Skiing has never been cheap. Not least for British skiers, given the distance involved and therefore the need to spend a few days in the mountains. Witness the sharp fall in Brits taking to the slopes, from 1,227,000 in 2007/8 to 899,000 last year.
Meanwhile, Where to Ski and Snowboard has taken a systematic view in recent years. It calculates an a "RPI" for each resort, based on a basket of indicators. The "average" score is 100, with Ste-Foy (85) and Val Cenis (80) emerging as the best value of the bigger French resorts.
|A week's Paradiski pass will set you back €277|
For short breaks, the cheapest option is to stay down in the valley. Bourg St Maurice, is one of the most obvious options, with funicular railway or easy bus access to Les Arcs/La Plagne, La Rosiere, Tignes and Val d'Isere. (That said, the choice of hotels is limited). Albertville may not be everyone's idea of heaven, but it's very close to Valmorel, Crest Voland and Areches-Beaufort. Annecy is a more mainstream and probably sensible base, with Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz and Le Semnoz close by.
And for the day-tripping skier, the enterprising www.ausommet.fr has put together a handy guide. The chart the prices being charged by the various resorts. Note: a significant proportion are owned by Compagnie des Alpes, who, by clever pricing, managed to increase revenues by 3% last year, thereby outpacing the modest 1% rise in skier numbers - more here. In that vein perhaps, we see that prices are still rising, particularly in Les 3 Valleés, at 57€, beats Chamonix to the "most expensive" prize by 50 centimes.
The costs may be eye-watering, but generally the hierarchy seems reasonable (eg Valmorel's Grand Domaine and La Rosiere's Espace San Bernadino are priced similarly). Bonneval sur Arc comes in perhaps as best value: 24€ for a ski area with slopes from 1800-3000m.