IT’S that time of year again: the skier’s bible, Where to Ski and Snowboard, publishes its annual Resort Price Index survey results on 8 September, allowing ski and snowboard aficionados to plan their snowsports holiday to perfection. Now in its fifth year, the Resort Price Index survey, an integral part of Where to Ski and Snowboard 2015, is the best and most comprehensive way to make sure a chosen resort meets the budget.
In Where to Ski and Snowboard 2015, findings show that the cheapest resorts in the main Alpine countries remain constant, with Passo Tonale in Italy and Val Cenis in France still at the forefront as best value for money. Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia remain the countries with the cheapest resorts, while Italy, Austria and France offer a broad selection of resorts in cheaper category ranges too.
Switzerland and North America remain the most costly ski and snowboard destinations, with exclusive resorts such as Zermatt, St Moritz and Aspen among the priciest. They are joined at the top end of the price range by two resorts in France popular with British skiers – Courchevel and Méribel – plus Austria’s chicest resorts, Lech and Zürs.
Figures show that the costlier resorts come in at more than double the price of the cheapest. A week in Aspen, for example, could cost you over £1,000 in extras a week, while many Italian and Austrian resorts, such as Selva, Ellmau or Mayrhofen, could cost under £500. The guide’s figures cover modest consumption of food and drink and the costs of lift passes, ski hire and lessons – each component is costed out and then combined into an overall index.
In terms of food and drink, Where to Ski and Snowboard found that Swiss resorts charge the most – you have to allow £30 to £40 per day for a modest lunch and a few drinks (and excluding dinner). But expect bills upwards of £100 per day for more realistic consumption. North American and Canadian resorts are also comparatively expensive.
Although France doesn’t appear particularly expensive from the overall RPI figures, compared with Austria and Italy, it is far costlier in terms of food and drink. Many French resorts cost around £25 a day for modest consumption (and some of those most popular with British skiers such as Courchevel and Méribel more like £30 a day). This compares with less than £20 a day for most Italian and many Austrian resorts.
Co-editor Chris Gill offers a few wise words when it comes to reducing holiday costs, especially the cost of eating and drinking.
“A good way of avoiding the full impact of high resort restaurant prices is to go on a catered chalet holiday. You get afternoon tea as part of the deal, so your lunchtime needs can be minimized; some tour ops offer ‘piste picnic’ packed lunches at low cost; crucially, you get wine included with dinner – and you can organize your own aperitifs, or buy beer and mixers in the chalet at modest cost.
And, of course, there is self-catering, a fantastic way to control the cost of your snowsport holiday. Many apartments are now kitted out to such a high standard – with luxury kitchens and dishwashers – that preparing meals is not the hardship it once was”.