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BBC article on the state of the ski industry.

 Poster: A snowHead
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Peter S wrote:
Someone here must have access to some facts about UK ski participation. Does anyone work in the holiday industry and have data about younger participation ?
I donít suppose we have data about snow heads age cohorts?

Might find that we are all middle aged Shocked


From the Laurant Vanat report on the Uk:

Every year there are more than one million
skiers who travel to the Alps or other destinations for winter sports. Even if it lost some of its market share, France is still the most popular country
among British skiers, accounting for more than one third of travellers.
Austria is ranked second, capturing about 25% of the British skier market.
Next is Italy (about 14%), then Andorra (about 6%), which is on a par with
Switzerland (also about 6%), North America (less than 5%) and Bulgaria
(about 4%). British skiers used to travel primarily through tour operators
(with several major firms specialized in winter ski travel) but now
increasingly arrange their own travel and book their own accommodations,
or even stay in properties either they or their friends own. For the 2012/13
season, 54% of British skiers claimed that they booked their trip
independently. Market analysis picked up a slight upturn in outbound
traveller numbers.

Estimates are 6.34 million national skiers.

According to leading surveys, the amount of visitors peaked at 1.4 million for the 2007/08 winter; it
dropped to 1.1 million for the 2010/11 and 2011/12 winters



More relavent maybe source SKi CLub GB: http://www.skipedia.co.uk/2014/09/the-ski-club-of-great-britain-industry-report-2014/

80% of Uk skiers aged over 40???

http://www.skipedia.co.uk/2014/09/the-ski-club-of-great-britain-industry-report-2014/
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Markymark29,
Quote:

@snowymum, The whole thing is bunkum in my view, just more drivel spewing out of the BBC......must have been a slow news day after all the Royal Wedding splurge cheered up post-Brexit Britain for 24 hours, and we fell out of love for the US with Trump at the helm (again) so the BBC come out with no-news story about skiing.

I see loads of development going on whenever I go on winter-sports holidays, it's a growing sport and if Brits don't go there's plenty of affluent eastern Balkans and ex-eastern block Europeans, and more than a few Chinese folks who will be skiing if the Brits all die off starving in 20 years time......if I had a spare coffers i'd be buying in a ski resort tomorrow as an investment rather than a UK based pension fund.


I really can't understand why you are having a go at the BBC. Their report is based upon hard evidence (French ski visits down 3.5%) while yours is based upon ..... what? "Ooooh look... There's a new building!" Nobody has suggested that investment isn't happening, and indeed other reports have argued that this is one of the problems. Resorts are investing beyond theor means in an attempt to retain their slice of a pie that is not growing as fast as previously. The report and the BBC also make clear that
Quote:
there's plenty of affluent eastern Balkans and ex-eastern block Europeans, and more than a few Chinese folks
. So, which bits of the article/report are bunkum?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Peter S wrote:
Someone here must have access to some facts about UK ski participation. Does anyone work in the holiday industry and have data about younger participation ?
I donít suppose we have data about snow heads age cohorts?

Might find that we are all middle aged Shocked

http://www.vanat.ch/RM-world-report-2017-vanat.pdf

See page 17 for some, but not all, information ...
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Thanks for those links.

80% over 40 is perhaps concerning !
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Quote:
... if the Brits all die off starving in 20 years time......


As some MPs might be thinking, why wait rolling eyes
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Markymark29 wrote:
Quote:

What I find hard to follow is that if skier numbers are going down why is so much building taking place in the alps? Every resort in France seems to have plans to add another few 1000 beds.. who is going to fill all the capacity that is being added?

@snowymum, The whole thing is bunkum in my view, just more drivel spewing out of the BBC......must have been a slow news day after all the Royal Wedding splurge cheered up post-Brexit Britain for 24 hours, and we fell out of love for the US with Trump at the helm (again) so the BBC come out with no-news story about skiing.

I see loads of development going on whenever I go on winter-sports holidays, it's a growing sport and if Brits don't go there's plenty of affluent eastern Balkans and ex-eastern block Europeans, and more than a few Chinese folks who will be skiing if the Brits all die off starving in 20 years time......if I had a spare coffers i'd be buying in a ski resort tomorrow as an investment rather than a UK based pension fund.


There was basically zero development in the French Alps from 2008 to 2014, from what I've been told by French immo agents. As the French economy has picked up, so has building. I think the local French market is not the same as the "British skiers who travel to the Alps" market. We have gone to Saisies for half-term the last three years, and last year was absolutely socked in, filled up, bursting at the seams. Probably 98% French with a few Dutch, Russians and random Germans who forgot where Austria was.
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@Pasigal, Development activity is not the same as skier visits, which have been declining in France for several years. Some of this will be due to poor December snow in recent years, but there is certainly concern that this is a more structural issue
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@Pasigal, Lots of leaseback apartments were built between 2008 and 2014 - eg. all the MGM apartments run by CGH.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
If Alps prices you out of skiing there, then go to Pyrenees or Eastern Europe.


I have no interest in going somewhere second rate because it is cheaper. If I could not afford to go where I wanted, I'd not go at all.
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Pasigal wrote:
. As the French economy has picked up, so has building.


Yes. Huge money is being spent on up-market hotels and apartment blocks in major resorts and wealthy punters are there to fill them. The future isn't more skiers, it is fewer skiers spending more money. What may go are the second-tier resorts.
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snowymum wrote:
@Pasigal, Lots of leaseback apartments were built between 2008 and 2014 - eg. all the MGM apartments run by CGH.


I did see some of that -- corporations like MGM can take the long view and build through economic cycles, largely tied to their financing schedules, but I think what the agents were referring to is smaller developments. (I used to cover the luxury second-home market as a financial journalist)

What I've heard a lot is that weather influences the ski station economy more than you might think. If there's great snow in December, you may not necessarily have more visiters, (most trips booked well in advance), but they'll have a much better experience. That then puts them in the mood to buy. Conversely, a few bad Christmases in a row, and they will reconsider investing.

My own .02, somewhat hors sujet, is that you should buy in an Alps town that has a year round economy, unless you aren't thinking of property as an investment.
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I would estimate the majority of Brit skiers (on Holuday) in St Anton are over 40 affluent (ski gear is indicator) generally over weight & fat. They dont Tip
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stanton wrote:
I would estimate the majority of Brit skiers (on Holuday) in St Anton are over 40 affluent (ski gear is indicator) generally over weight & fat. They dont Tip


Well, if any condolence, most Europeans don't tip either!
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You know it makes sense.
I would think the high age of skiers is a natural consequence of the cost of skiing and it being a difficult holiday for a young couple with very young children.

My own take , just from the small sample of people who have rented our appartment over the years would lead to a conclusion that kids learn to ski with their middlish aged parents. They enjoy skiing through to University ski trips and then it suddenly gets too expensive when they leave the bank of mum and dad. Maybe occasionally.

They get married or coupled up. Nesting, social life and living soaks up all their cash.
They have kids who soak up all their cash.

They just about surface financially in their late thirties and forties and their own kids are old enough to take skiing without being the complete PIA that young kids can be.

and then the circle goes on.

So I think it natural that the age of most regular participants is a bit doddery. Not to worry.
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I think the point about development of resorts is valid - but does not ask the question - what is the occupancy of those developments. In an era of cheap money some wealthy people are looking for somewhere to invest with the hope of capital appreciation and a bit of income. Property as has been seen in the UK has been a key place to invest (I won't go into the rights and wrongs....either morally or as a long term investment). One suspects a good deal of the activity in ski resorts has been speculatively driven as an investment proposition. Certainly a few years ago when I had the misfortune to go to Baqueira it was clear that whilst there were vast apartment complexes no-one was actually there during the week and reading recent other posts about Baqueira it is clear that very little of that accommodation is available to rent either. So this could be a more widespread phenomenon.
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@countryman, one other aspect of the development, and this is just a guess, is that as the total pool of skiers declines (which it is in some countries, like France) and several years of poor/late snow possible boy due to global warming then tw9 things happen:
1. Smaller, low altitude resorts lose out to the larger, higher resorts.
2. Resorts get trapped in an arms race. Building newer and better accommodation and lifts in an attempt to attract the punters.
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The news here is that there is no decline. Visitor numbers were up last season. So far this season there are few visitors, but conditions are great so the locals are out in force. Maybe British skiing is on the decline, but European skiing is alive and well.
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also, we have just had a few poor years, which also (so I'm told) happened in the early 90's, i imagine there was just as much doom mongering then, but no internet for it to spread far and wide on.

after that, they had some great years, then some not so great years,

it'll be fine

funnily enough i went to look for some data to back this up, and just found old threads from snow heads, and whitegold has literally been sat at a computer saying "the alps are rubbish!" and little else for at least 6 years! now thats a heck of a broken record!
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@foxtrotzulu, the BBC quoting the report from a British perspective, and coming up with an apparent conclusion that winter sports resorts are in trouble long term. They are making out that French winter resort numbers are down because of people not going due to population slow down - well imo theyíre likely going somewhere else maybe because they are fed up with lack of investment, poor resort access, dodgy service and accommodation standards, and can simply do better elsewhere in Europe, eg Austria. Also itís not about Brits, we make up a small percentile of the worlds winter sport population. The BBC probably bases itís views on Espace Killy, 3V etc and isnít looking at the wider perspective merely going for a cheap headline.
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@queen bodecia,
Quote:

Maybe British skiing is on the decline, but European skiing is alive and well
The number of British skiers is not yet declining, but they are worried about the long term future. European skiing is certainly alive and moderately well, but it's struggling to grow. The statistics are not yet in AFAIK for last season, but France, Italy and Austria have all suffered continued declines in skier visits since peak year in 2008/2009. I think that Austria have been making a concerted effort to link their resorts better and I wouldn't be surprised if that is increasing the numbers in linked resorts at the expense of unlinked ones.
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@Markymark29, The BBC based its article on the linked report, which covers the whole world and skiers from all markets. If you take note of the fact that France, Italy and Austria have all seen sustained declines in skier visits over the last few years then you can understand why some people are concerned. I'm not convinced that investment is slowing. The last I heard was that investment was progressing at an unsustainably high level. British skiers are not an insignificant number. We are the 6th biggest skiing nation in the world after the US, Germany, Japan, China, France. We have more skiers than Austria, Italy or Canada.
It's not surprising that the BBC write articles from a UK perspective, but I can't see a single point in the article that isn't supported by the messages in the report. Nor can I see anything that is distorted by their reporting. Do please point out the bits you disagree with.
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Has anyone seen hard evidence of property prices falling? Brexit has devalued £ by 20% which obviously makes property more expensive than 12 months ago, but is there oversupply of ski properties on the market? I agree that resorts would prefer to have skiers spending more as opposed to more skiers to generate the same revenue; this is also more environmentally friendly.

If the long term future was that uncertain I would have thought investors would be rushing to get their money out of Alpine property and resorts wouldnít be investing in infrastructure projects. Biggest threat, in my opinion, is not the aging demographic of skiers but rather global warming caused perhaps by the German car manufacturers colluding to hide the real level of diesel emissions for a decade or more.

A lack of snow, redundancy, war, famine and pestilence (probably in that order) might make me stop skiing but little else.
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Quote:

Has anyone seen hard evidence of property prices falling? Brexit has devalued £ by 20% which obviously makes property more expensive than 12 months ago,

I don't think that has happened at all. The prices in the immobiliers windows haven't altered.
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dogwatch wrote:
Mr.Egg wrote:
If Alps prices you out of skiing there, then go to Pyrenees or Eastern Europe.


I have no interest in going somewhere second rate because it is cheaper. If I could not afford to go where I wanted, I'd not go at all.


Thats fine for you. I know someone with a clan of kids and can only ski peak season dueto not being able to take his kids out of school. . . So he bought a 3 bedroom apartment in bulgaria. Now his wife goes out with the kids in july & joins them for 2 weeks & all come back end of August.
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@Peter S, When I ran the Uni trips about 5 years ago we sold about 400 places without even trying. When it's <£350 for a weeks skiing including lift pass it's hard not to sell out..

Durham & Oxbridge will send something like 2k students each every year...
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@Snowsartre, Iím a little confused. Is there a suggestion that, for any reason, there would be an over-supply of properties? Why would prices be falling? The report doesnít suggest doom and gloom, just a struggle and uncertainty over long-term growth. Few people would think of selling based upon the reportís conclusions, although it might give pause to anyone thinking of investing in low altitude resorts.

Surely Brexit is pretty much irrelevant to the Alpine property market. Iím not sure that the number of British owners is particularly huge anyway. Granted you will have fewer Brits coming in, but there is also less incentive to sell as a property in the EU has appreciated significantly in £ terms and is a nice hedge against the effects of Brexit.

BTW, Iím not sure you can lay too much blame at the door of the German car manufacturers for two reasons:
1. The scandal related to NOx, not CO2. The former is pretty insignificant as a greenhouse gas, itís more an issue of toxicity.
2. The number of vehicles affected, as a proportion of the global vehicle fleet and total emissions would be absolutely minuscule.
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My take on the Alpine property market is that any marginal owners caught a cold in 2008/2009 and needed to sell to liquidate their assets to support their investments else where. This led to property values falling (relatively) in 2009/10 and a pause in new build. 2011/2012 lowered prices and encouraged the French who seemed to buy many ex pat properties. 2012/13 the market bumbled along with smaller properties selling but larger ones not moving. 2014 to now a little more momentum but mid 2016 new builds started again - we shall see if they sell..... and who to, we can, like everything else just wait and see what effect,if any, Brexit has. But we Brits were buying property in France before we voted to join the Common Market.
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@foxtrotzulu, The (subtle) thrust of my post was that the BBC report is probably incorrect. Large scale corporate investors (pension fund holders/ private equity groups etc) have not scaled back their investment in Alpine property, quite the opposite. Hence prices have remained stable and supply limited.

As for private individual British second property purchases (a minority of Ďforeign purchasersí other than in the French Alps) then the depreciation of sterling will discourage those at the entry level to the market as Brexit has put a 20% premium on the purchase price and monthly service charges, taxes etc.

I take your point about low lying resorts but these have probably always been more of a risk, unless skiing is one of several uses/ benefits of the property. I also agree that if you own property in the eurozone your investment has appreciated 20% in the past year which is, I am sure, a comfort.

As always those with the means to pay will continue to do so as @boredsurfin, correctly observes.

I am no enviro-mentalist but do wonder if the increased pollution from emissions is having on impact on the weather. If you believe this then there are plenty of supporting studies. The cynic in me believes the German car industry is too powerful and important to the EU for this to be accepted categorically.
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@Snowsartre, If, like me, you have seen the smog cloud of pollution hanging over Bourg St Maurice (or over the Chamonix valley) on a sunny winters day there is a problem - cars are a part but only a small part. More needs to be researched into the effect of, heavy engined diesels (HGV's, Trains, Construction plant) Gas central heating boilers, and perhaps more pertinent all those log burners!
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boredsurfin wrote:
@Snowsartre, If, like me, you have seen the smog cloud of pollution hanging over Bourg St Maurice (or over the Chamonix valley) on a sunny winters day there is a problem - cars are a part but only a small part. More needs to be researched into the effect of, heavy engined diesels (HGV's, Trains, Construction plant) Gas central heating boilers, and perhaps more pertinent all those log burners!


Driving into Chamonix last season and the air quality was extremely bad. The most obvious culprits were the wood burners. I mentioned to one of the guides that maybe wood burning should be temporarily banned and she was indignant at the very idea. ĎUse the relatively clean electricityí I said Ďtoo expensive!í she said. They did ban fireworks at New Year though, for all the good that did.
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@Snowsartre, Iím not sure how the BBC article can be Ďincorrectí as the bulk of it is purely factual and based upon the previous seasonsí statistics. Of course, the reasons behind the stagnation/decline are open to interpretation and you may not agree with the conclusions of the commentators, and references, but the stats are pretty indisputable.

I suppose our difference of opinion over the report boils down to whether you feel that the statistical evidence of skier visits is a better or worse indicator than what I assume is personal observation and anecdotal evidence of building activity.
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The Chamonix valley is inevitably vulnerable to smog, there is a lot of heavy industry down the valley which combined with air currents, weather and very steep sides to the valley for many miles makes air quality a real issue and difficult to resolve.
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..... the same probably applies to Bourg St M.
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@FFIRMIN, indeed. The diesel fumes from road freight through the tunnel doesnít help.
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under a new name - for sure!
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We'v always gone skiing first week in Jan and first week in March, for the past 18 years, then have a summer holiday in Sept. Last year we decided to do a once in a lifetime and ski Davos-Klosters 5 star that was about £3500 this Jan. We went to Dorset & Cornwall for our March holiday and Lanzarote in Sept. So only one ski trip. This coming season however we're off to Saalbach for the Jan week and probably March will again be this country, unless we get a reasonably 4/5 star Canaries deal ( which we're probably too late for now). Next year we'll probably knock the skiing on the head in favour of a winter Canaries holiday with a bit of cycling thrown in and save a grand, with a view of saving the shekels for another Davos trip in 2020. So all in all it looks like we've gone from 2 trips year to a potential one trip each two years, and no we won't sacrifice our 5 star comfort level ! Toofy Grin snowHead
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Apologies if anyone has already made this point, but the increased intransigence of our policy-makers towards taking children out of school for family ski holidays, and the exorbitant flight prices during school holidays, are also factors. Also the somewhat haphazard approach to staggering the half-term holidays. Skiing is a habit-forming, even addictive, type of holiday - also not the cheapest, and it does little to encourage people to form the habit if they're continually competing for relatively limited "windows of opportunity" and queuing for lifts in the February peak season. I'm not sure whether people in general realise the huge difference that investment in efficient and extensive snow-making systems has made to snow reliability at Christmas and Easter. (Some however do - we've already had a few enquiries about Christmas 2018).
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In France they stagger the school holidays to support their tourism industry, and benefit their quality of life. I don't understand why we cant do the same ?
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Quote:

I am no enviro-mentalist but do wonder if the increased pollution from emissions is having on impact on the weather.

Yes I understand there is universal agreement between climate scientists that human generated C02 emissions is changing the 'weather'. The theory of a human influenced greenhouse effect on climate has been around for more than 30 years now. Puzzled
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@tatmanstours, is right IMO about the obstacles of the 100% school attendance mentality and condensed nature of school holiday allocation in the UK. Also let's not forget nearly 10 years of austerity and prices rising faster than incomes for most Brits.

The reason there's less staggering of holidays in England and Wales than in France is IMO a) resistance to change in the education sector; and b) French policy makers generally having a more rounded view, considering overall quality of life rather than one narrow, albeit important, aspect of it.

Pick the bones out of that. snowHead
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