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Head east to halve the cost of family skiing

22nd November 2010 Print

News that snow is falling in the Alps is likely to start a downhill dash by families to bag the best deals on a skiing holiday - especially as resort prices have risen by up to 15 per cent in Europe and North America, according to the Post Office Family Ski Resort Report 2010. However, cash-strapped families can halve the cost of their annual ski trip by swapping ski resorts and heading past the Alps to Bulgaria or Slovenia.

Produced in conjunction with the leading winter sports resort guide Where to Ski and Snowboard (, the Post Office Travel Money Family Ski Resort Report checked prices for ski holiday essentials - equipment, lift passes and ski school - in 10 ski resorts across Europe and North America and added family food and drinks costs.

With an estimated 40,000 families expected to head for the slopes this winter - an increase of 20 per cent in the past five years, the survey found that parents can best avoid breaking the bank by choosing Bansko in Bulgaria. At £1,002.69, its prices were under half those in Wengen, Switzerland (£2,015.59).

A sterling slump of almost nine per cent against the Swiss franc together with a hike in the cost of food and drinks made Wengen 14 per cent more expensive than last year and the highest-priced European ski resort surveyed.

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: "Families who want to save money should look hard at exchange rates before booking their skiing trip. Sterling’s weakness will make Swiss ski trips an expensive choice this year, compared with its main competitors France, Austria and Italy, where the euro’s value has dipped."

Ellmau in Austria was lowest priced of the big four European ski destinations. At £1.378.53, prices are now 18 per cent cheaper than France, even though Les Menuires, the French resort chosen by the Where to Ski and Snowboard team, registered the lowest year on year price increase of the 10 surveyed (+2 per cent).

Slovenia’s Kranjska Gora emerged as cheapest in the eurozone (£1,101.21), nine per cent more expensive than Bansko. The emerging Eastern European resort is cheapest by far for ski school - a big consideration for parents with novice child skiers to budget for. At £264.81, a six day course cost 28 per cent less than in Bansko and just over one-third (36 per cent) the price of a similar series of lessons in Wengen.

Families considering transatlantic trips to ski resorts in the USA and Canada will need to plan and budget carefully as prices have risen steeply by 15 per cent. This makes the family-friendly resorts of Winter Park, Colorado and Fernie in the Canadian Rockies most expensive overall in the Post Office survey. Like Wengen, Fernie’s price rise is largely because the pound has fallen 10 per cent against the Canadian dollar.

Sarah Munro said: "Although resort prices have risen across the board this year, there is still good value to be found if parents plan trips carefully. Resort-switching to cheaper options like Bansko or Kranjska Gora, which have benefited from heavy investment in ski facilities, can have a massively beneficial impact on the family purse. So too can changing from high to low season. Ski holiday prices can be slashed by avoiding the February school half term in favour of a Christmas4 or pre-Easter trip.

"While checking exchange rates and resort-swapping will help families keep a lid on ski costs, there are other ways to avoid pouring pounds down the plughole, starting by changing holiday cash in advance rather than getting a poor rate at the airport."

Skiers can purchase euros at over 8,500 Post Office bureau de change branches, while the Swiss franc, Canadian dollar and Bulgarian lev are available on demand at over 1,600 branches. An additional 2,600 branches stock US dollars and all the currencies featured in the report can be pre-ordered for next day branch collection or home delivery at all 12,000 Post Office branches as well as online at

The Post Office also offers a range of travel insurance policies with optional Winter Sports cover, which provides extra protection against injury, damaged or stolen winter sports equipment and piste closure. Travel insurance policies are available directly at 8,000 Post Office branches or via

At the recent British Travel Awards, the Post Office was named ‘Best Foreign Exchange Provider/Travel Money Retailer’ by the UK public for the fourth consecutive year at the British Travel Awards and Best Insurance Provider for the fifth year.