What not to buy in a ski resort?

Posted on 12 March 2014

What not to buy in a ski resort?

If the number of people I see leafing through property brochures in the ski resort of Meribel, where I have been living for the past year, is anything to go by, then owning a ski chalet or apartment is clearly high on many Alpine skiers agendas.

One way to finance this often large investment is to rent it out either through an agency or hand it over to one of the many ‘ski chalet’ companies that have been up and running in many of the Swiss, French, Austrian and Italian resorts dotted over the Alps.

But before you buy, there is some advice I would offer should you be considering buying a ski chalet or apartment that you will then rent out.

  1. Ski in and out
    The greatest allure that any ski property can possess is to be ‘ski in and out’ and ideally overlooking a piste, rather than down a track off the piste. Otherwise potential guests are going to have to either take a bus, taxi or their own car to first lifts – an inconvenience that will reduce your property’s likely income.
  2. En-suite rooms
    Each of the bedrooms in a ski property should be en-suite. This might sound like an unnecessary requirement, but rooms with ‘shared bathrooms’ sound more downmarket and are unpopular with guests who then need to wander down corridors late at night to visit the toilet or run around semi-clad when it’s post-piste shower time.
  3. Hot property
    Skiers imagine the cliché of a roaring fire when they return from skiing wet and cold and consequently expect it too from their holiday chalet or apartment.
  4. Boot rooms
    Most chalets and apartments in ski resorts come with a boot room in which skis and boards are stored and boots warmed overnight, but many of them have clearly been designed into the property as an after-thought and are either a long walk from the front door or at the back of the property – neither of which is convenient or desirable.
  5. Parking
    Many ski chalet and apartment holiday companies bus in their guests to a resort but, as independent travel becomes more popular, increasing numbers of skiers now prefer to drive to Europe’s resorts in their own cars. Therefore, properties without decent parking provision are problematical, particularly as most resorts now feature parking wardens patrolling pay-and-display car parks and on-street bays.
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