Australian skiers brace for world's top piste prices
By Belinda Goldsmith
THREDBO, Australia (Reuters Life!) - As Europeans strip off and head to the beach, many Australians are wrapping up for a trip to the snowfields, ready to brace the cold -- and some of the most expensive piste prices in the world.
While the "land down under" may be better known for its beaches and outback, it also boasts an active ski season that runs from July until early October at about 10 resorts where man-made snow helps supplement natural falls.
But the snow comes at a price, with Australia's major ski resorts topping a 2010 survey of lift prices at 16 resorts in eight developed countries compiled by the Australian Alpine Club. Australian resorts were found to charge more than those in Europe, North America and Japan.
The annual survey, conducted using prices and exchange rates on April 14 each year, found that Australia's biggest alpine destination, Perisher, about five hours drive from Sydney, topped the list, charging A$105 ($95) for a one-day lift pass.
This compared to A$100 in Whistler in Canada, A$70 in St Moritz in Switzerland and A$65 in Val D'Isere in France.
The Japanese ski resorts of Niseko and Hakuba charge $63 and $49 respectively for one-day lift passes for skiers and snowboarders while in neighboring New Zealand the resorts of Mt Hutt and Cardrona charge $68 a day.
"Ski lift prices at the five major Australian resorts have increased faster than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the past six years," said the Australian Alpine Club which oversees ski lodges in seven resorts.
The club pointed out that the survey did not compare other factors like multi-day or discounted passes, terrain, snow depth or ski lift capacities. Continued...