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)

PROMOTED VIDEO
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: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible