Snow business

Winter wonderland came early to the Alps this year, with the annual winter snowfall arriving in October, far earlier than usual, which boosted buyers' interest in ski properties…

‘I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.' Except I didn't use to know any such thing – I can't think of one real white Christmas. Especially now that a UK Christmas is classed as white if a single snow flake falls on December 25th, which means that we can have a white Christmas WITHOUT ANY VISIBLE SNOW!

Over in the Alps, it's a different story. They are guaranteed a decent sprinkling of snow each year and this year, Christmas came early. 

Paul Humphreys, Knight Frank's Head of France said that the early snowfall this year meant the season for buying ski properties started earlier than usual this year

Nathalie Turchet, UK Sales Manager of MGM French Properties , agrees, "The first falls in the French Alps in October prompted potential buyers to get in the mood for skiing and think about having a place of their own on the slopes.

"The result is that we have seen a steady rise in the number of enquiries for ski properties since November," she added.

Property developers and real estate agents believe that as ski property is an investment in yourself and your lifestyle, there is unlikely to be a downturn in this sector.

There is little doubt that once you have been bitten by the ski bug, chances are you'll stay smitten for life and thus investment interest and rental demand for ski properties is likely to always remain strong.

The Alps are ever popular with UK skiers who are in the market for an investment property as they are easily accessible, meaning that a weekend on the slopes is a definite possibility, unlike if you buy a ski property in Canada, another popular market for UK buyers.

Compagnie des Alpes , the largest ski lift operator in the world, noted that numbers of visitors and investors have risen by 14 per cent this year compared to the same time in the 2006-07 ski season, the Ski Club of Great Britain reports.

The rise has been attributed to ‘excellent snow conditions,' according to the Ski Club of Great Britain.

The comment comes after the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) reported that following a ‘woeful' ski season last year, snow conditions in Europe this year have been ‘fantastic.'

ABTA added that France, Austria and Italy have been selling well so far while adventurous skiers are looking across the Atlantic in order to capitalise on the weak US dollar.

According to ABTA's research, 1.3 million UK holidaymakers took or are taking winter sports trips this year, so whilst the economy may be frozen, obviously our desire to take to the slopes remains red hot!

Picture by jmaximo