Just in time for winter season Snow-Online.com publishes yet again a big comparative study concerning the development of lift ticket prices in Europe and North America. The price for a day lift ticket for adults in the main season this winter and the last two winters in more than 250 ski resorts are used here as a basis of comparison. Our results: On an average the prices are climbing again similar to last year with an increase of 2.51 %. Bigger surprises were found concerning the cross-country comparison.
For the first time ever price reduction on the day ski pass
Incredible, but true. Never before during this comparison have we encountered ski resorts that haven't actually raised the prices but decreased them. A total of six resorts have lowered their prices, for example Bormio and Santa Caterina Valfurva in Italy or the Crystal Mountain Resort in the US. Another 60 ski areas have kept their prices the same, which are 20 regions more than last year. In this category we have Balderschwang in Germany, St. Johann in Tyrol and the Alyeska Resort in the US. Schwemmalm Ultental in Italy has also kept things as they were, even though last year it was one of the resort with the biggest increases! In that same category we are also happy to announce that more than 30 skiing regions in Switzerland have stuck to their prices for example Zermatt, Engelberg Titlis or the Aletsch Arena.
Overall, however, the prices have increased. On average the day ski pass prices were raised by about 2.51%. In the past year this increase was at 2.58%. Smaller increases were seen mostly in French ski resorts, like La Clusaz or Le Grand Bornand. Yet, also in the Italian resort Carezza and in the Austrian region of Ramsau am Dachstein the prices were increased by less than a Euro. In 90 skiing regions the prices were raised by exactly one Euro ( 1.10 USD). And almost 60 ski resorts were not too subtle with price increases of 2 Euros (2.20 USD) or more.
On the very top of the list this year are Tamarack Resort and Lutsen Mountains in the US as well as Fieberbrunn in Austria. Fieberbrunn has just combined its skiing area with Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang and became one of the largest ski resorts in all of Austria. Now visitors can use almost 270 kilometers of trails for winter sports. The increase of 9.50 EUR (10.8 USD) for the day lift ticketis therefore justifiable. In Tamarack Resort there are better snowmaking systems installed now and an improved infrastructure. At Lutsen Mountains the new Moose Mountain Gondola will be opened.
Fewer increases in Switzerland and Italy
For the third time in a row Switzerland was ranked the best in the country comparison. Here the day lift ticket prices increase amounts to only 0.72% or that is to say 0.39 CHF (0.61 USD) more. Be aware that the Swiss franc has abandoned its cap against the Euro and has experienced a significant upgrading of 30% since January 2015 in comparison to the Euro. So even though the Swiss resorts have not increased the rates that much, vacationing in Switzerland is nevertheless not going be cheap.
Second place this time goes to Italy. Here the prices were increased by 1.41 % or rather 0.59 EUR ( 0.67 USD) more. In comparison the Italian ski resorts used to be in the top ranks considering their price increases of about 3% in the past. Third place is awarded to France with price increases of 2.09 % or 0.75 EUR (0.85 USD) more on the ticket price.
Austria, Germany as well as the US and Canada are raising the prices drastically. In Austria a day ski pass costs on average 3.26 % (or rather 1.33 EUR /1.51 USD) more than the year before. In Germany we are looking at an increase of 4.08 % which would mean about 1.30 EUR (1.47 USD ) more. The US has raised prices as well with a percentage of 3.73 or that is to say 2.93 USD more. At the very top of the list of price increases you will find Canada with an increase of 4.94 % which is about 3.86 CAD (2.97 USD) more.
0.82 EUR per kilometer of trails
If you compare the prices with the number of kilometers of trails you will get an average price of 0.82 EUR (0.93 USD). Last winter the price was (0.80 EUR) (0.90 US) while in season 2013/2014 it was only 0.79 EUR (0.89 USD ). You will get the most for your money at the mega ski resort Portes du Soleil. Here you pay 0.08 EUR (0.09 USD) per kilometer of trails. On second place repeatedly you will find the French association Les 3 Vallées with 0.09 EUR (0.10 USD) per kilometer. The resort Ski Arlberg in Austria has also been awarded a good place in the ranking with a price of 0.15 EUR (0.17 USD) per kilometer.
The price performance ratio only seems to be a lot better in larger resorts than in the smaller regions. You need to take into account that you may not be able to ski all of 600 kilometers of piste in one day meaning you will need more than a daily ski pass. Considering this the price performance ratio works in favor of the smaller ski resorts.
Trends in the long-term comparison
In the comparison of the current ski pass prices during the last two winter seasons there is a price increase of 2.6 % in the nearly 250 ski resorts. In about 30 there hasn't been an increase in almost two years, for example Gstaad in Switzerland, Bardonecchia in Italy or Grosseck Speiereck in Austria. The Swiss region of Davos Klosters, Serre Chevalier in France, Oberstaufen Hündle in Germany as well as the Bergbahnen See in Austria have all performed very well on the cross country comparison. Here the prices have been barely increased by a Euro or even less than that. Strong yearly price changes were mostly seen in the winter sport regions in the US and Canada with increases of 17 percent.
Lift ticket prices in the future? For the next couple of years there are predictions of an average of 2.5%. Reasons could be the high investment costs of the lift operators. Maintenance and renovation of the lifts and snow making systems, the merge of different ski resorts and extension as well as improvement of the infrastructure involve expenses of millions and millions of dollars which need to be compensated with increases in lift ticket prices.