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PRICES SLIDE DOWNHILL AS SNOW FINALLY HITS THE ALPS

Press release   •   Jan 05, 2015 14:04 GMT


Snow has finally arrived in the Alps after weeks of nervous nail biting by ski holiday operators and skiers with early season bookings. That is not the only good news as the latest Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report¹reveals that prices have slid downhill since last year in 19 of 21 European resorts surveyed.

The biggest fall has been in Soldeu, which also benefited from early snow, according to the report, compiled from resort research by ski-holiday operator Crystal Ski Holidays. The cost of ski equipment, lift passes, ski school, meals and drinks plunged 23 per cent to £331 in Andorra’s top ski resort. As a result Soldeu has taken fifth place in the best value top 10.

Other ski destinations where both snow and prices have fallen include Italy’s Sestriere and Courchevel in France, which are among 10 World-Class Resorts surveyed by Post Office Travel Money. Prices have fallen 13 per cent in Sestriere (£354), making it best value in this category for the second year running, and are down 16 per cent in Courchevel (£503).

By contrast, while snow has fallen in the Swiss resorts of Zermatt and Saas Fee, prices have risen substantially. Higher resort costs have made Saas Fee (£570) 10 per cent pricier than a year ago while increased ski hire and lift price charges mean that Zermatt (£686) is 16 per cent more expensive than last year and highest-priced overall in Europe.

Although the strength of sterling – currently worth over six per cent more year-on-year against the euro² – has had a positive impact on prices for UK skiers in all the European resorts surveyed, another factor has been local price falls. The evidence suggests that the need to attract back skiers after the market contracted 3.6 per cent last season³ may have been a catalyst for price cuts in top resorts. The report found local price falls in 16 of the European resorts surveyed, helping to compound the benefit of a stronger UK pound.

As a result, while Bansko (Bulgaria) remains the cheapest ski resort with a barometer total of £261, around four per cent less than a year ago, Kranjska Gora (Slovenia), is closing the gap (£300, down eight per cent year-on-year). Both are under pressure from eurozone competitors where the combined impact of the UK pound and local price cuts has resulted in far bigger cost reductions for UK skiers. Aside from Soldeu, a 15 per cent plunge in costs to £311 has helped Austria’s Ellmau resort move up to third position in the barometer table.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Although skiing is still cheapest in Bulgaria and Slovenia, growing competition for business means there are great bargains to be struck in many of the most popular European resorts this season. What’s more, the continuing strength of sterling against the euro and other European currencies provides the added bonus of more pounds in their pockets for UK skiers.”

“While it is great news that skiers can look forward to lower prices in most European ski resorts this season, it is still important for them to do their homework and check all the resort costs they will face. Adding these to the package price before deciding on a ski destination will provide a more accurate picture of what their holiday is likely to cost them.”

A full breakdown of barometer costs for all resorts surveyed including those in North America can be found by visiting postoffice.co.uk/skireport2014.

Skiers can purchase euro over the counter at more than 10,000 Post Office branches. Currencies for other Ski Resort Report destinations, including the Swiss franc and Bulgarian lev, are available on demand at over 1,600 branches. Up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery, where a range of travel insurance policies suitable for ski trips are also available.

Ends

Notes to editors:

¹ The Post Office Ski Resort Report was compiled using prices for 27 resorts in Europe and North America, provided by Crystal Ski Holidays (crystalski.co.uk). 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 and an analysis of this is published in the separate Post Office Ski Resort Report. All prices are based on the Post Office exchange rates in mid-November 2014.

² Post Office Travel Money exchange rate comparisons between 2014 and 2103:

Currency

% +/- 2014 v 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2013
Bulgarian lev +6.6% 2.3449 2.2002
Euro +6.3% 1.2310 1.158
Swiss franc +4.6% 1.4827 1.4171

³ Source: Crystal Ski Industry Report 2014

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