Tour operators and ski holiday travel agencies are reporting bookings for Canada are dramatically up for next winter, with most saying advanced sales are up 100% (some as much as 200%) on the last pre-pandemic season.
It was possible to ski in Canada last season but there were a number of Covid restrictions in place, on both sides of the Atlantic, most of which have now been lifted.
Tour operators and travel agencies have also noted a trend for skiers to book longer holidays in better quality accommodation than they would normally as they are sometimes skiing again for the first time in three years.
“Bookings, particularly to Canada, are very strong. We are nearly 100% up in bookings versus the same time in 2019, which is quite remarkable. We’re seeing two strong trends within this – trading up: our most popular holidays are to luxury four- and five-star hotels, often with flight and room upgrades, and also duration: average length of stay on a North American holiday is up by a third from nine to 12 days,” said Craig Burton of specialist travel agency Ski Solutions.
Of the larger operators, Inghams say their Canada ski holiday sales are up 98.94% up compared to the same booking period for winter 2019/20, with some niche operators reporting even bigger increases,
“After seeing an increase in bookings of almost 200% since Canada eased its border restrictions in April, we couldn’t be more excited for the next season ahead. With more travellers wanting to escape the crowds and check those once-in-a-lifetime ski trips off their bucket list, we’ve created a handful of new ski adventures based in Whistler and the BC Interior aimed at those looking to heli-ski for the first time, or wanting to learn how to ski tour,” said Nickie Mabey of Mabey Ski.
Richard Sinclair of travel agency sno.co.uk notes that with prices for ski holidays being forced to move up across the board, North America is winning on value.
“Canada and USA are showing huge growth, now that prices in the Alps are higher – it’s never been better value to ski North America,” he commented.
But although Canada sales are very strong, one specialist ski holiday agent said that for them that isn’t currently the case for US ski holidays.
“I think US skiing is becoming prohibitively expensive with rocketed lift pass rates and an unfavourable exchange rate,” said Nick Edwards, Managing Director of Snow Finders, who added, “The main recipients to the upturn in UK visitors for Canada are Whistler, Banff, and Sun Peaks with Banff in particular offering some very keenly priced packages.”
In a perhaps related development, Oxford Ski Company say they are seeing a post pandemic return of American skiers looking to ski in Europe next winter,
“This is especially exciting and demonstrates the confidence that the global population must move forward and “get on” with living again,” said the company’s founder and CEO, Rupert Longsdon.