The Ski Club of Great Britain has released the results of its 2023 State of the UK Snowsports Market survey, conducted during September and October 2023 and first presented at the trade event LISTEX in London on Thursday October 19.
The Ski Club of Great Britain results are encouraging in terms of the intent that skiers have for the season ahead, with 39% of respondents saying they intend to book two holidays for this winter, up from 33% from last year. But cost is a significant factor in decision making with 40% saying the reason why they didn’t book a skiing holiday last season was due to cost.
Bur for around 20% of the market, cost is not an issue at all.
The booking season is becoming more polarised, with more early bookings – 55% of skiers booking more than 6 months before departure compared to 35% pre-Covid. But there’s also an increase in late bookings of less than a month, with 13% saying they intend to do this compared to 7% last year. This again seems to relate to affordability and to some extent, concerns about snow following a particularly bad start to the season last winter. Although we are now seeing ‘the best start’ to winter in over 20 years in many parts of the Alps as heavy snow has already fallen and more is forecast over the next week.
More people are planning to stay in apartments versus hotels for this winter with 28% saying they will book a self-catered apartment compared to 25% last winter. And whilst 31% are saying they intend to stay in a 4* hotel this winter, last season only 23% said they did. Suggesting that intent to upgrade doesn’t always become fulfilled.
Whilst last winter 77% took a flight for their skiing holiday, this year 12% of respondents intend to take a train, compared to only 2% taking the train last season. But a combined 92% say that more train services and lower costs would be the most likely factors in encouraging them to take the train in the future.
There are rising concerns about climate change and the rate at which climate change is becoming a factor in decision making for snowsports is climbing more steeply than any other factor, although the data is more mixed in terms of the significance of individual sustainability related polices on skier decision making. Skiers say they care deeply about sustainability, but other factors – most notably cost – currently rank higher.
UK skiers are getting fitter compared to pre-Covid years when 15% of respondents admitted doing no exercise between ski seasons, this has dropped to only 10%. The most popular off-snow activities to prepare for skiing are cycling and hiking.
Skiers are also dreaming about the experiences they would like to have including heli-skiing and travelling to long haul destinations with Canada and Japan top of the bucket list destinations. But perhaps more realistically over 30% would like to try ski touring at some point, and almost 30% intend to ski tour this winter.