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How has the ski industry reacted?
Saturday December 20, 2008 - Email this article to a friend

Tour operators & resorts are breathing a collective sigh of relief – and spinning a little bit.

There is no doubt the early season snowfalls have meant many in the ski industry can sleep easier at night.

The double whammy of the credit crunch and falling exchange rate meant that many in the business feared the worst this winter.

For some people the ski holiday might be the first thing to go as they tightened their economic belts.

Bookings were sluggish in November but now the snow has come and they have picked up.  However, Christmas is not full in many resorts and January is thin too.

shutters_1_400This week the French Trade Minister, Herve Novelli, admitted bookings between January 5th and February 7th were under 50% of resort capacity in the French Alps.

Check out our deals and discounts sections as they will not only give you some great deals but show you that there are still many holidays available.

It’s not quite as rosy as some in the industry are making out at the moment.

For us out in the mountains the thing that strikes us every day, apart from the amazing snow, is the cost of everything.  The fall of the pound has meant everything is Switzerland is about a third more expensive than last year and it’s the same with the Euro.

Last season a 6 day lift pass in Verbier was £150, but now it’s over £200.

shop_400It’s expensive out here and that will affect whether people come and, if they do, how much they spend in the local shops, bars and restaurants.

The tour operators are rightly pointing out that the fall in the exchange rate will not alter brochure prices as they are fixed.  That’s very true and does make a package holiday very attractive, especially if it includes ski hire, lift pass etc as these will all be based on last year’s prices.

However, once you get out here prepare for a shock as you buy lunch, après ski drinks, ski lessons or anything else come to that.

Check out our how to save money guide if you want to keep your costs down.

Also the snow is fantastic but that doesn’t mean it will hold for the rest of the winter so we are urging a little bit of caution.

apres_1_400But for some of course money is not a problem. 

Not everyone is threatened by the credit crunch and some sectors of the economy are doing well.

Last night one of our reporters was getting a bus up to Verbier from the the village of La Chable down in the valley.  Many people couldn’t be bothered to wait 10 minutes for the local bus which costs a few Swiss francs and simply jumped in a taxi that was 10 times more expensive.

But others may want to start saving for the winter of 2009/10 now as next season's prices will be based on current costs. 

Also the brochures are already starting to come out.

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