Where is the Cheapest Place to Ski?

The Crystal Ski Industry Report 2014, produced together with Post Office Holidays in the UK, has assessed a number of ski resorts popular with UK package tour travelers. They have worked out average costs in resort for a package consisting of lift pass, rental and ski school and also for an average lunch. As a result they have come up with their idea of where the cheapest place to ski is. I don’t claim to be surprised with the outcome. I have applied an index to the figures based on an average of 100 to come up with relative prices. Essentially you can read it this way: you can get almost three days in Bansko for the price of one in Zermatt. Since Zermatt is much more likely to give you good snow conditions, has better scenery, apres ski and food, is easier to get to and has five times as much piste you could actually argue Baski is over-priced, but I have had some great ski holidays in Bulgaria and I wouldn’t knock it. However I think the independent traveller, with or without a family, doesn’t need to go to Eastern Europe to find value for money.

The top American resorts seem over-priced compared to the best European resorts, and add to that the cost, time and ecological impact of getting there from Europe, it seems wise to leave them to the natives. Again, I have had some great skiing in North America, but I lived there at the time and it was on my doorstep.
Matterhorn in Zermatt
So the eternal debate is, where is the best value resort to ski or snowboard in the Alps? Italy does well, and can only be faulted on the longer transit times required to get there. For a great ski experience on a tight budget, it is probably the best value. My personal favourite in Italy – if you are watching the pennies but want a great experience – is Madesimo. The best of Austria and France seem comparably priced, with a small price premium associated with Switzerland down to the strong Swiss Franc.

The report actually showed Switzerland gaining market share in 2013/4 over 2012/3, with 6.5% of the market – largely at the expense of France. The report claims prices are going down, but that is surely down to the strong pound since all prices are converted to sterling. Overall the report doesn’t change my perspective, which is that you get what you pay for. The ski and snowboard market is very competitive and the biggest mistake you can make is not about how much you pay, but that what you pay delivers what you want. I would never recommend Zermatt to a family of beginners, but for a competent skier I would recommend you put it on the list of places you visit before you die.

Anyway, on that sobering note, here are the indicies:

 

Resort Country Index
Bansko Bulgaria 54
Kranjska Gora Slovenia 62
Ellmau Austria 64
Livigno Italy 66
Soldeu Andorra 68
Sestriere Italy 73
Morzine France 75
Ruka Finland 78
Val Gardena Italy 84
Les Deux Alpes France 87
Mayrhofen Austria 87
Serre Chevalier France 87
la Thuile Italy 89
Kaprun Austria 89
Courchevel France 104
Val d’Isere France 104
Kitzb├╝hel Austria 111
St Anton Austria 116
Tremblant Canada 117
Saas-Fee Switzerland 118
Wengen Switzerland 122
Winter Park USA 125
Banff Canada 136
Breckenridge USA 141
Zermatt Switzerland 142
Whistler Canada 146
Vail USA 155
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Popular Ski and Snowboard website launches Dutch language version

The popular English language ski and snowboard website, SwissWinterSports.co.uk, has launched a Dutch language version of the site at www.SwissWinterSports.nl.

The new web site provides comprehensive Dutch language coverage of winter sports resorts in and around Switzerland. As well as the major destinations, many of the less well-known sites are included.

“The idea of the site is to allow people to tailor their holiday to their requirements.” says Nic Oatridge, the founder of SwissWinterSports.co.uk, “Switzerland offers the most flexibility and accessibility of all of the Alpine nations. From the Netherlands it is feasible to have a weekend on some of the best runs in the world at short notice, to have a budget family ski holiday or simply to have a relaxing winter break in the mountains; this site shows you how.”

The site has been designed to be quick and usable on any platform. For each resort, there are piste maps, directions by road or public transport, weather reports, resort conditions and tips on where to stay, what to do and where to go. In addition to comprehensive coverage of Swiss resorts, some resorts in Germany and Austria that are easy to get to from the Netherlands are included.

For the Dutch version of the site, the content has been professionally translated into Dutch, has distances from the Netherlands to each resort and content specifically aimed for visitors from the Netherlands or for Dutch-speakers located in or near Switzerland.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.SwissWinterSports.nl

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Ski and Snowboard Playlist

Well, it’s that time of year when people start putting together best of the year playlists, and playlists to take on ski holidays and stuff… and I am no exception. I don’t listen to music whilst I ski, I hasten to add – that just seems so “not in the moment”, but I have put music to some of my ski videos and here is a sample. The music comes from my collection, so I MUST like it, but the length of the clip largely determines which songs I have associated with the video. Oh, and there is a link to the lyrics and a link to the ski resort for each song:

Duel by Propoganda

Zermatt

Wasn’t Born to Follow – Byrds

Feldberg

Most Precious Love – Blaze

Kitzbuhel

Right here, Right now – Fatboy Slim

Obersaxen

Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space by Spiritualized

Feldberg

Whole of the Moon – Waterboys

Adelboden

Rush Hour – Jane Wiedlin

Obersaxen

Dread Lion – Upsetters

Zermatt

Pow Pow – LCD Soundsystem

Aletsch Arena

Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd

Toggenberg

Professional Widow – Tori Amos

Obersaxen

Boys of Summer – DJ Sammy

Obersaxen

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Montreux for Skiing and Snowboarding Holidays

Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva is also in the heart of the Alps
Montreux is most famous for the Montreux Jazz festival, that takes place in the town every summer, or perhaps the fabulous climate or the beautiful walk from Vevey to Castle Chillon alongside Lake Geneva. For the winter sports enthusiasts, however, its location at the bottom of the Vaud Alps makes it a fabulous destination to use as a base for a holiday.

The town boasts a very good Christmas Market in December, when the best nearby slopes at Glacier 3000 have already been open for several weeks, but other resorts are also starting to open at this time nearby in the heart of Vaud and the Valais, including Verbier, Gstaad, Leysin, Les Diablerets and the resorts of Les Portes du Soleil – all roughly an hour away by rail or road. However all of the resorts of the Valais are reasonably accessible from Montreux. There is also a small ski resort just above Montreux at Caux and Rochers de Naye which can be reached by a funicular from Montreux, conveniently very close to the excellent youth hostel (which we use as our base for the Jazz Festival).

If you are planning to do a ski holiday in Switzerland and use rail to get about, Montreux is perfect. It is easy to get to by train or road from Geneva, itself served by an International Airport with a railway station actually inside the airport. Nearly all the great ski resorts in the region can be reached by train from Montreux, but also you can cut across to Lucerne and visit the resorts of the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland by taking the spectacular Golden Pass Line, a panorama train that operates between Montreux, Gstaad and the Bernese Oberland with onward connections to Lucerne.

More information on Montreux can be found at the Swiss Winter Sports web site.

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