As the pound suffers its worst week since the Brexit vote, where to book a ski holiday to get the most bang for your buck?
In its annual Ski Resort Report, the Post Office in partnership with Crystal Ski Holidays revealed that, once again, East is best when it comes to saving on the cost of a ski holiday.
The report, which compared the price of lift passes, equipment hire, ski school and food and drink across 26 ski resorts in Europe and North America, found that Bansko in Bulgaria was the cheapest for the seventh year running. The total cost of six days of ski staples – lift pass, equipment hire, ski school – is just £255. This number is added to the average price of a coffee, coke, wine, beer and a lunch on the slopes in resort to create Bansko’s price index – £271. Prices have risen just four per cent year-on-year, despite the weaker pound.
Bansko was followed by fellow Eastern European resort Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, with a combined price index of £338. Local price rises have compounded the impact of the weaker sterling exchange rate, making Kranjska Gora almost 20 per cent more expensive than it was last season and 25 per cent pricier than Bansko.
Europe’s cheapest ski resorts | Cost of lift pass, equipment hire, lessons and food and drink
1) Bansko £271
2) Kranjska Gora £338
3) Sestriere £355
4) Livigno £364
5) Ellmau £403
6) Soldeu £442
7) Ruka £444
8) Morzine £446
9) La Thuile £456
10) Selva £470
However, perhaps more surprisingly, the rest of the top five cheapest spots are snagged by Italian and Austrian resorts. Italy in particular was found to be far better value – of the four resorts surveyed, all boasted local prices that were on a par with last season or had actually fallen.
By contrast, local prices across the nine Austrian and French resorts surveyed have risen dramatically. Once the exchange rate is applied, skiers can expect to pay an average of 20 per cent more than last season in Austrian resorts and 26 per cent extra in France.
Of the 20 European resorts in the report, the three most expensive are all in Switzerland – due in large part to the pricey Swiss franc. Once the prices are converted to sterling, costs in the Swiss resorts surveyed have risen between 16 and 19 per cent since last year.
The chic resort of Zermatt is the most expensive, boasting a price index of £875. Second is Wengen at £736, followed by Saas Fee at £718. The top five is rounded off by St Anton in Austria, plus the French resort ofVal d’Isère, beating glitzy Courchevel (in at number seven).
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- Ruka (Sweden), £6.16
- Tremblant (Canada), £6.12
- Wengen (Switzerland), £4.10
- Livigno (Italy), £3.96,
- Ellmau (Austria), £3.78
Post Office Travel Money’s Andrew Brown 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.”
The report also compared prices in six North American resorts. Banff in Alberta, Canada, is the cheapest of those surveyed, coming in at £702. It was the only resort where local prices have remained in line with those recorded a year ago.
At the other end of the spectrum, Breckenridge, Colorado, works out at a whopping £1,134.