Research by www.Skiinfo.co.uk has found that Europe’s most expensive six-day ski lift pass is now believed to be currently the northern hemisphere’s most expensive ski lift ticket due to the strength of the Swiss Franc.
A 483 Swiss Franc six-day pass offered by the little known village of Täsch would currently cost around £364 / $580, according to Expedia’s currency converter on 26 June, whereas the most expensive lift ticket in the US offered by several Colorado resorts at $561 (US) would cost £351 says Expedia.
Täsch is a small village below Zermatt where most of the famous resort’s guests park and take a swish rail shuttle to Zermatt itself. The 483 Franc pass includes the daily use of that shuttle as well as ski lift access to 350km of piste above Zermatt and over the border to Cervinia in Italy on Europe’s highest lifts incorporating some of the world’s most spectacular ski lift installations.
The same pass bought in Zermatt, excluding the shuttle train service, would cost 423 Swiss francs (£318 / $508 (US) . A slightly more expensive ticket including other ski areas in the Aosta Valley in Italy is also available.
It’s the first time that a European lift pass has been known to cost more than the most expensive North American one. US resorts, and occasionally Australian ones, have topped the worldwide lift ticket price tables for two decades. Prior to that Japan was the most expensive destination until its economic collapse in the early 1990s.
However Australia currently has the world’s most expensive lift ticket, again due in large part to the strength of the local currency. A six day pass for the country’s biggest resort, currently open for winter 2011, Perisher in New South Wales, costs $576 (Aus) for an adult – which Expedia converts to £379 / $604 US.
Switzerland had the most expensive passes in Europe in the 1990s but with the start of the new millennium several French giant regional tickets overtook Swiss prices, most notably with the world’s biggest ski area, the 3 Valleys, becoming more expensive to ski than the Swiss 4 Valleys around Verbier. That situation reversed again with the global economic crash.
Although the headline figures may seems alarmingly high, www.skiinfo.co.uk advises that in many cases skiers and boarders can ski for much less by visiting smaller resorts, ideally in low season and sometimes receiving further discounts by buying online or as part of a package with accommodation (frequently offered in North America with the headline price of the ticket meaning the saving seems very high – like ‘half price wine’ in the supermarket).
Even at Zermatt a ‘Zermatt only’ pass which still accesses 185km of slopes and one of the world’s biggest verticals is available for 371 Swiss Francs (£279 / $445 US), and children aged up to 9 or 10 (depending on their birth date) ski free, the world’s most generous season-long child pricing offer which can bring the overall cost for families down below other resorts with lower adult prices. In addition older children to 16 pay half price when at other resorts children often pay 70-80% of the adult price from age 5 and teenagers the full adult price.