Bumper season for Swiss ski industry but tough winter ahead

© Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

While ski resort visits and turnover reached record levels last season, inflation and lifting of Covid restrictions may hurt the Swiss ski industry. 

This content was published on September 3, 2022 minutes

For the first time in ten years, Swiss ski resorts recorded more than 25 million skier-days last season, according to the association of ski lift operators. Turnover also climbed to a total of CHF828 million (around $844 million), the best result since the 2010/2011 season.

According to the president of the association Berno Stoffel, snow arrived early in the season last year and allowed an early opening of ski resorts and encouraged winter sport enthusiasts to purchase season tickets. Covid restrictions that were still in force in neighbouring countries, such as France, boosted the arrival of foreign skiers to relatively unrestricted Swiss pistes, Stoffel told the Le Nouvelliste and La Liberté newspapers on Saturday. 

 Dark clouds

However, this clientele from across the border may once again shun the Swiss resorts in 2022/2023 season, warned Stoffel, who expects a "difficult" winter.

 "Switzerland will no longer have the advantage of being one of the only countries in the region with open ski areas, or at least with unrestricted access," he says.

Inflation in Europe also works against Swiss resorts. Foreign tourists are likely to be discouraged by the decline in their purchasing power and the high prices in Switzerland.

Fears surrounding energy shortage throughout Europe is also forcing the ski lifts to adapt. The association is currently preparing energy savings measures. The sector consumes 0.34% of all energy in Switzerland. The association is mulling over the possibility of giving up night skiing next winter.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the ski industry consumes 34% of all Swiss energy. It is in fact 0.34%.

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