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  • Snow Go

    09/01/2012

    It is time for skiers to have another look at the Swiss Alps for a high quality snow holiday. Terrified by the avalanche of press about the dizzy heights reached by Swiss Francs against all other currencies, powder hounds schussed off to France, Austria and Italy. But there has been a marked change in conditions since the season started and this is when serious snow-lovers can discover equally serious value for money holidays.

    Nobody can deny that back in September or October when ski holiday bookings usually start gathering momentum that Switzerland was left standing. The Swiss have been losing their competitive edge for the past 3 or 4 years thanks to the steady strengthening of the currency. Back in 2007 and 2008 the British were swooping down the slopes, gaily spending sterling to hire Stöckli skis on the piste and buying bottles of fendant off-piste. That was when £1 got you CHF2.2.

    But the great financial turmoil since then has made international investors head for safety. The more they converted into Swiss Francs, the higher the currency soared. By the time it reached CHF1.2 to the £1, skiers had really taken fright. They know that they have to calculate the cost of travel, accommodation, lift pass, ski hire, ski lessons, food, drink and insurance. So it is hardly surprising that that when they started booking their 2012 ski holidays, they gave Switzerland the cold shoulder.

    The same thing was happening with visitors who wanted to convert Euros. They too decided that they had other holiday options elsewhere in the Alps or Dolomites. However, by September last year the Swiss Central Bank had had enough and it intervened to cap the strength of the Swiss Franc. And that was when many other service providers – from ski hire shops to ski schools -- decided to follow the Bank’s lead and go out to yodel foreign skiers back to Swiss slopes.

    From its former conservative, understated approach, the country is quietly switching into proactive, go-getting mode. You do not need to look hard to find all manner of tempting offers now. For instance, SBB, the Swiss Rail Company is offering a host of good deals this month including “RailAway”. This is a tempting offer of up to 50 per cent discount on return travel to selected ski resorts on Switzerland’s excellent public transport plus a similar discount on a 2-day lift pass. As the transport system is fully integrated and you can hop on a train at Geneva airport, for instance, to your destination even it means catching a bus up to your resort, this is a pretty big deal.

    You will also find that at resort level, relatively small companies have endorsed the new spirit of enterprise. Book the right accommodation and you could be able to swing a big discount of up to 20 per cent off ski hire. And you would also be able to get the same discount on ski lessons. With half term holidays coming up, these kinds of deals make sense.

    The exchange rate has been moving back in skiers’ favour ever since September. It is currently around CHF1.46/£1. That is a level at which you no longer need gasp. Having said that, Switzerland never was, is not and will never be a place for “budget” holidays. Those who are looking for skiing on a shoestring will need to look elsewhere because Swiss quality is not cheap. Nevertheless, now that the Swiss Franc is back into reasonable orbit, you can once again contemplate a top notch ski break among the yodellers. That is if you can see them for snow. It has been dumping in the Swiss Alps since mid-December with a ferocity not seen in years. You will also be able to enjoy unnaturally quiet slopes. What are you waiting for?

    For more info on holidays with Secret Alps please take a look at the link below

    Luxury ski accommodation Nendaz



 
 

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