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A study of the UK snow sports market by Ski Club of Great Britain's has contradicted findings in another report, published in the summer, which found that the number of skiers and boarders hitting the slopes last winter dipped below a million for the first time in nearly a decade.

The Ski Club's report agreed there was a big fall in participation for the second year in a row, by 12% across all sectors in 2009/10 according to their Snow-sports Analysis report. The total UK snow-sports market remains above one million, however, reported at 1.12 million people.
"The decline in overall numbers can be attributed to reduced capacity by tour operators, the weak pound and a lack of confidence in the economy. The report, however, goes on to discuss returning confidence to the industry with a stronger pound and investments by resorts to attract UK visitors." said the Ski Club in a statement.

More skiers and snowboarders are travelling with tour operators, with the market share rising to 80%. This increase is at the expense of the independent sector with more people seemingly attracted to the 'value for money' tour operators can bring and the financial security of booking with a bonded operator.
France's market share declined by 4% as Austria increased their market share by 2% for the second season in a row. France, however, continues to hold the biggest market share of the UK snowsports market with a 39% share.

Caroline Stuart-Taylor, Chief Executive of the Ski Club, commented on the report: "Although last season saw a decline in the UK snowsports market, this was to be expected after significant capacity cuts by tour operators and the economic situation last winter. Many people who have taken two snowsports holidays in the past may only have taken one, and new people may not have been coming into the sport. But optimism is returning to the snowsports market and we are hopeful that the market will at least maintain its position for the forthcoming winter."

Other findings from the report include that the average cost of a snowsports holiday has risen, going from £686 in 2008/9 to £714. Online booking of snowsports holidays increased again, rising 3% year on year. Self drive holidays increased by 2% and train travel to the mountains by 1% and visitors to Scottish ski resorts increased across the five ski centres due to excellent snow conditions in 2009/10.

www.skiclub.co.uk