As spring arrives and the ski season comes to a close across Europe, many resorts have just endured their worst season on record. Many had hoped that they would be able to stay open throughout the Christmas period, if not luring their usual international guests, at least tempting locals to take to the slopes.
But as travel restrictions stay in place across the world, and in particular in the EU, ski resorts across the continent were forced to shut down during their peak season. While many ski resorts stayed open for outdoor activities, without the lire of ski lifts, bars and restaurants, many saw no foot traffic at all.
Faced with huge running and maintenance costs, even with few visitors, and no consistent income, many resorts are now facing a battle to get visitors to return.
How ski resorts are coping right now
Behind the ice-capped scenes, ski resort teams are working tirelessly to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge, with no choice but to keep going and working hard. Getting visitors back again as international travel is opened up once more is the biggest challenge.
Going into summer, activity holidays like skiing go into decline, but most resorts double as hiking and mountain biking centres. However, many holiday makers will be tempted to head straight for the beach this year after being locked down for too long.
Plugging the gaps in income is top priority for most resorts. Vail Resorts in North America reported almost $200million dollars in losses last year. European resorts, when combined, could report even more than that.
Without the help of governments, there is a concern that skiing will once again become the ‘sport of kings.’ Prices could skyrocket over the next few years. Resorts are currently working hard to cut costs where the can to avoid prohibitively expensive prices limiting access to only the wealthiest visitors.
How ski resorts are safeguarding their future
Working tirelessly, ski resorts are trying everything they can to keep costs and losses at a minimum, hoping to pass savings on to visitors. Many will be considering using outsourcing consultants for their operational needs as a means to keep costs down.
With the summer months and potential travel freedoms coming, many ski resorts are also looking at how to turn themselves into all-weather activity holiday destinations. Whether this means offering more guided hiking tours, mountain bike routes or activities such as archery, bouldering and nature spotting, is currently unclear.
What is clear though, is that ski resorts have a very uncertain few months or years ahead of them and some may even close permanently. Hopefully, they’ll get some good news soon.