Do more people go to the mountains in summer or winter?

A long-standing point of discussion aprés ski is whether more people go to the mountains in summer or winter?

Well, based on the statistics produced by the Swiss Tourism federation, it is in the summer judged by overnight bed stays, by roughly 20m compared to 15m. However, this doesn’t take into account the impact of reduced overnight bed availability in winter, e.g. camping sites and a preference for accommodation right next to the lifts. It’s also hard to assess the impact of day trippers – in winter the trains of Switzerland are busy with locals and expats going skiing for the day throughout the week and especially at weekends.
Winter in Switzerland
Interestingly the only source nations more likely to stay overnight in Switzerland in winter are Russians and Scandinavians. Americans and Asians overwhelmingly prefer to visit in the summer.

Another measure of the size of the respective tourism trade in winter and summer would be seasonal employment. Here, roughly 200,000 are employed and the number is pretty much the same in both winter and summer.

So, in conclusion, the answer is that it mostly varies between resorts, with some resorts getting more in winter and others more in summer, but in balance probably more visit in summer. However it is clear that both are equally important to the well-being of Alpine resorts that rely upon tourism. And for Switzerland it is a trade that is worth CHf 35bn per annum and constitutes the fourth largest source of export income, or 5.5% of the total.

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2 Replies to “Do more people go to the mountains in summer or winter?”

  1. Hi,
    I would like some advice …..
    We a family of 5 are planing a quick trip (3 nights ) to Basel on 5th Dec .
    2 adults and 3 Kids 13-9-5
    We all love the outdoor life and sport.
    So is it possible for us to sample some tobogganing or even try skiing ( all of us are complete novices ) at someplace nearby reachable by public transport.
    The idea of flying downhill by day or night through the snow is very attractive .
    Will there be snow nearby ?
    We are going for the markets and a bit of Christmas fun so why not snow !!!

    Many thanks
    Manus

    p.s. We are flying from Ireland which is not renowned for its snow or ski resorts.

    1. Basel is lovely in December, with one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe. However, snow is by no means guaranteed in early December, even in the nearby Jura mountains. The nearest significant resorts to Basel in the Alps are those of the Jungfrau, which co-incidentally opens on 6th December. You can get to these by train, with Wengen or Grindelwald the best destination (see http://www.swisswintersports.co.uk/jungfrauregion.php for details). Whilst hard-core skiers might do this for a day out, it might be a little challenging for you as novices – if you do go you might prefer to do one of the many toboggan runs there, but do check with the resort web site or the Swiss Tourist Office in Basel (there is one at the main station) the day before to check the facilities are open. It is a heavily weather dependent sport.

      If you are lucky and there is good snow, the nearby Black Forest of Feldberg (http://www.swisswintersports.co.uk/feldberg.php)in Germany may be open. And if you are really lucky and there is snow in Basel there are a number of hills around the town you can toboggan on. The public transport in Switzerland is outstanding and ets you anywhere you fancy.

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