Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.
Bansko in Bulgaria and Kranjska Gora in Slovenia again rate as best value for bargain-hunting skiers in the tenth annual Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report, produced by the UK’s leading foreign currency provider in partnership with Crystal Ski Holidays.
At just £270.77 for ski holiday staples including equipment hire, lift passes and ski tuition for six days plus a meal and drinks on the slopes, Bansko has retained its position as the cheapest destination for UK skiers for the seventh consecutive year, out of 20 European resorts surveyed. Prices there have risen just 4% year-on-year, despite the weaker pound.
As a result, the Bulgarian ski resort has pulled further ahead of long term runner-up Kranjska Gora (£337.62), where local price rises have compounded the impact of the weaker sterling exchange rate. This has made Kranjska Gora almost 20% more expensive than last season and 25% pricier than Bansko.
Local prices researched by Crystal Ski Holidays in the traditional ‘Big Four’ ski destinations – Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland – have either fallen or stayed on par with last season to make them better value than Austria and France. All four feature in the best value top ten.
Sestriere (£354.98) has moved up to third place in the table from fifth position last year on the back of an 11% fall in euro ski costs. Once the sterling rate is applied, prices in the resort are level with last season – making this the best deal across the eurozone. Elsewhere in Italy, local euro prices are on par with a year ago in Livigno (fourth place, £363.84) and Selva Val Gardena (tenth place, £470.30), and down 4% in La Thuile (ninth place, £456.45).
By contrast, local prices have snowballed across the nine Austrian and French resorts surveyed. Once the exchange rate is applied, skiers can therefore expect to pay an average of 20% more than last season in Austrian resorts and 26% extra in French ones.
Despite the price rises, Ellmau (£403.08) in the Tyrol is in fifth place in the Post Office best value chart, dropping only one place since last year and significantly cheaper than the other Austrian ski resorts: Mayrhofen (£490.72); Kitzbühel (£614.08); and St Anton (£664.76).
Morzine remains best value among the five French resorts surveyed at £446.33 but has fallen from sixth place in last year’s report to eighth position now. Its barometer cost is around 30% lower than in Val d’Isère (£638.80), the most expensive French resort.
Although Switzerland remains highest-priced of the ‘Big Four’, local prices are level with a year ago. Once the prices in Swiss francs are converted to sterling, this means the increased costs faced by UK skiers are lower than in either Austria or France at between 16-19%.
But the cheapest of the three Swiss resorts surveyed, Saas Fee (£718.33) is still 8% more expensive than St Anton, the highest-priced Austrian resort, and more than 12% pricier than in Val d’Isère. Zermatt (£875.24) is the most expensive of the 20 European resorts for the second consecutive year, 53% more than in another world-class skiing option, Courchevel (£570.96).
Elsewhere in the eurozone, Soldeu, Andorra (sixth place, £441.64) and Ruka, Finland (seventh place, £443.73) retain their top ten places with lower than average price rises of 20 and 24% respectively.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Ski resort costs are likely to play an important part in destination choice this year as the weaker pound puts pressure on the holiday purse. That’s why it is so important to do your homework before booking and factor in all the costs of a ski holiday to the package price. Despite the price rises we found this year, there are still some great value resorts to choose from in Eastern Europe, while Italy is looking good as well and will appeal to skiers who prefer to head to the slopes in one of the long-established favourites.
“Make sure you get more for your money by changing cash before leaving home rather than at the airport or ski resort where you risk getting a poor rate. Take enough cash to cover ski and living costs and be aware that transactions of over £500 will get you a better rate in our branches or on the Post Office website.”
Image Source: Samot via Shutterstock