There’s no doubt that Jasper is a superb destination for a ski holiday and UK skiers have been travelling here for many years, attracted by the uncrowded slopes, the excellent Canadian Rockies snow conditions, and the warm hospitality found throughout the area. Most ski holidays to Canada from the UK are organized by the many UK tour operators, who sell packages to all the major Canadian ski resorts, including Jasper.
While the package holiday certainly seems to be the easiest option, is it the most cost effective? To find the answer we compared the cost of some packages offered by UK tour operators with the cost of organizing an equivalent trip independently.
We based our research on an 11 day holiday for 2 people departing on March 13th 2010, flying between London and Calgary. We also looked at 3 different price points – a charter flight combined with a mid range hotel, a scheduled flight combined with a luxury hotel, and a charter flight combined with a luxury hotel.
Here is what we found:
Charter Flight & Mid Range Hotel
The best direct deal on a charter we could find was with Canadian Affair, where a Monarch flight from London Gatwick was available for £403.20 per person.
For accommodation we chose the Astoria Hotel, and were quoted a total of $1520.70 CAD for the 11 night stay.
Using today’s tourist exchange rate of £1.00 = $1.71 CAD, the total price for this combination booked independently was £1695.70 for 2 people, not including airport transfers.
Inghams are now the only major UK ski tour operator using charter flights into Calgary. Their holiday included a Monarch charter flight from London Gatwick, an 11 night stay at the Astoria Hotel, and airport transfers between Calgary and Jasper for a total of £1325.00 for 2 people, a saving of £370.70 compared to the independent trip.
We also did the same comparison but including 10 day lift passes.
The Astoria Hotel was able to package together the 11 night stay with 2 x 10 day passes for a total of $1864.48 CAD, making the total price of the direct deal £1896.74 for 2 people.
The Inghams price including 2 x 10 day lift passes was £1915.00 for 2 people, which is £18.26 more expensive than the direct deal.
A third option we looked at was a package provided by a tour operator based in the Canadian Rockies. Ski Holidays Canada quoted an 11 night stay at the Whistler’s Inn including 2 x 10 day ski passes and a free ski shuttle (valued at $14 per person per day) for $1699. Adding the Monarch flights for £403pp brings the cost of this package to a competitive £1799.56 for 2 people. Airport transfers are not included in this package, however car hire can be organized through the same company, costing $423 (£247.37) for 11 days full size car with unlimited mileage.
Scheduled Flight & Luxury Hotel
The best direct deal we found for a scheduled flight was with British Airways, which came in at £592.90 per person return from London Heathrow.
For an 11 night stay at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, we were quoted a total of $2732.22 CAD. The total for this combination of flights and accommodation is £2783.59 for 2 people, not including airport transfers.
With the tour operator Crystal Ski we found the same holiday including airport transfers between Calgary and Jasper for £2229.68 for 2 people, a saving of £553.91 compared to the independent option.
Including passes, it just so happens that the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is offering 2 x free 10 day passes with an 11 night stay, as part of their remarkable Ski for Free Package, so the total independent holiday cost remains at £2783.59.
Crystal are selling 10 day passes on their website for £231 pp, bringing the total cost of the Crystal holiday to £2661.68, which is still cheaper than the direct deal by £121.91.
Charter Flight & Luxury Hotel
Combining the Monarch flights with the direct deal at the Jasper Park Lodge above including ski passes, gives us a total of £2404.19 for 2 people for an independent package, not including airport transfers.
Inghams price for the same package, but including airport transfers, was £2636 for 2 people.
Ski Holidays Canada were able to offer the same package including flights, accommodation at the Jasper Park Lodge and 10 day ski passes for £2384.36 for 2 people. Adding the optional extra car hire for £247.37 brings this total to £2631.37, beating the Inghams package price.
In most cases the ski holidays booked through the UK tour operators are cheaper than trying to book the same holiday independently, over 20% cheaper in some instances. That price difference is reduced when you include lift passes, thanks to the competitive ski packages offered locally by Jasper hotels. It’s important to note that the independently booked holidays do not include airport transfers between Calgary and Jasper, and due to the limited scheduled shuttle service in the winter, most independent travellers would be forced to either rent a car, or pay the considerable cost for a private transfer. Alternatively you could find a hotel in Calgary for the night and then take the scheduled shuttle the following day.
Taking the price differences and the airport transfers into consideration, it seems that the most convenient and most economical way to come to Jasper on a ski holiday from the UK is to book a package holiday. However for the more independent traveller, using a locally based tour operator can help keep the cost down while also providing a more tailor made Jasper ski holiday.
*The information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing, but can change at any time. To confirm current prices and packages, please contact the respective tour operators, hotels, and airlines directly.
While we have made every effort to display accurate information, we cannot be held responsible for any discrepancies which may occur.