Knight Frank 2018 Alpine Property Report Overview: Ski Resort Investment
In recent years, the Knight Frank Alpine Property Reports have uncovered that the biggest indicator of property growth value in a resort is investment in both skiing, and non-skiing infrastructure. It is no longer enough for even the most famous ski resorts to rely on reputation or snow-fall. Visitors expect more, and ski-property owners (and potential owners) are more inclined to buy in resorts which show investment in lifts, town infrastructure and activities for non-skiers as it equates to greater occupancy rates in both summer and winter, and shows confidence in the future of the resort. Buyers are paying close attention to resorts with long-term investment plans and funding already in place and this years Alpine Property Report highlights some of the investment plans France and Switzerlands most popular resorts have in place.
Investment in Ski Resorts in France
The mountain-Mecca of Chamonix has long been investing in non-skiing infrastructure thanks to its strong year-round population of residents and popular summer season. As well as the creation of new hotels, chairlifts and non-skiing activites there has been significant planned investment in the restoration/replacement of existing on-mountain infrastructure such as gondola's and mountain restaurants.
Future investment in Chamonix ski resort includes:
- The creation of a brand new beginners ski area at Grands Montets and replacement of the notoriously slow Marmattons and Tabe chairlifts in time for winter 2018/19
- A new 10-seater gondola at Flegere ski area
- A complete renovation of Le Tour lift station
- The opening of a new Folie Douce in the centre of town, including a hotel, spa and bar area
- A 10-year €477 million investment plan
The glamourous side of the Three Valleys, Courchevel has long been the go-to ski area of the royals, rock stars and business moguls of the world and is thus famous for its first class facilities. In order to maintain its uber-luxe reputation, the are contantly investing in the lifts, snow-making technology and village infrastructure to stay ahead of the game and ensure the best experience for the high-end clients that return year after year.
Future investment in Courchevel ski resort includes:
- The La Croisette Development in 1850 which will improve access for skiers and pedestrians
- €27 million new Le Praz gondola base with a 500-space carpark
- La Tania Moretta Village Development
- The construction of 7 new hotels
- 115 new snow cannons in the Courchevel and La Tania valleys
With central location in the Three Valleys, pretty villages and fantastic range of activities for skiers and non-skiers alike, Méribel has been the go-to ski resort for British families for decades. In 2014/15 they invested heavily in the lift infrastructure to make connections to the neighbouring resorts of Courchevel and Val Thorens more efficient and increase skiing access to more of the resort, and this investment is continuing well into the future.
Future investment in Méribel ski resort includes:
- A new high-speed Roc de Tougne 6-seater chairlift ready for winter 2018/19
- €42 million investment on te Grangettes gonfola and La Croisette development ahead of the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships
Built as an alternative to the Swiss St Moritz, Megève has been the go-to resort for old-money families who are looking for an all-round winter holiday where the social aspects of life are just as important as the skiing. Becuase of this, investments in new hotels and cultural centres are just as important as snow-making technology and improving ski lifts.
Future investment in Megève ski resort includes:
- €160 million investment in the development of three new hotels
- €85 million investment in new gondolas and snow cannons
- A new congress centre
- 2 new chairlifts improving the links between Rochebrune and Cote 2000
Val d'Isere is set to overtake Courchevel as the new prime ski proeprty market in the French Alps. The laidback-luxe of the resort appeals to those value pristine skiing conditions with the finer things in life once they are off the hill. As such, the improvements in Val d'Isere involve investment into creating the best possible ski environment in terms of efficient lifts and challenging pistes, as well as high-end off-mountain hotels, restaurants and boutiques.
Future investment in Val d'Isere ski resort includes:
- The opening of the Madamoiselle Val d’Isere in winter 2018/19, the highest hotel in France
- €250 million Le Coin de Val redevelopment
- A new lift in the Solaise area
- Creation of a new black piste and the reopening of the Teleski des 3000
- The opening of a new 4 star hotel, La Toviere in La Daille
- A pledge by the Val d’Isere lift company to remove 100 lift pylons from the mountains by 2022
Investment in Ski Resorts in Switzerland
For several years now Crans Montana has been re-creating itself as a "city in the mountains" rather than just a ski resort. With strong summer and winter seasons, a bustling town with enough shops, restaurants and bars to rival a small city and the opening of an international school just three years ago, Crans Montana has done incredibly well to establish itself as a more than just a ski resort.
Future investment in Crans Montana includes:
- Construction of two luxury hotels ready for completion in 2020
Playground to the stars of Hollywood, royals of Europe and business tycoons of the world since the late 1800's, St Moritz is the ultimate in glitz and glamour when it comes to ski resorts. The level of luxury in the village is unrivalled, and the famous champagne powder snow is unlike any other you will ski in. Coupled with the 300 plus days of sunshine a year its easy to see why St Moritz has stood the test and is consistently listed as having some of the highest property values anywhere in the world.
Future investment in St Moritz includes:
- Private bookings of the Corvalech (CHECK SPELLING) ski area permitted until midnight
- New Grace Hotel opening in 2020 at a cost of CHF50 million
- CHF75 million investment in new cable cars and connection of ski areas
Snow-sure with spectacular scenery, varied terrain AND a fantastic nightlife, Verbier has become the go-to resort for those who love to ski hard and party hard afterwards. The village itself is chic and charming with a number of high-end hotels and a cosmopolitan mix of bars and restaurants.
Future investment in Verbier includes:
- CHF300 million into the Bruson regeneration project
- A new CHF50 million sports centre
- CHF115 investment in upgrading the Curala ski lift
Villars is a well-established mountain town with great skiing for all levels, excellent on and off-mountain dining and home to several of the worlds most prestigious international schools. Recent years have seen considerable investment in the replacement or refurbishment of a number of ski lifts, and there is significant snow-making technology all the way down to the village to ensure you can ski home no matter how early or late it is in the season.
Future investment in Villars includes:
- Increasing parking infrastructure in the village at a cost of CHF40 million
- A new apartment development at Domaine du Roc
- Renovation of Hotel du Roc
- Investment in ski and non-ski infrastructure (CHF30 million)
With its epic off-piste, challenging black runs and impeccable snow-fall record, Andermatt is an excellent resort for advanced skiers (or those intermediates looking to seriously progress). Once a sleepy Swiss village, since the opening of the first luxury hotel in 2003 the resort has grown exponentially and now there are two distinct areas - the original, picturesque old village and the newer "luxury" village next door. The past 15 years have seen significant investment in expanding the ski area, creating & replacing new lifts and construction of new hotels and residential developments and this shows no sign of slowing down.
Future investment in Andermatt includes:
- Development of four new 4 & 5 star apartments and a sports centre (CHF 1000 million)
- A new Glacier Express railway station (CHF20 million)
- CHF 14 million investment in the retirement home and post office
- CHF 105 million investment in improving road access to the world-famous Schöllenen gorge
Ski resorts are no longer simply about skiing. With up to a quarter of visitors in the winter not skiing, investment in non-skiing related activities is paramount to the future success of a resort. Those that are skiing have much higher expectations about snow reliability, quality and overall skiing experience, so investment in snow-making technologies, faster lifts and more efficient links are key to greater occupancy rates in the winter. The move towards dual-seasonality shows that investment in winter-related activities is not enough, and investment in summer activities such as mountain biking, climbing and hiking are necessary for a ski resort to thrive in the future.
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