Skiers heading back to US and Canada

29th January 2014, by Abi Butcher

Whistler remains the top destination in Canada for British skiers

Whistler remains the top destination in Canada for British skiers

Skiing in North America has suffered some terrible fortune in recent years, but this season looks to be a record-breaker.

Last year, 11% more skiers and snowboarders visited US ski areas than in 2011/2012, the largest year-on-year increase in 30 years, but this month resorts are reporting strong Christmas figures — including Aspen Snowmass, which has just enjoyed its busiest Christmas since 2006.

While much of this tourism is domestic, the number of British skiers heading to North America is on the increase. Though the area has seen a drop over recent years, UK tour operators who take skiers to the USA and Canada are growing increasingly optimistic, too.

Canada looks to be out-performing the US at present, with Whistler continuing to be the one resort able to buck the economic downturn and attract UK skiers in numbers, but other destinations are working hard to appeal with incentives and offers on lodging.

Kathryn Munro, managing director of Canadian Affair, says bookings are up 40% on this time last year.

“A number of factors are driving this big jump in bookings including the excellent snow in Canada, the advantageous exchange rates where the pound is worth 15% more against the Canadian dollar than this time last year, and a greater level of confidence that we are clearly noticing from our customers,” said Munro.

Whistler continues to lead the way in terms of market share but the Colorado resorts are seeing a resurgence, most likely due to the superb snow so far, says Michael Bennett, managing director of Ski Independence.

“The exchange rate has leapt to around CAD 1.80 to the pound – we haven’t seen these levels since mid 2009 meaning better value all round for British skiers,” he added.

Skiworld and Frontier Ski both report a higher than usual number of late bookings — particularly on luxury lodgings — which they also put down to the snow and some superb offers.

Sandra Potter of Frontier, which has changed its focus to more upmarket holidays this year, says there is already “plenty of interest” in Canada for next season. Her comments are echoed by Louise Newton of Inghams, which has frozen prices to North America for 2014/15, and has some great deals available for skiers who book before 30 June this year.

For great deals to the US and Canada, as well as Europe, visit our bargains page.

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