Taking The Piste – Skiing Holidays Going Cheap

October 23rd, 2009


Taking the Piste – Rachael Oakes-Ash

This view now on sale, care of a strengthening Aussie dollar. Black Tusk from Whistler Mountain, Canada.
By Rachael Oakes Ash

Maths has never been my forte. I struggle when skiing in the USA where vertical metres is measured in feet and tipping is fifteen percent of the bill. Foreign currency just doesn’t look like mine so I spend it like it is somebody else’s. Which creates havoc with my credit rating when I return back home.

However I do know a bargain when I see one (I am female after all) and I know that North America is offering some seriously inexpensive skiing this season compared to last. Why? The Aussie dollar, or is it the US dollar? Either way, we’re sitting pretty at ninety three cents to the US dollar and ninety five cents to the Canadian. Compare that to the sixty cents I was getting in Aspen last February and even I know that’s a thirty three percent increase, in my favour.

Word is that with interest rates continuing to rise in Australia and Obama printing dollar bills like pesos in the US that come Christmas we will be looking at dollar for dollar, or even better. Finally, the eighty US dollar lift pass is looking cheap again.

It doesn’t stop there either. This time last year our wholesalers were caught out with the global financial crisis and lost out big time on the dropping dollar. They are currently buying up big for next season and at dollar for dollar the savings for the consumer could be huge when the next batch of snowboard boots, snowboards, skis and gear hit the shelves for our 2010 season.

But what of Europe I hear you ask. What of it? We get point sixty two Euro to our dollar, meaning we effectively lose forty percent of our wealth just stepping off the plane. The British Pound isn’t much better either. Try fifty six pence to our dollar and start weeping. The trouble is you spend a pound and a euro like you do a dollar. So that twenty Euro cocktail you just bought may have cost twenty bucks back home but it’s closer to thirty Aussie dollars here. Only now you don’t have thirty Aussie dollars, you have forty percent less. Are you still with me? Don’t worry, Europe is just too darned expensive. The Japanese market is also looking better with a twenty four percent increase from fifty nine Yen to our dollar to today’s eighty three yen. This takes the pressure off the many Aussie operators in the Japan ski industry for the upcoming season.

Cost is the number one motivating factor for holiday makers. New Zealand benefited this year from a weaker dollar to ours. Australians were getting a buck twenty to the Aussie dollar during most of the winter and when combined with super cheap flights from four competing airlines the winners were the New Zealand ski industry…oh…and the consumer.

But enough of all this number talk. Now I know where I am skiing this season, North America, the only figures I now care about are the metres, sorry, feet, on the ground. This is one competition I want them to win. The more snow I get for my dollar the happier I will be.

(Editors Note)
Cheap holiday deals to the USA announced today by SkiMax Holidays.

Ski South Lake Tahoe now costs from $699 per person. Included is seven nights twin share at Inn by The Lake and a 6 Day Ski Lift Pass at the aptly named Heavenly Valley, one of North America’s largest ski areas. South Lake Tahoe straddles the Nevada Californian border and is alongside one of the most crystal-clear lakes in North America. It is also close to Kirkwood not that well known down under but it boasts an annual snowfall of over 15 metres. Valid for travel 03 Jan – 12 Feb 2010

A weeks’ skiing or boarding at Mammoth Mountain for under a thousand bucks! Included is seven nights at Mammoth Mountain Inn and a 6 Day Ski Lift Pass, from $929 per person. Valid for travel 03 Jan – 11 Feb 2010. Surcharge will apply 15-18 Jan

For an additional $10 (above the price of the Mammoth package) you could be skiing or boarding for a week at the Mega Colorado resort of Vail. With the more favourable exchange rate reducing the cost Skimax has a week-long package, including seven nights quad share in a two bedroom at Vail Racquet Club and a six day Vail Ski Lift from $939 per person. Valid for travel 03 Jan – 09 Feb 2010