How to save money on next winter’s ski trip

The latest report on the ski resort produced by mail and Crystal Ski Holidays says skiers and snowboarders can cut their vacation costs in half next season by choosing wisely.

Unsurprisingly, you might think, the report says Bulgarian resorts are the cheapest places, while Swiss ones remain the most expensive.

He also says:

  • Bardonecchia in Italy is the best value in the Eurozone, but prices are up 4%
  • Arinsal in Andorra is second after Bansko as the best value for family ski trips
  • Prices can vary from several hundred pounds to the costs of a week at a ski resort

The 14the The annual report, produced by Post Office Travel Money in collaboration with Crystal Ski Holidays, was originally scheduled to be launched in December 2020, but was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has since been updated and results released in response to the surge in vacation bookings reported for winter 2021-2022.

The report provides a price barometer for adult skiers at 32 resorts and for families at 28 resorts, the highest number ever surveyed.

It compares ski and boot rental costs, lift passes and ski school, as well as lunch and drinks for adults at 32 major European resorts.

It uses local prices provided by Crystal Ski Holidays and converted to pounds sterling by Post Office Travel Money.

It says cost-conscious skiers and snowboarders can cut costs in half by booking one of Europe’s cheapest resorts in Bulgaria, Austria or Italy rather than Switzerland.

Crystal Ski, the UK’s largest ski tour operator, reports that bookings for all destinations are higher than at the same time before the pandemic.

Budget travel to Bulgaria is in greater demand than ever, with Bansko selling “significantly better than in previous years”.

The pattern is said to continue with bookings for France, Austria and Italy where the most sought after resorts with Crystal clients are Val Thorens, Obergurgl and Sauze d’Oulx.

The February semester, which spans two weeks in the UK in 2022, is proving to be the most popular for families, but Easter and Christmas are said to be on the rise year on year.

In mid-January, those unrelated to school holidays choose to travel.

“We were so disappointed that we weren’t able to take people to the mountains this season, but the demand for 2021/2022 is huge,” said Chris Logan, Managing Director of Crystal Ski.

“We could have an exceptional year. We’re way ahead of what we usually would be in terms of bookings this time of year, but there are still some amazing vacations available with some particularly great deals to be found over Christmas.

“Skiers have missed their snow fix for one, and in some cases, two years and they can’t wait to get back on the slopes.”

The detail

Bulgaria

The report found Borovets to be the cheapest option.

Kisia Cove from PlanetSKI in Borovets. Image © PlanetSKI

At £ 438, it beat another Bulgarian ski resort, Bansko (£ 481), in first place for the second year in a row – although the gap between the two widened because prices rose by almost 3% in Bansko but fell by more than five percent in Borovets.

However, the cost of skiing and living at the two resorts is about half the price at the three Swiss resorts studied.

Switzerland

Wengen (£ 956), Saas Fee (£ 963) and Zermatt (£ 1,086) remain the most expensive ski resorts among those surveyed, although they likely remain resorts of choice for some seasoned skiers.

Italy

Prices have increased at several Italian resorts, although the barometer costs are much cheaper than in Switzerland.

The cost of skiing is up 4% in Bardonecchia (£ 517) but the resort remains the best value of the 26 Eurozone destinations surveyed.

Three other Italian resorts – Sauze (£ 571), Sestriere (£ 574) and La Thuile (£ 620) – are also in the top 10 for best value.

Austria

There is good news for skiers planning trips to Austria, where prices have dropped at five resorts (Ellmau, Kitzbühel, Obergurgl, St Anton and Zell am See).

The biggest drops were in Kitzbühel, down 10.6% to £ 783 and St Anton, down 13% to £ 873.

Two Austrian resorts made the top 10 for best value: Ellmau (down 5.2% to £ 556) and Soll (£ 630), a new addition to this year’s report.

Where there are increases, these are minimal increases of 0.3% to Mayrhofen (£ 697) and Saalbach (£ 716).

France

Morzine (£ 596) returns to the top 10 for the first time in three years in eighth place after seeing prices drop 8.8%.

It is one of the four French resorts out of nine surveyed to record a drop in the cost of skiing, meals and drinks.

The sharp increases in the cost of renting ski equipment are responsible for the rise in prices.

The biggest increase is in Val d’Isère, where its total barometer cost rose 10.7% to £ 912, making it the most expensive resort in the European Union.

Family skiing

A total of 28 resorts considered suitable for families were studied this year, including five new ones: Saalbach, Scheffau and Niederau in Austria as well as Les Arcs and Serre Chevalier in France.

Again, Bulgaria is the cheapest option.

Bansko (£ 1,443) maintained its longtime best rating and turned out to be almost 15% cheaper than its closest competitor.

However, prices have fallen by more than 12% in Arinsal, Andorra (£ 1,695) thanks to its family ski pass.

Arinsal has passed four Italian resorts to become the cheapest ski resort in the euro zone.

Sestriere takes third place at £ 1,750.

The Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report was compiled using adult prices for a week (six days of activity) at 32 European resorts suitable for a range of ski levels and 28 European resorts suitable for families. These were provided by Crystal Ski Holidays. Costs are based on mid-season prices and entry-level skis and boots. The daily ski school hours vary depending on the resort. Lunch prices are based on two courses (main course and dessert) excluding drinks.

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