50 YEARS OF LES ARCS: Click on the photo for an instant briefing

Sunday, 30 September 2012


The economic crisis has brought with it a sharp decline in the number of Brits on the pistes, and some quite marked changes in where we go.  The clear winner in this difficult market is Austria - click here for a handy guide to the resorts.

The most comprehensive set of data over time comes from Crystal, who seem to be compiling the information on the market in a reasonably consistent way.  Here's the 2012 report.

The headline is that the total number of British skiers in 2011/12 was 894,700, a 1.8% decline on the previous season.  

However, this compares to 1,227,000 in 2007/8, so we are talking about a 27% fall compared with pre-crisis.  Indeed there are now fewer Brits going skiing than there were in 2000/01, when 921,000 hit the slopes.

Crystal's figures show 57% going with an operator, and 30% travelling independently. They also report a decline in the school market, something which @ernalow highlight as a cause for concern in their analysis of the data.

By county, there are some big changes.  Here's the Top 7 in 2011/12:

La Thuile, Piemonte

1. FRANCE: 34.6%
2. AUSTRIA: 27.9
3. ITALY: 15.4
4. Andorra: 6.5
5. Switzerland: 4.9
6. USA/Canada: 4.5
7. Bulgaria: 2.7

And, back in 2006/7:

1. FRANCE: 37.1
2. AUSTRIA: 19.0
3. ITALY: 13.8
4. Andorra: 11.1
5. USA/Canada: 7.9
6. Switzerland: 5.1
7. Bulgaria: 2.8

By my maths, this means that the total number of skiers going to Austria has risen, from 130,000 to 143,000.  Although their market share is down on 5 years ago, France has improved its relative position, and with the Compagnie des Alpes increasingly in charge of the show, and the quality of accommodation still improving, does look ready to hold its own at the very least.

The picture in Switzerland, on the other hand, is quite acute, with the latest release glumly reporting a 30% fall on 2008/9.  See this report from @Planetski, including details - and a promotional video - of what the Swiss are doing to fight back.  The North Americans, meanwhile, are having a terrible time, and investment in infrastructure is now at its worst for years.  Crystal do report, however, that Whistler is doing well.

Aiguille Rouge, Les Arcs - looking towards Tignes

Another way of looking at this data comes from @skipedia, who recently reported on the total number of skier days - this being the metric used more in Europe as a benchmark. This shows a 17% decline since 2007/8, from 8.5m to 7.1m.

1 comment:

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    We founded SkiReports.com in 2011 with the mission to inform avid skiers and snowboarders of what's happening on the mountain. Information including weather, snow reports, and user-feedback from mountain helps us evaluate where we head to once we load up our ski racks. Through a simple interface, we can deliver information in a kick-ass format that is easy to understand and evaluate.

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