Europe's Best Snow in 10 Year Could 'Save Ski Industry'January 22, 2010 By: Kirk Cassels
Alpine Elements, a tour operator specializing in high altitude ski holidays throughout the French Alps, is encouraging all travelers, particularly those in the United Kingdom and throughout the rest of Europe, to take advantage of the "best snow in 10 years."
"A downturn in the British economy coupled with a weaker pound has led many tour operators to cut their losses and batten down the hatches for a hard ride through 2010," the company said in a statement. "However if you added bad snow into the equation we would surely be seeing many more tour op casualties as the great British public lose all motivation to ski at all!"
Citing that the onset of a "bad snow year" can dent sales volumes by up to 15 percent across the board and up to 40 percent in ski resorts with an highest-altitude point below 4,921 feet when the economy is stable, the tour operator is celebrating that "we have been seeing excellent snow conditions in Europe, and depths in most resorts exceeding 6.5 feet." Alpine Elements added that the recent snowfall surprises in Europe have encouraged many to still travel to the Alps— even in a recession.
Alpine Elements is also quick to point out that this hasn't been the case across the pond, such as resorts in British Columbia closing down due to rain (which is a shame considering the 2010 Winter Olympics site experienced record-setting snowfall as recently as November. With many tour operators in Europe relying on lower ski destinations, a year of poor snow would have crippled their operation which relies upon such slim industry margins— circa 7-10 percent.
"A bad snow year would have made this a reality for significantly more companies, and in turn would have disappointed a large proportion of traveling skiers this year," the tour operator said. "The larger operators and independents have had to weather two years of increased costs and a lower average selling price (ASP) of their ski holidays."
Although the plethora of snow has raised the spirit of Alpine Elements, the company warns tour operators and travelers that each year can be different. "The fact remains that a poor snow year is forever a threat, especially to the lower resorts without a link to higher slopes for their skiing," the company said. "Our advice can only be to ski at altitude, never choose a resort where 60 percent of their skiing is below 4,921 feet and always buy a package to avoid hefty currency costs abroad."