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Friday December 9, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

Austria & Italy are better value than France & Switzerland. That's the conclusion of a new report that compares the cost of skiing for families in resorts across Europe. Overall costs are up due to a poor exchange rate.

The  Post Office Travel Money Family report was compiled in conjunction with Crystal Ski, the largest UK ski tour operator.

The report compared the cost of six days' ski and boot hire, lift passes and ski school, together with a sample price for lunch on the slopes and a range of drinks for two adults and two children. 

The French and Swiss resorts surveyed struggled to compete on price with Italian and Austrian ones (excluding Kitzbühel).

None of the three French resorts surveyed (Morzine, Serre Chevalier and Les Deux Alpes) made it into the top half of this year's Family Ski Resort Report league table.

Morzine (£1,572) was best placed in 10th position (down from 6th a year ago). 

And when the weaker exchange rate is added to local rises of between 10% - 14% in French resorts.

It means UK skiers can expect to pay 33% -39% more than a year ago. 

Switzerland remains most expensive in the survey although the price rises in the two resorts surveyed were lower than in France. 

This is because local charges are on par with last year in Saas Fee (£2,279) and slightly lower in Wengen (£2,398).

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"There certainly seems to be a strong appetite for ski holidays this winter and the early snowfall widely reported across Europe has boosted demand," said Crystal Ski Holidays Managing Director, Chris Logan.  

"Ski holiday bookings have been strong for the last four weeks and we advise families who want to ski during the Easter ski holiday to book soon as nearly 60 per cent of our packages have been sold already," continued Chris Logan.  

"Families who want to keep their costs down can save a lot of money if they take advantage of lower rates on ski passes, equipment and even lessons pre-booked before leaving the UK," he added.

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The cheapest resorts are Kranjska Gora in Slovenia and Bansko in Bulgaria.

The low cost of family ski tuition was a key factor in helping Kranjska Gora to overtake Bansko.

Its £340 price tag for six sessions was almost £200 lower than in the Bulgarian resort (£530). 

As a result, while Bansko has remained lowest-priced of the 16 ski resorts for ski/boot hire and lift passes, its barometer basket costs £1,151 - 7.5% more than Kranjska Gora.

Ski school prices are also around 25 per cent lower in third-placed Livigno than in Bansko which has helped the Italian resort (barometer basket: £1,197) to close the overall gap between them to around £46 from £100 last year. 

Another Italian resort, Sestriere (£1,288), is catching up on the survey leaders because local prices have dropped 12 per cent since last season - primarily because of reductions in the cost of lift passes and ski school. 

After the exchange rate was applied, the Post Office found the overall price increase of 6.9 per cent to be the lowest by far across the 16 resorts.

According to Crystal, reports of early snowfall have made Sestriere one of its bestsellers this season and the same applies to Mayrhofen (£1,509). 

The Austrian resort was another of those surveyed to reveal a fall, albeit small (-2.3 per cent), in local prices.

In sharp contrast, Ellmau, traditionally the cheapest Austrian resort surveyed, has seen a marked increase in ski tuition costs and, along with the stronger euro, this has resulted in a rise of over 38% in its barometer basket (£1,327) since last year.


- The Post Office Travel Money Family Ski Resort Report was compiled using prices for 16 resorts in Europe suitable for a range of skiing levels, provided by Crystal Ski Holidays  the UK's leading ski holiday specialist.

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.

A full breakdown of prices is published in the separate Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report tables.  

All prices are based on the Post Office exchange rates in 2nd December 2016 and are rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.

- Post Office Travel Money found price falls in local currency (before the exchange rate was applied) in six of the 16 European ski resorts surveyed. 

These were:

Sestriere:                 -12.0%

Selva:                        -9.0%

Kranjska Gora:       -5.0%

Mayrhofen:            -2.3%

La Thuile:                 -2.0%

Wengen:                  -0.2%

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

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