Skiing ‘Cheapest It’s Ever Been’

Despite a continued fall in the popularity of skiing holidays it’s unlikely you, the consumer, can look forward to seeing further price reductions.

Crystal Ski today released its annual UK Ski Industry Report, with managing director Simon Cross revealing the number of Brits who booked breaks for the 2011/12 season fell by 16,000 to 894,700, 1.8% down on the previous year.

So why isn’t this reflected in the pricing, especially since the drop coincided with one of the best seasons for snow in Europe in a long time?

Well, compared to falls of up to 13% in recent previous years from the ski market’s peak popularity in 2007/08, when 1.2 million Brits hit the slopes, the drop is minimal.

Cross believes this is a sign that the fall in popularity is bottoming out, adding: “In terms of pricing year on year there’ll be very little difference.

“In the tour operator side of the market we’re working very hard to make sure we keep the prices in the right range. I don’t think there’ll be any major drop in pricing.”

His comments are echoed by Nick Edwards, a partner at ski specialist, who despite missing today’s event is always worth discussing skiing with.

“Ski pricing can’t go any lower as we’ll get to the point where we’re supplying at cost levels,” he said.

“We’ve had two or three years of renegotiating suppliers’ contracts, rents and such like and we won’t get any more reductions; skiing is the cheapest it’s ever been.”

“There are not really any deals out there other than early booking incentives and the group deals.”

However, he added such deals are more likely buy-one-get-one-free offers on lift passes and ski hire rather than straight discounts.

Edwards conceded last year there were very late deals offering discounts of up to 40% but added the usual caveats, adding: “The reductions are often going to be for resorts with small ski areas, where the snow’s not so good with accommodation far from the slopes.”

So probably not the kind of deals you’re looking for.

Meanwhile Crystal has also canvassed customers over which resorts they consider the best value and the results are certainly worth sharing.

In the UK’s number one ski destination France, Chamrousse is favourite thanks to its value accommodation, followed by La Rosiere and Serre Chevalier.

In Britain’s second favourite country for skiing, Austria, Alpbach is the consumer’s number one choice thanks to a good standard of value accommodation while it is also good for beginners.

Second is Rauris followed by Bad Hofgastein, which really is a ski resort and not a medical condition caused by drinking too much Bavarian lager.

Meanwhile in third placed Italy, Val di Fassa is number one thanks to the huge ski area and keenly priced lift passes followed by Claviere and Courmayeur.