Swiss resorts fight the franc

29th November 2011, by Chris Gill

St Mortiz - high class, but there are ways to save ...  [St Moritz Tourism]

St Mortiz - high class, but there are ways to save ... [St Moritz Tourism]

With Switzerland ranked the most expensive place to ski in the Alps this winter, and the exchange rates poor recently, the resorts are finding ways to ease the holiday cost and keep the Brits coming to their slopes.

The country fears people will stay away because of the survey result and subsequent publication; indeed Switzerland comes in as most expensive in the WTSS Resort Price Index, which includes costs for lift passes, tuition and rental equipment. But Swiss officials were delighted when St Moritz won best ski area in Europe at the recent British Travel Awards. And there are plenty of ways to save money on a Swiss holiday this winter: it needn’t break the budget.

Firstly, the Swiss tourist board has put together cost-cutting offers and tips, suggesting resorts with inexpensive hotels to family lift pass savings. You can also save up to 35% on various hotel stays with the current offer – such as three nights in Flims from £340 half board, or 4 nights at the 4-star Reine in St Moritz for £440. Check them out here>>

Book by the end of the month and the Swiss Travel is also offering good discounts on accommodation and transport, including a free half fare rail card worth £90 and 10% off all of their ski holidays.

Family lift passes and discounts are a good way to save money, and some resorts are better than others for giving a choice. The Switzerland Tourism website lists the areas where day passes for a family of four can be bought for under £90.

In some resorts, children up to nine years of age ski for free, but there are also discounts for older children. And it’s worth considering smaller resorts, where not only is there a discount but you’ll skip the crowds too. Meiringen proved our cheapest Swiss resort, in our study, and is ideal for families.

The Jungfrau region has recently announced free ski days when you book a stay of three nights or more at participating hotels – so you’d pay for two nights and get one free. The offer is only valid during the early and late season weeks, and through January (mainly Grindelwald and Wengen). They already offer free skiing to children every Saturday.

In Davos, they are offering free ski passes for the Jakobshorn until Christmas – of course, they are hoping that the forecast snow arrives as promised. At present the whole country is suffering a snow-drought.

In another move to attract British visitors, Switzerland Tourism has teamed up with leading tour operators Inghams and Crystal, with incentives such as two-for-one lift pass offers up for grabs when you pre-book a 7-night holiday. For example: Book a January departure to Saas-Fee and get a free pass worth around £250 (CHF 350). Inghams has slashed the prices of New Year and early January holidays in their current sale. Villars starts at £223 for 7-nights departing 7 January.


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