Skiers warned to book early for next winter

17th March 2021, by Abi Butcher

Chalet Dharkoum in Courchevel is being offered 'contactless' by Ski France

Chalet Dharkoum in Courchevel is being offered 'contactless' by Ski France

Skiers are being warned not to expect to find last-minute deals next season because demand for ski holidays next winter is currently so high.

Across the board, companies and tour operators are reporting extraordinary levels of interest in ski holidays next season, the highest we’ve heard so far is Le Ski and Le Ski, saying bookings are up an incredible five times higher than usual for this time of year. The big operators of Crystal Ski Holidays, Hotelplan (Inghams, Ski Total and Esprit) and Club Med have all reported phenomenal early-booking demand.

Skiworld has already sold out of catered chalets in Paradiski for next Christmas and spokesman Rob Dixon warns: “Skiers need to get in quick as catered chalets are in short supply, and hotels and apartments are also being heavily booked by the rest of Europe who are also desperate to ski next season and have had their holidays deferred too.”

He added: “Sales are very strong for 21/22 due to a combination of both deferred bookings and strong early bookings. We have no catered chalets available for that week in either La Plagne or Les Arcs. We do have some spaces in other resorts but can only offer self-catering properties and hotels and we are still 10 months away from 20 December, when the Christmas customers will travel out.”

Easter next year is also going to be sold out early, because of the way the dates combine with French holidays, says Cathy Rankin, UK sales and marketing manager at the Pierre & Vacances group.

“Consumers need to be aware that there are unlikely to many bargain weeks next season – if price is important look at pre-Christmas, mid-January and possibly the second two weeks of March as being the lead in weeks,” said Rankin. “ Easter is later and in sync with Paris holidays so demand and supply will be affected.”

While contactless catering is being offered by many companies, and self-catering is more popular as a result of Covid, companies offering traditional catered chalets say demand is extra strong because there will be fewer catered chalets operating next winter, and fewer flight options.

Elizabeth Cahir of the family businesses Stanford Skiing, which operates in Megève, said they too had more bookings than usual for this time of year. She said: “There’s more interest in self-catering than in previous years but I suspect that our regular guests will continue to want their catered chalet holiday with the same service they’ve always had from our friendly, helpful staff.”

Dan Fox at Ski Weekends, which is only operating catered chalets next season said they are experiencing their best level of early bookings ever — “easily” five times ahead of normal and that demand is going to outstrip supply next winter.

“These are new bookings, not ones carried over from the current winter or the one before,” said Fox, adding: “ The reality is that demand will outstrip supply in some sectors this winter. The number or true catered chalet beds is more than halved. Tens of thousands of skiers have moved their holiday to next winter taking up huge numbers of beds. Across the market capacity is greatly reduced, it not just beds it’s about flight seats too, there are many less charters with the big operators.”

He concluded: “If you want a particular date, resort or there is a group of you, don’t wait for discounts, they will be very limited this winter and flight prices will only go up.”

For a selection of the latest deals for skiing next winter, check out Where to Ski and Snowboard’s BARGAINS page.

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