

The research shows many simple, but creative initiatives.

From children under 10 skiing for free, to free lift passes for children when they ski or snowboard on their birthday. 

It looks at all the countries with skiing and snowboarding across the world to look at the prices and the offers available to encourage young people to become involved with snowsports.

FIS is leading the way in an industry that is perhaps notorious for companies, and nations, looking after their own interests before the greater good of the industry as a whole.

FIS has been running the World Snow Day for the past few years with some success as we have reported here, and now it has launched another initiative looking to helping the next generations.

"Globally, the number of snow sports participants is static and in some cases slowly falling. There is a general agreement that the future of winter sports relies on children taking up the sport at a young age," said the introduction to the report.

"Whilst there are many ways to encourage children to participate in winter sports, one area under constant debate is the price of lift passes. The following report is an objective look at lift pass prices for children globally and common pricing initiatives used," it added.

For the report in full, with its mass of facts and figures then see here.

Its conclusions are simple as it tries to share information and encourage resorts to copy best-practice.

"FIS encourages all resorts globally to create children lift ticket initiatives. Resorts may emulate ideas presented in this document or generate their own," the organisation said.

"FIS strongly encourages resorts to invest effort into communicating their lift ticket initiatives to schools, cultural groups, sporting clubs, family groups and governments to name a few."

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In the meantime on PlanetSKI we re-produce the brief summaries of the report from the major skiing nations that people in the northern hemisphere visit.

flag__andorraAndorra  

Both of Andorra's main ski areas offer discounts throughout childhood, with three pricing sectors - free for younger children, a discount for elementary age school children and then on- going discounts for teenagers.

 

flag_austriaAustria 

Austria has a relatively generous lift ticket pricing structure for children.

A small number of resorts (less than 3%) ask children to pay a nominal fee even when very young, but around 80% do not ask children to pay at all until either age 6 or 7.

Children above this age normally receive a 40-50% discount on the full adult price.

Some resorts are very generous and do not ask children to pay at all until ages 9, 10 or 11.

Most Austrian resorts offer substantial discounts for children right up to age 16 and in some cases as old as 20

_flag_bulgaria_128Bulgaria

Bulgarian ski areas vary as to when children have to pay for lift ticket passes.

Some appear to require payment as soon as a child can use the lift, others do not require payment for young children with their families until age 8.

However all children are asked to pay adult prices from age 12.

One of the four main Bulgarian resorts offers teen discounts providing student identification is presented.

flag_canadaCanada 

Canada leads the world in terms of the size of discount it offers children on adult ticket pricing. This can be as much as two thirds off.

There are different approaches on each side of the country. In Quebec prices are typically lower than the global average, but children usually have to pay a small amount from birth (typically $10-$15 per day) and rather more from age 5/6 to use the slopes.

Free child tickets are rare even for the very young, but overall family prices compare favourably as total ticket costs are low.

In central and western Canada children typically do not pay for tickets until age 5 or 6, and in one case until age 8. After this age heavily discounted rates are provided, but the full adult prices are often higher than in Quebec.

In almost all cases child discounts end at age 12. A few resorts offer child prices up to age 13 and even 17. But most Canadian resorts offer a smaller teen discount for the remainder of childhood and sometimes right up to early 20's.

flag_finland128_01

Finland

Finland has some of the most standardised lift ticket pricing in the world with child prices fairly consistent between all leading Finnish resorts.

With one exception, all offered free skiing to children up the age of 5 or 6. Most charged adult price from age 12 or 13.

 

flag_franceFrance 

France has the widest range of children's lift ticket price bands.

Most resorts begin child pricing between ages 4 and 6.

However some resorts move children from the child price band to youth/teen pricing at age 8, while others hold child pricing right through to age 24.

flag_italyItaly 

Italian resorts offer a wide range of discount schemes for children.

A large number of Italian resorts charge a low rate for children aged up to 6, 7 or 8 and then a higher rate for older-children to mid-teens.

Quite often young children are free when an accompanying parent pays for a ticket of the same duration.

At most Italian resorts child pricing continues through to age 15 or 16.

Most Italian resorts have two or more seasons during winter - typically low, standard and high. Prices in the low season can be up to a third of the high season price.

flag_norway_03

Norway

Like in many Scandinavian countries children in Norway do not need to pay for a lift pass until 7 years of age. After the age of 7 many ski resorts offer child pricing to age 15.

This is well above the global average. Research also showed that adult day passes at smaller resorts are cheaper than child tickets in major resorts.

 

flag_-_scotland_02

Scotland

Scotland's ski areas offer free skiing until a child is aged 5 or 6.

After this age ticket are almost half the cost of an adult until age 17.

In all resorts examined this price continue to age 18 if the individual is a full time college student and can present a valid ID.

flag_sweden_02Sweden

Like many of the other Scandinavian countries Sweden has a consistent children's pricing structure.

Children do not pay until age 8 at any resort, so long as they wear a helmet. Child prices continue to at least age 16 with prices being a fifth off the adult price.

 

flag_swiss

Switzerland 

Switzerland has a strong structure for children's pricing. In a large portion of leading Swiss resorts children do not pay at all until aged 9.

In the case of Zermatt this increases to 10.

Once children do start paying the savings on the adult prices can be 50-75%.

These savings continue later in to teenage years.

Some resorts offer a further level of discount until the age of 24. These discounts are limited to students and a valid student identification must be presented upon purchase.

flag_usaUSA

US ski areas have a wide range of pricing structures.

The vast majority of US resorts offer child discounts to age 12. Around three quarters offer either a teen discount or continue child discounts to age 18.

The remaining quarter ask that children pay adult prices from age 13.

US resorts also have many different price variants depending on when and how a ticket is bought.

The latest innovation for lift ticket purchase is 'Available at This Price'.

Similar to airline tickets or hotel rooms resorts advertise a limited number of tickets at a certain price with '5 remaining at this price' next to a higher price.

The closer you purchase to the date you go skiing/snowboarding the higher price.

For the spirit of the mountains

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