As time goes on and all the news about the subject, we cannot deny that the climate is changing. Global warming is hitting the globe all over the world and inevitably also here in Switzerland. With winters passing by, we can see that snow is often missing at crucial periods like school holidays (Christmas, February and even Easter) and this has a direct impact on ski resorts. As they mainly depend on these periods to earn money, when there isn’t enough snow to open every slopes or even open the resort at all, it causes a huge deficit at the end of the season, not only for the resort but also for the village itself and all the tourism activity that goes with it.
But still, in the years to come, there is few chances that the situation will get better, therefor, resorts need to renew their offer in order to keep running. One solution would be to develop summer tourism in order to make their lift more profitable as they can’t count on only winter season anymore and this represent a huge part of their spending.
A good example to show how the transition is going in Switzerland is Verbier. Verbier is one of the Switzerland’s most visited ski resort. It is considered worldwide, as one of the best places to freeride. In the first place, Verbier was only active during winter. People used to come here to ski. Nowadays, the resort has changed its horizons. Of course, during winter it is always possible to ski, but to avoid losing money, they had to imagine some activities for summer. That’s why they put activities in place, such as mountain biking, hiking, scooter riding, yoga at altitude or many others.You can also enjoy more and more festivals in Verbier during summer (as E-Bike festival, Verbier festival Open Air concert).
Due to these activities, people started coming during summer. It was not just a place to ski anymore. All of this had a great impact on the turnover of the resort. They earned more money so they could pay the fees of the resort. More people stayed overnight during summer and it was also a good thing for the stores of Verbier, simply because they had more customers.
In order to get ideal representation of where swiss resort should head in the next years, we analyze the case of Whistler, Canada. Whistler is known as a world-class mountain resort and has hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic games and has also been the first ski resort to open a mountain bike resort, as an alternative revenue during summer.
The resort is incredibly well developed not only for the activities but also for its infrastructures. Whistler do have a village with plenty of shops and restaurants, arts and culture scenes, health and wellness infrastructures. From the resort, you can enjoy many hiking and biking tracks, have fun during an activity such as zip lining or else do some golfing. Whistler has been able to exploit every inch of the field it possesses in order to maximise the number of entertainments it can offer to the client and make sure that everyone, regardless of his age, can have fun during his stay at Whistlers. Nowadays, Whistler is working financially as well during winter than during summer.
Of course, the resort has been able to put all these features into place thanks to its successful revenue and, if we compare Whistler to Verbier it would not be a fair comparison since the North American resorts is known all over the world. But Verbier has also made some progresses regarding summer activities to keep a revenue during the summer. For instance, they keep themselves up to date by offering mountain bike and hiking activities, as well as yoga classes and school outings.
To conclude, we can see that there are alternatives and it can be worth the investment now to anticipate the future seasons to come if we want to keep Wallis attractive for tourists. Developing new activities in summer will gather new customers and may create a trend is summer sports that will gather even more people. Therefore, resorts would depend much less on winter seasons, which could lead in a terrible disaster in case of a winter without snow.