Italy’s ski season, which usually lasts between November and March in high-altitude areas, will be more expensive this year as operators are hit by high energy prices.
The price of ski passes has risen to offset the cost of electricity used to operate ski lifts. Prices for daily, seasonal or multi-day passes in Italy have risen by between 6 and 13 percent, according to SkyTG24, with average increases of 10 percent across the country.
The ski slopes of Bormio in Alta Valtellina have seen the highest increases, with the cost of day passes rising from €46 to €52, according to a survey by the consumer rights association Assoutenti.
In Valle d’Aosta, day passes with rise from €56 to €61 in Courmayeur (8.9 percent), from €53 to €57 in Cervinia (7.5 percent), and from €47 to €51 La Thuile (8.5 percent).
The Dolomiti Superski day pass, which gives users access to 12 different resorts across a 3,000 sq km area in the Dolomites mountain range (making it the largest ski area in the world), will cost €74 in high season, up from €67 last year.
The prices increases only partially cover the increased energy costs, Dolomiti Superski’s press officer Diego Clara told the Repubblica news daily, with the company noting on its website that it reserves the right to raise prices further if necessary.
Only the six ski areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia have said they won’t raise prices, with a day pass continuing to cost €39.50 and a week pass €250 for the entire ski season.
The ski resort of Panarotta 2002 in Trentino Alto Adige, for its part, has said it will remain closed this winter.
“Under these conditions we do not feel up to starting the winter season”, Matteo Anderle, president of Panarotta 2002, told Il Dolomiti newspaper in October. “There are too many unknowns that risk causing the collapse of the company.”
The news came as a blow to ski equipment rental businesses in the area, who say they learned of the decision just a couple of months before the start of the ski season and are now scrambling to find alternative sources of income.
“Last season I bought 50 sleds because the slope had been opened, now all that investment will be thrown away because if the ski slopes close the rental is worth zero,” Marco Bogazzi, who owns the ‘Snowfamily’ ski rental shop on Panarotta, told local press.
Other resorts are reportedly considering various measures to bring costs down, including opening only on certain days of the week or for limited hours during the day, or opening only the most popular slopes.
Valeria Ghezzi, president of the cable car operators association Anef, told Repubblica that “structural solutions and not those based on contigency” are needed to prevent the industry from facing a crisis.
“We lead a sector that creates an economy. If the ski lifts close, that closes all the related industries.”