It has been a funny old year. Recession hit the UK, the pound crashed against the Euro, holidays in the Eurozone became a lot more expensive for Brits, and the Alps received some of the best snowfall for 25 years, with the season opening in style in November and continuing with fantastic conditions until the end of April. So a bit of a mixed bag for British skiers – great snow conditions vs expensive European holidays.
It was not all bad news however. The sheer number of catered chalets available coupled with a significant drop in clients booking early meant that there were a lot of amazing deals available as increasingly desperate chalet operators dropped their prices in an attempt to fill their beds.
With an uncertain climate still anticipating through the British Isles, and based on what happened last year, skiers would be forgiven for thinking that the best thing to do for 2009/2010 would be to wait until the last minute, and try and get a reduced deal. However, if you are serious about your skiing, that could prove to be a mistake.
Based on the poor performance of many chalets during the winter 08/09 season, many chalet operators have dramatically reduced the number of chalets that they will be operating. In simple terms, this means that there will not be enough chalets to go around, especially during the peak weeks. Demand is predicted to massively outstrip supply which could result in price rises of between 10-30% as the season approaches.
Because the news of these chalet cuts have yet to filter through to all the smaller chalet operators and owner run chalet operations, prices at the moment tend to be comparable with last year, or in some cases even cheaper. However, as the season approaches and it becomes clear that it is a seller's market, prices for remaining weeks and beds are predicted to rise sharply. At the moment, there are still some good deals to be found for next winter, even for the New Year and half term weeks. The shrewd skiers are booking now. Says Liz of independent ski holiday portal, All Mountain Holidays;
“Many people think that the thing to do this year is to book late. However, traffic on our site is currently high, and most of the quality chalets are already booked for Christmas, New Year and half term. For many chalet owners, Easter is also selling fast. I think it is going to come as quite a shock to people who leave it until the autumn to book a ski holiday during the school holidays – there will be very little availability, and what will be left will be phenomenally expensive . Even the non school holiday weeks are going to suffer price increases as the season approaches and availability becomes more limited. ”
In order to avoid disappointment next winter, if you can afford to, get a deposit down on your 2009/2010 ski holiday as soon as possible. If you leave it too late, you may find that there is not much choice!