Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lift Ticket Prices Up 4.9% On Average, Worldwide

A study of more than 600 ski lift ticket prices from resorts in 40 countries worldwide has found that prices increased on average by 4.9% this season from 174.33 to 182.90 Euros for a six-day pass. However because of the big currency value changes of recent months the changes may seem much bigger, or even actually be negative inflation (a lower price than last year). The findings are published in the eighth edition of the Skiinfo World Ski Lift Ticket Price Report (2009) which converts six-day, high-season ticket prices published in 20 different currencies in to US dollars, European Euros and British pounds to allow for international comparison. The Study found that although the world average price for people living in the Euro-zone increased by 4.9%, for US citizens it actually decreased by 8.5% from 258.00 to 236.00 US Dollars. British citizens fared the worst with six-day ticket costs up on average from £130.75 to £168.98 because of the weak British pound – an increase of nearly 30% on average. The average price of a six-day high-season ticket in Europe was 167.70 Euros– the second lowest of the five continents included in the study, behind average prices in Asia, Australasia and North America but above South America. Europe’s ski areas offered the most lift-capacity-per-Euro of resorts in the world.The price changes of course reflect currency fluctuations rather than price increases in resort and vary according to destination with prices to most European nations and Canada lower than to Japan, Switzerland and the US due to the strong Yen, Franc and Dollar. In Europe it means than Swiss citizens will find skiing outside Switzerland cheaper virtually everywhere in Europe, but particularly Scotland! After five or six years of a weakening US Dollar, Swiss Franc and a longerperiod of a weak Yen, the changes seem to indicate, for the time being at least, a return to cost differentials in the 1990s when the US was clearly the most expensive in the world and Switzerland the most expensive in Europe. But it’s not that simple. Although Swiss headline prices are high, families may find skiing there cheaper than elsewhere in Europe because the country has the most generous child discounts with free places at many resorts until children are aged 8 or 9 (compared to 4 or 5 elsewhere) and then 50% off until aged 16 or 18 (a third off to 11 or 12 and full adult price from 12 or 13 elsewhere). Similarly, although US headline prices are high, most resorts offer very flexible prices with much lower prices outside peak periods and further discounts for online, advance or package purchases.That said, Report findings included 8 of the world’s top ten most expensive tickets are offered by ski resorts in Colorado, and 19 out of 20 were in the US. Deer Valley in Utah sold the world’s first $600+ ticket ($602) forXmas/New Year week this season. An average six day US resort peak-season lift ticket cost of 320.20 Euros, exactly double the average French ski resort peak season cost of 160.10 Euros. The Matterhorn Ski Paradise which links Zermatt in Switzerland and Cervinia in Italy has leapt back up to the position it held six year’s ago as Europe’s most expensive at about 282 Euros for six days, although the previous title holder, the French Mont Blanc regional pass that includes Chamonix and a dozen other passes at 255 Euros for adults remains the more expensive for children. The tiny principality of Andorra, once famous as a budget destination, now has Europe’s highest average lift ticket price at 190.50 Euros on the continent but the lowest priced six day pass in the world was found at Iran’s Tochal ski area near Tehran for 40.20 Euros. The weak British poundmeans skiing in Scotland is currently 20% cheaper for Americans. On the upside for all Europeans, the Australian and New Zealand dollars are doing even worse than the pound meaning skiing in the southern hemisphere this year is the best value it has been for many years with prices down 10-40% on average depending on whether you live in the UK, Euro-zone or Switzerland.
The Skiinfo World Ski Lift Ticket Price Report 2009 is compiled by Snow24 Ltd, an independent ski resort research company based in Scotland,UK, established in 1991.