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Tuesday July 12, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The new PM, Theresa May, is beginning work to take the UK out of the EU. As events move forward is the snowsports industry optimistic or pessimistic about Brexit?

Most people in the UK snowsports industry wanted to remain a part of the EU as we reported in this article ahead of the referendum.

Theresa May voted to Remain and has said there will be no rush to leave the EU before the moment is right and negotiations have been conducted. 

She has also said "Brexit means Brexit" and her cabinet is designed to take the UK out of the EU.

People in the snowsports industry are now planning for a withdrawl from Europe with all the complexities that involves.

Many in the UK snowsports industry are still secretly, and perhaps naively, hoping it won't happen but it would be irresponsible if they didn't start planning now.

Many operators are freezing prices as we reported in this earlier article on PlanetSKI.

Some of the offers end on Friday 21st July.

"We have frozen the exchange rate for lift passes until July 21st so there is some degree of stability in the exchange rate and the cost of our holidays for next winter have been frozen," said the marketing manager of Skiworld, Diane Palumbo, to PlanetSKI.

See here for a blog from Skiworld on its views of what Brexit might mean.

Already the decision to leave is having an impact. 

Two Austrian ski resorts have pulled the marketing budgets they spend with one of the UK's major tour operators.

"They said that they feared the UK economic situation would deteriorate, the exchange rate would fall and less British people would be skiing next winter so they wanted to spend their marketing budget elsewhere," said a senior figure from the tour operator to PlanetSKI.

We know of no other examples of budgets already being cut, but it could be a sign of how resorts in the Alps may react.

Delta Airlines has announced it would be reducing its winter capacity from the UK to the USA by 6% amid concerns about the economic impact of Brexit and the sterling/US dollar exchange rate.

The airline offers several routes to the USA for skiers and snowboarders and this winter is opening up a direct route to Salt Lake City as we reported earlier.

The largest ski resort in the USA, Park City, plus several others (Deer Valley, Alta, Snowboard) are within a hour from Salt Lake City.

No details have been revealed about which of Delta's routes will be affected.

Reducing winter routesReducing winter routes













Some in the UK snowpsorts industry been candid to us in private conversations, but prefer not to be named.

"Johnson, Gove, Farage and Leadsome campaigned for Brexit - they have caused this chaos and have now all walked away from the utter mess they have created. We have had very tough trading conditions since 2008 and the last two years have finally seen some growth and now that will vanish," said the managing director of a medium sized tour operator that sells chalet holidays in France.

He made his comments before Boris Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary.

"People in the UK snowsports industry who think everything is going to be fine are simply burying their heads in the sand. We are already seeing an impact on bookings and it is going to get worse and we will have to react," said one senior person from a major UK tour operator.

He declined to comment on what that reaction might be but it would likely be job losses, the axing of product and a fall in the number of British people taking a skiing holiday.

However not all are pessimistic.

A Facebook survey by the company, Chaletline, revealed that 70% of UK skiers and snowboarders claimed Brexit would not influence their plans to take a holiday this winter.

277 people voted in the poll that was conducted from 7th - 13th July.

One person commented that he would 'rather skip a summer holiday than not go skiing'.

But another ponited out that 'with the pound dropping everything will increase in price'.

We have also been hearing from the ski resorts out in the Alps and beyond

Most simply cannot understand why the UK voted out.

In public they are putting out a positive message, but in private are concerned.

"We are disappointed and confused by the result, but rest assured nothing will change as the British came to Val d'Isere before the EU and we will continue to welcome you after you have left," said the resort's tourist director of Val d'Isere, Justine Mathé.

"The exchange rate is not very good, but we are working hard to offer some affordable prices on lift passes and next season we will have an indoor picnic area so people can avoid the costs of lunch," she added.

Many in the UK snowsports industry are still secretly, and perhaps naively, hoping it won't happen but it would be irresponsible if they didn't start planning now.

Many operators are freezing prices as we reported in this earlier article on PlanetSKI.

More operators have been reacting.

"We've had a few queries from guests in the past week asking if holiday prices are going to increase in light of the EU referendum result. Exchange rates have clearly shifted since our prices were set, but we are not planning to increase any of our chalet or childcare prices," said the managing director of Ski Famille, Chris Thompson.

"Lift pass and equipment hire costs have been adjusted a little, but we've kept the impact to a minimum," Chris added.

The small chalet operator, AliKats, admits things will never be the same again after the UK voted to leave the EU but lists what it sees as three reasons for optimism, in an attempt to re-assure people heading to the Alps this winter.

  1. The uncertainty affecting the strength of the pound is also affecting the Euro in almost equal measures and is likely to continue that way & therefore the exchange rate betweeen the 2 currencies is unlikely to be subjected to moves that we have seen between GBP and USD. Following the result, the rate has moved to around 1.20 ever since, a move of just less than 4%
  2. Your travel to France will be the same as it's always been. Your EU passport will still allow you to travel freely to France, without the need for a visa or a stamp, & your EHIC insurance card will still provide access to healthcare. This won't change before the end of next winter, if at all.
  3. Although Brexit is a BIG deal that will affect us all in many different ways, the one thing we can say for sure it will not affect is the weather. The snow WILL keep falling!

Nice ideaNice idea














The EU vote has sent shockwaves through the travel industry as a whole.

There has been a sharp fall in the value of airline shares according to latest data from the International Air Transport Association.

European airlines suffered almost a 25% month-on-month drop, the biggest since 9/11.

"The uncertainty of the Brexit vote, along with lingering impacts from recent terrorist attacks, has only added to existing investor concerns about the impact of falling unit revenues on profitability," said a statement from IATA.

easyJet is already looking to move its European base out of the UK.

On the move?On the move?














The main impact will perhaps be felt in a few years time as the traditional UK chalet holiday relies on the free movement of labour.

They largely recruit staff from the UK under UK conditions of employment.

"My view is that the next two winters will see little disruption to our model. How things work beyond that will be very dependent on the final deal done with the EU. As a sector we'll obviously be working hard to secure a future for the chalet product, including the use of UK seasonal staff. I'm confident there will be a way forward but it's really too early to say more; there are still a lot of unknowns," said Chris Thompson from Ski Famille.

But whatever the long term the immediate concerns are about the exchange rate.

It will affect those travelling independently as they will need to pay in Euros, Swiss Francs, US/Canadian Dollars and Norwegian Krone.

It improved on the news that Theresa May is now the UK Prime Minister, is appointing her cabinet and people seem to be rolling up their sleeves and facing the challenges ahead.









See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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