Worst Ski Season for a Decade – How will ski accommodation owners be affected?

For skiing and snow boarding to happen, there needs to be snow. As a rule, February in the Alps means snow galore, perfect pistes and raucous après ski. The 2010 – 2011 ski season though, saw record temperatures recorded across the Alps in early February. On February 7th 2011, a high of 19.6°C was recorded at Chamonix at a height of 1000m, which was the norm for ski resorts across the French Alps around this time. The high temperature left patches in the snow and left hopeful skiers and snowboarders wondering what to do with their time.

As news spread across Europe and back to the UK that there was no skiing to be done in the most prestigious skiing resort sin France, prospective winter holiday makers stopped making bookings. Accommodation owners felt the pinch of dwindling numbers of holiday makers making bookings and prayed for snow to return. Luckily, they got it – The end of February saw a new layer of fresh snow fall and the ski season carried on as if nothing had happened. In truth, there was very little effect of ski accommodation owners from the worst ski season in a decade.

Generally, anyone going for a trip will book at least four weeks in advance. If the trip and time off work is already booked, it is likely that anyone will back out because of a shortage in snow. Visitors to Grenoble and Chamonix return every year to meet with old friends, wish the locals a happy new year and to relax in chalet half way up a alpine mountain, although, they do go to ski as well. By the time a weather forecast is released for the duration of a trip anywhere, most people will be packed and on their way to the airport without so much as a glance back.

So, as it goes, ski accommodation owners can relax about how they might be affected next seasons by this year’s poor snowfall. While some holiday makers might choose to book into a resort at a higher altitude to minimise that chances of missing out ion skiing time, generally, humans are creatures of habit and will continue to return to the same resorts with hardy hope that there will be a delightfully thick covering of talcy white snow when they arrive with their ski boots and sticks.

So far there has been little evidence of any significant financial impact for ski accommodation owners or the price of property in the areas that were affected by limited snowfall in the 2010-2011 ski season. It would be over dramatic to suggest that one slightly weak season could affect all ski seasons to come or that no one should want to buy property in the region again. The factors that affected snowfall in the Alps during the 2010-2011 season can be traced as a repetition of history that has failed yet to conquer the reputation of Alpine Resorts as the place to be in winter.