Erna Low sold to student ski specialist

26th June 2019, by Abi Butcher

A wall mural at the London office of Erna Low, one of the pioneers of British ski holidays

A wall mural at the London office of Erna Low, one of the pioneers of British ski holidays

Ski tour operator Erna Low has been sold — to NUCO Travel, a Cheshire-based company specialising in university and student holidays. It’s a move that has raised eyebrows among the ski industry, but NUCO Travel describes itself as “a revolution for the future of ski holidays”, and is a company in which Erna Low’s outgoing CEO Joanna Yellowlees-Bound is already a minority shareholder.

Austrian national Erna Low was one of the pioneers of the ski holiday, organising her first trip in 1932, taking five British clients to Solden in Austria for just £15 for full board, rail travel, ski hire and a German lesson. After the war, Erna Low became one of the first to offer chalet ski holidays, following success in English house party rentals, launching “The Erna Low Travel Service” in 1947.

The company continued to expand — representing La Plagne, Flaine and Les Arcs to the UK market — and specialising in French ski holidays, for which it is best known best today. In 1980, Erna Low was joined by Joanna Yellowlees-Bound, who has owned the company since its founder’s retirement in the late 1990s.

Erna Low skiing with friends in the 1940s. Credit:

Ms Yellowlees-Bound will now herself retire, but Erna Low’s current managing director Jane Bolton will continue to head up the ski tour operator, and the company will remain at its London office — NUCO Travel is based in Cheadle.

Ms Yellowlees-Bound said: “Just as Erna favoured me to take over her life’s work, I am now delighted to pass on the mantle to the next generation, and who better than an innovative and thriving ski company such as NUCO Travel, which I have known since its inception and where I am a minority shareholder.

“With Erna Low Travel managing director Jane Bolton ensuring our values remain a priority, I know the company will continue to blossom as part of the NUCO family.”

NUCO Travel’s managing director Danny Nugent added: “I am excited to bring Erna Low which is such a respected family brand, with their experienced and talented team, into the NUCO family. I know both companies will benefit from working together and look forward to ensuring even more snowsports enthusiasts enjoy the very best holidays with us.”

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