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

Sunday, 13 September 2015

ALPINE LEGENDS: Marketing the mega resorts

The first snowfalls have started to appear on the tops.  The new edition of Where to Ski and Snowboard is out.  Britain itself faces "months" of heavy snow.  Time to look ahead to season 2015/2016.

Val Thorens last week. Source: Val Thorens Tourist Office

The big marketing news is the arrival of the new Alpine Legends pass.  The chance to enjoy Paradiski, Espace Killy and the 3 Valleys on a single ticket.  In return for a 340€ six-day pass, the winter visitor now can now take advantage of the 391 lifts, 1300 ski runs, 5 glaciers the three areas have to offer.

"It's a unique product with a unique target market", says the website sniffily, in response to the "FAQ" asking why there are no discounts for children, seniors or groups.  Quite what that target market is, who knows.

Here are the prices for day tickets in each of the mega-areas covered:

Espace Killy: €54€
Paradiski €57 (50€ for Les Arcs/Peisey only)
3 Valleys: €59

By my maths, the cost of simply buying day passes in the area you want to ski in is practically identical, but maybe I am missing something.  I imagine relatively few people will want to ski in one area in the morning and another in the afternoon?  Even rally driving from Les Granges above Arc 1600 to Les Brevieres at Tignes is still likely to take an hour or so out of the day....

Note: if you are visiting Les Arcs for the week, you'd be far better spending a day in La Rosiere or Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise than trekking up to Tignes - the two smaller resorts offering a change of pace and a different experience.

Anyway, it all seems harmless marketing spin, and with the decline in the  ski market witnessed in recent years, everyone is thinking about how they can increase their market share and/or win back some of the lost skiers.

There is now a real gulf in prices between the big league resorts and the next level down.  A 6 day Paradiski pass will set you back €291.  Set his against relative neighbours Les Saisies, Le Norma and Aussois, and the southern resorts of Auron, Isola 2000 and Le Sauze.  These are all credible resorts, which were all offering six-day passes for under €150 last season.


  1. Compagnie des Alpes has the most strange strategy. While USA and Austria through co-operation offers competitive ski-passes covering huge areas CDA - who owns and controls their areas - seems they do not want to use their unique means of competition. Even worse, for 2015-16 they removed the possibility for one day skiing in each Espace Killy and Trois Valley when buying a 6 or 7 day Les Arcs "discovery" pass. One of the main reasons I bougt a place in Les Arcs was the possibility to conveniantly ski the whole Tarantaise :-(

  2. Interesting - I hadn't spotted that. Presumably a casualty of the launch of the "Alpine Legends" pass? Some other odd aspects of the pricing strategy include barely any discount for buying 2 or 3 days rather than a day pass...

  3. I'll write and complain to CDA. This is a ridicolus "offer" in the mindset of the 1980's Telco monopolies.... :-(