.....and its loooking like a season to remember.
It’s all pointing to a bumper season for ski this year if the industry professionals and weather forecasters have got it right. The El Nino effect (a warm Pacific eastbound weather pattern), is likely to lead to huge snowfalls across the Alps and North America; some saying it should result in the biggest snowfalls since 2008/9. Couple this with the strength of the £ against the € and the consolidation of prices across all ski resorts and things couldn’t be better for UK skiers in recent years.
The Alps has already had snow storms in the higher areas dumping over 50cm of snow on each of a couple of occasions in October and this is helping to maintain a lower ground temperature for the forthcoming few weeks. Whilst many will idly bleat that snowfalls in October are little more than a vanity parade for resorts to advertise their impending season start, these early falls are indicative of an El Nino season which, as the informed skier knows, is the Holy Grail of ski years. Couple this with the fact that premature snow on the ground means falling ground temperatures which in turn affords the ability to turn on the snow cannons and build up the artificial base. This base then allows further snow falls to compound depths rather than initially melt………….and so the winter cycle turns.
Since the recession bit back in 2007 ski resorts nonchalantly stated that “skiers would always ski” and whilst this is true to an extent, it has been noted that the younger demographic have struggled to afford to ski and others have down sized from luxury to upper marker and others upper market to middle market etc. Resorts were slow but eventually they realised a need to reduce food and beverage prices along with lift pass prices and numerous other ancillary products to boot. Where once a plat du jour was €20.00 soon it was reduced to €12.00.
The pound struggled and eventually bottomed out at parity against the euro with some lift tickets peaking at £280.00 for a 6 day adult rate. Compare that now to the world’s largest connected ski area of the Three Valleys at £205.00 for the same lift ticket today. Smaller ski areas, such as St Anton’s Arlberg pass is a snip at £189.00! Ski and boot hire also peaked at around £115.00 for a 6 day period and now the same is available as cheap as £75.00. Flight prices and holidays have remained constant but deals can be found and already for this this Christmas we can see catered chalet deals to the main resorts including flights and transfers as cheap at £650.00 pp.
It’s a well-known industry saying that the season starts with the commencement of the London ski and this year it has moved from its regular slot at Olympia to a brand new location in Battersea. Much excitement has been caused by the new look ski show and its start date of 05 November will hopefully be a fantastic curtain raiser for an incredible and memorable season to come.