Thanks primarily to the powerful pound, the Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report found that prices are down in three-quarters of the 27 resorts surveyed, with double digit percentage falls in over a third of them.
In second-placed Kranjska Gora, for example, the cost of ski equipment, lift passes, ski school, meals and drinks is down almost 12 per cent to £264 since last season. This helped the Slovenian resort to close the gap with five-time best-value resort Bansko (£259) to less than £5.
The report, which features resorts that are among the most popular with UK skiers, also reveals heavy price falls in many of the French, Austrian and Italian resorts surveyed. Italy is again best value of the ‘Big Four’ ski countries (Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland). An 11 per cent price fall in the cheapest Italian resort, Livigno (£286), helped it to overtake Austria’s Ellmau (£306) and move into third place in the barometer, within £27 of Bansko.
There have been sizeable price falls of 9-13 per cent in barometer costs for fifth-placed Sestriere, Italy (£322), Morzine, France (£333) in sixth position and Ruka, Finland (£334) in seventh. As a result these have overtaken Soldeu (£344), where UK skiers face paying almost four per cent more than a year ago when the Andorran resort registered the biggest price fall.
Serre Chevalier (£367) was one of only three European resorts surveyed to register local price falls. Once sterling’s higher value was factored in to give UK skiers a 13.5 per cent year-on-year reduction in costs, this made the French resort the only new entrant to the best value top 10, replacing Selva Val Gardena in 10th place. The other resorts boosted by local price cuts were ninth-placed Les Deux Alpes, France (£364) and Kitzbuhel, Austria (£458), where a fall of four per cent contributed to an overall 15.2 per cent year-on-year reduction.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Skiers heading to many resorts in Europe will benefit from sterling’s increased strength. This means that even where local prices have edged up, UK tourists will find the cost of skiing as well as meals and drinks noticeably cheaper this winter. While skiing remains cheapest in Bulgaria and Slovenia, our research reveals that long-established favourites in France, Austria and Italy are great value too. Livigno is a great bet for both solo skiers and families as are Morzine and Ellmau. However, bargain-hunters should exercise caution when considering Swiss resorts as sterling has not strengthened enough to counteract the effect of rising local prices.”
Among 10 World-Class Resorts surveyed, Zermatt proved to be the most expensive in Europe and over twice as expensive as Sestriere, which rated cheapest for the third consecutive year.
Canada and the USA are poles apart for ski costs. Sterling is the key factor in the results of the Transatlantic Ski Resort Report because the Canadian dollar has continued to fall against the pound, while the US dollar is stronger. This means the three Canadian resorts surveyed – Tremblant, Banff and Whistler – will cost UK skiers less than last year and are much cheaper than the US trio of Winter Park, Vail and Breckenridge, where prices have risen by up to 14 per cent. Tremblant (£526) is best value while a 14 per cent fall in Whistler (£610) has made the world-famous resort at least 18 per cent cheaper than Breckenridge (£746) or Vail (£752).