Swiss Ski Resorts Optimistic About Winter

Tourist officials are quietly optimistic that, this winter, Switzerland's ski resorts can ride out the bumpy economic crisis, Swiss news site is reporting.

Many resorts report bookings for the Christmas, New Year and February school holidays at similar levels to last winter. Swiss ski resorts felt the pinch last winter with overnight stays down by 6.4 percent from January to August 2009, compared with the same period in 2008. This follows a steady increase since 2003 and the "best winter ever" in 2007-2008, with 16 million overnight stays, according to Switzerland Tourism.

Cornelia Lindner, head of public relations at Davos-Klosters tourism, said that confirmed reservations in the region are up on last year. Other resorts like Arosa, Grindelwald, Gstaad, Adelboden, Engelberg, Laax, Blatten-Belalp, Reideralp and Bettmeralp have similar stories.

"It's hard to get a precise overview as people are making more and more last-minute bookings," explained Switzerland Tourism spokesperson Veronique Kanel. The winter season heavily depends on snow conditions."

Resorts are hoping for a repeat of last season when snow started falling across most of the country in early October and continued well into April.