BEST SKI OPERATOR
The catered chalet holiday continues to be the preferred choice for Britons wanting to ski in the Alps, and this year’s winner and runners-up have catered chalets at the core of their business. They all also offer pricier, high-end holidays – the most resilient area of the market since numbers of British ski travellers declined after the 2008 financial crisis.
YSE leads the pack. Its expansion from 12 chalets when founded 35 years ago to 19 now, plus one chalet hotel, mirrors the growth and ever-rising popularity of the only resort where it operates – Val d’Isère in France.
As the firm says: “Concentrating on one resort allows us to know the resort and our accommodation perfectly, to have enough weight in town to negotiate the best prices on ski hire or get the pharmacy opened at 2am, while remaining small enough to offer a genuinely personal service.”
What really helps to set YSE apart is founder John Yates-Smith being based in the resort day and night throughout the winter season, to make sure the company delivers the personal service of which it so proudly boasts.
Following YSE is Scott Dunn, with luxury chalet holidays offered in Courchevel, St Anton and Val d’Isère. Its wide-ranging portfolio extends to upmarket hotels, holidays to North America and Japan, and bespoke heli-skiing adventures.
In third place, VIP SKI runs 66 of its own luxury chalets and two luxury ski hotels in 10 resorts in France and Austria. and North Seas, has slipped from second to third but is still the leading operator on these routes.
BRIGHT IDEASTour operators are delivering new itineraries to countries such as India, left; a Scott Dunn ski chalet, below left; on the rails with Belmond, below