The cost of winter sports holidays have risen by 15 percent this year, but that is not expected to keep ski fanatics at bay, with a great season of snow predicted and some snow resorts opening early to capitalise on premature snow falls.
Many resort owners are giving positive forecasts despite the number of Britons taking winter sports holiday declining by six percent during the 2008/09 season.
A research commissioned by the Santander Card has shown that the cost of a winter sports holiday is now at an all-time high, with a flight and accommodation package costing an average £686.
Skiers may also find that using a currency card such as RationalFX can be a cost effective way of taking foreign currency on holiday.
Santander Cards, whose Santander Zero cards offer fee-free foreign usage anywhere in the world, said that savvy skiers might be tempted to try other winter sports holiday destinations, because the weak pound has meant rocketing prices in the popular European ski haunts.
Santander revealed that a package deal to Meribel plus equipment hire and a six day ski pass comes costs £1,557 per person, while a similar deal in Val d’Isere will only cost £45 less at £1,512.
The best deal in a premium European destination can be found in Chamonix where a package, equipment and a six day pass is £300 cheaper at £1,212. The Swiss and Austrian resorts of Zermatt and St Anton represent the middle ground at £1370 and £1386 respectively.
Emma Roberts, director at Santander Cards, said, “Winter sports enthusiasts may well be tempted to try somewhere new this year because of the impact of the weak pound on prices for premium European skiing destinations, with little price difference now between the major French resorts and transatlantic resorts.
“The average cost of a winter sports holiday may now be higher than at any time since the turn of the millennium but one way that winter holidaymakers can avoid unnecessary additional costs is to use a credit card that doesn’t charge them a fee on transactions made in a foreign currency. The Santander Zero card has no foreign exchange fee on spending anywhere in the world, making it ideal for holidaymakers looking for the best deal on their spending this winter.”
Holidaymakers seeking a bargain can instead go outside the euro to the eastern European resorts of Borovets (Bulgaria) or Kranjska Gora (Slovenia). Borovets is by far the cheapest European destination with a package deal, lift pass and equipment totalling a more modest sum of £591 – almost a third the price of a week in Meribel. And food and drink in the Bulgarian resort will also set you back 60 percent less. A week in Kranjska Gora will cost a little more at £785.
But for those who don’t like to go East, a comparable holiday in Andorra’s Soldeu still represents good value at £877 for the week, with food and drink half the price of Meribel.