There are a few promotions around from different ski areas at the moment, all of them trying to get you to commit to buying season passes in their region.
I thought that I would summarise the ones in the local area that are relevant to the areas that we teach in for SnowPros Ski School.
Of course the promotion that started it all last year was the Saas Fee season pass. Under a bit of pressure to pay for a new lift that they had installed, they decided to go for a sort of crowd funding campaign and offered ski passes for the season at just 299frs. This was an amazing deal but was only available for the people that had pre-ordered assuming that Saas Fee sold 100,000 of them.
Anecdotally, they got to around 80/90,000 and then asked all of the local hotels, ski schools and other businesses to make up the rest so that they could trigger the promo. Obviously this brought in a tremendous amount into Saas Fee both in cash terms (30m frs) as well as generating a tremendous buzz about this new way of doing things.
This obviously put a bit of pressure on other ski resorts who would have been feeling the pressure of trying to sell their ski passes at prices above 1000frs when the snow is more sure at the other end of the Valais with their 3500m+ mountains and glaciers. When you combine this with a pretty average winter last year, it’s no surprise that some of the resorts in the Swiss Romande have come up with promos of their own.
The Magic Pass has generated a lot of interest with access to 25 ski stations for just 399frs. This includes Villars, Gryon, Diablerets, Crans Montana, Leysin, Zinalski, Grimentz and a whole bunch of little places you won’t have heard of. Kids born after 2002 can get their season passes for 249frs.
The pass is valid from 1 November until 30 April, however that’s a bit cheeky because you won’t be skiing at any of the stations on 1 November unless it’s Glacier 3000 and access to the glacier on the Magic pass is 100frs extra.
In general it looks like a good deal and something that we will be taking advantage of for sure.
Portes du Soleil
Jumping on the bandwagon also is the Portes du Soleil who have taken a slightly different approach.
They propose for the under 25’s a season pass for 400frs for the whole Portes du Soleil ski area, giving you access to 12 ski stations, most of them linked and about 650kms of pistes to ski.
Their second promotion is more family orientated in that if an adult buys a season pass, they get a free one for their child who would be under 10 years old. At the time of writing an adult season pass is about 900 frs.
The pass also offers some days skiing in the 4 valleys, Verbier etc and some other stations further into the Valais.
Also interested in the under 25’s market and encouraging the next generation of skiers and bikers is the Mont4card, which gives access summer and winter for 400frs. For those that use the lifts year round and fit the right age category, this seems like an amazing promo.
Otherwise, there isn’t much the 4 valleys is offering other than their usual variable pricing, which is from 1399 – 1599frs for an adult depending on when you book it.
To it’s credit the annual Verbier pass offers some exceptional skiing and is open very early and closes late for a resort this close to the Swiss Riviera and there are coupons for those wishing to ski other areas such as Chamonix, the Aosta Valley and some resorts in the USA.
Is it worth it?
It depends on what skiing you are planning to do in a season. Obviously for those who ski every day, like us, it’s essential and in fact we will probably have season passes for a number of different regions depending on where our clients want to ski this year.
Many of our clients however, don’t want to go to the same resort every weekend and wish to explore new places. In that regard, season passes probably aren’t for them.
I would calculate how much skiing you plan to do, how many days you actually have available and decide from there. Often there are group on style promos aound and people reselling day ski passes on Facebook during the season. Often people don’t ski as much as they think they will and for them buying day by day is better.
A quick note to those with very small kids, most resorts don’t charge for kids under 5 so don’t buy ski passes if you don’t need to. Often kids having a lesson with a Ski School like ours, kids go free.