An on-the-spot survey of mountain restaurants recently found that lunch in a Swiss resort could cost twice as much as lunch in an Italian one

Snow's Up

I doubt that many skiers need me to repeat the message that Italy is the only place in the Alps where prices have not risen uncomfortably in recent years. But what may be worth emphasising - at least for the benefit of those who have yet to commit themselves to a ski holiday - is the size of the gulf that has opened up between Italy and the rest.

In mid-December, an on-the-spot survey of mountain restaurant prices commissioned by Where to Ski found that lunch in a major Swiss resort could cost almost twice as much as in a major Italian one, with France coming a close second and even Austria working out closer to Switzerland than to Italy.

The survey showed that a satisfying mountain lunch of pasta with wine or beer followed by a fruit tart typically cost pounds 14.50 in a Swiss resort such as Verbier, pounds 12.50 in a French resort such as Tignes, pounds 11.50 in an Austrian resort such as St Anton, but only pounds 7.50 in an Italian resort such as Courmayeur or Selva.

The detailed findings of the survey contain some messages of interest even to those with their holiday bookings already tied up. One is to beware the swanky restaurant in the otherwise reasonably priced area. The most expensive meal consumed by the researchers assiduously lunching their way around the Alps was not in Switzerland or France, but in Austria, in St Christoph, over the hill from St Anton, where they paid pounds 21 each for a two-course meal based on spare ribs and a baked potato. The other side of the coin is that it is usually possible to find restaurants charging "ordinary" prices (ie ordinary inflated ski-resort prices) even in resorts that are generally regarded as expensive.

A close look at individual prices shows that Switzerland owes its top- rank position mainly to the high cost of main-course dishes - even straightforward filling dishes such as spaghetti bolognese can be disproportionately expensive. Soups, snacks, tarts, sandwiches and drinks are not necessarily more expensive than elsewhere. And bear in mind that Swiss main courses can be big enough to be shared between two, if the budget is tight.

Not everything on the Italian price front is good news. At about 2,400 lire to the pound, the Italian exchange rate is much the same as it was in early 1994. But the pound is over 12 per cent down on the rate in spring 1995, which formed the basis of most package holiday pricing; if you've booked with an operator whose conditions permit surcharges, you can expect to pay them. Happily, most of the larger operators are committed to fixed prices regardless of exchange rate movements.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent