On the up: lift passes around the world

An understandable mistake made by anyone booking a ski holiday is to look at the brochure price of flights and accommodation, but fail to take account of the great variety in lift ticket prices at resorts around the world. You can get a cheap self-drive French ski-apartment for a week for less than the cost of the pass to actually ski once you're there.

Families in particular need to be very careful when shopping around for their ski destination because the age at which children start to pay for tickets varies in different countries, as does the age at which children start to pay adult prices (it can be as low as 10). The percentage discount children get on adult prices also varies tremendously. It does take something of a maths genius to work out the family cost for your lift tickets at many resorts.

The French typically make children pay from age four, the youngest in Europe, and right from the start that fee is little less than the full adult price. The Ski Pass Mont Blanc around Chamonix is Europe's most expensive for four-year-olds at €200 (£140) for six days. You can buy a cheaper child ticket for your pre-schooler for a smaller area (minimum €146/£104).

The most generous child pricing in Europe is to be found in Switzerland. Here children usually pay half price or less, right through to the age of 16. Swiss resorts are also the most generous with free tickets for younger kids: at Zermatt, for example, children don't pay anything until age 10, and the SFr168 (£72) fee to age 17 compares rather favourably with most top end French resorts (£111 for your 13-year-old's week in the Three Valleys).

The French have clearly recognised how expensive their lift tickets are for families and more and more are offering "Family Packages" which typically offer more generous age allowances for children (usually up to 17) and give a modest percentage off the total bill. The Three Valleys family six-day pass for two adults and two children is €688 (£493). In Villars, Switzerland, two adult tickets total SFr522 (£223). Children don't pay until age nine and then only SFr145 (£62) each.

If you're looking for a single adult bargain, head for Iran where a week's pass was only £19 at Dizin last winter. This compares favourably with Deer Valley, Utah, where the six-day peak-season pass costs $553 (£291) this winter. In Europe the extremes range from €53 (£38) for a week in Bjelolasica in Croatia to €250 (£179) for a six-day Mont Blanc pass. Of the resorts in the brochures, the best value is offered by St Wolfgang in Austria at £79 (Thomson). Others coming in at under £85 include Saariselkä and Yllas in Finland (both Inghams), Bohinj in Slovenia (Thomson), and Isola 2000 and St Foy in France (Erna Low).

MORE INFORMATION

Bjelolasica (00 385 1 6177 707; www.bjelolasica.hr)

Deer Valley (00 1 435 6491000; www.deervalley.com)

Dizin (00 9821 225 69595; www.skifed.ir)

Erna Low (0870 750 6820; www.ernalow.co.uk)

Inghams (020-8780 4444; www.inghams.co.uk)

Thomson (0870 6061470; www.thomson-ski.co.uk)

3 Valleys (00 33 4 79 08 20 00; www.s3v.com

Villars (00 41 24 4953232; www.villars.ch)

Zermatt (00 41 27 9668100; www.zermatt.ch)

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Day In a Page

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue