Swiss resorts offer discount ski passes in bad weather
Two Swiss ski resorts have become the first in Europe to offer reductions on day lift passes if the weather is bad.
Pizol in the canton of St Gallen and Belalp in the Valais have teamed up with St Gallen University of Applied Sciences (FHS) and meteorologists SRF Meteo to offer a weather-dependent dynamic pricing system.
Passes will get progressively cheaper the worse the weather is, Pizol announced this week.
A weather forecast of ‘sunny and occasional snowfall’ would equate to a day pass 18 percent cheaper than normal, while ‘overcast, without snowfall’ would be 28 percent cheaper.
The worst weather category – ‘cloudy, frequent snowfall’ – would allow customers to ski for half of the usual price.
Forecasts are made for a fixed point in the resort seven days in advance and then constantly revised as the week goes on.
To take advantage of the discounts customers must buy their pass online up to a week in advance.
“Enthusiastic winter sportspeople do not know bad weather, only wrong clothing,” said Pizol CEO Klaus Nussbaumer. “They appreciate days with cloud and snowfall because few other skiers and snowboarders are on the slopes and in the fresh powder.”
And, as he points out, it could be that the weather turns out to be better than expected – a win-win for skiers who have already bought their discount pass.
The idea is inspired by the dynamic price system used by airlines and the hotel industry, and aims to attract people to the slopes when they might otherwise have stayed at home, said FHS.
The university said weather forecasts are 90 percent accurate for the following day, 75 percent three days in advance and only 30 percent accurate a week ahead of time – though in stable high pressure that rises to 50 percent.
It remains to be seen if the new scheme will attract more people to ski in bad weather – and some industry figures are already unconvinced.
The president of the ski lift association in the Valais said the passes would be unlikely to convince people to ski in bad conditions. “One chooses to go skiing because it’s good weather,” he told news agency ATS.
Pizol is currently offering day passes for today, January 13th, at half price – 27 francs instead of 54 francs – and for Saturday 14th at 33.50 francs, a 38 percent discount.
After a long dry spell snow has finally been falling steadily in Switzerland in the past ten days, with more on the way.