Family snow trips slide as costs climb

VISITORS to Victoria's snowfields are being forced to take shorter trips as the cost of a family weekend on the slopes climbs.

The major alpine resorts provided The Sunday Age with the estimated bill for essentials (including accommodation, equipment hire and lift passes) for a family of two parents and two children. A two-day visit cost between $1550 and $1850 for essentials alone.

A Roy Morgan study found that the average cost of a week-long Australian snow holiday was $945 per person. Snow Australia's chief executive, Colin Hackworth, said it was a myth that a trip to the snow was prohibitively expensive compared to other holidays.

He said people made the most of their trips by using snow cams and internet reports: ''The marketing snow reports the resorts used to put out probably don't work any more.''

Mount Hotham's head of sales, Gina Woodward, said the GFC meant visitors were now more likely to stay for three days instead of 10.

Tourism Minister Louise Asher said visits to alpine resorts fell last year by 7 per cent on the 10-year average, after low snow depth in the peak season.

While the number of Australians skiing locally remains flat, visitors to New Zealand's biggest ski resort, Queenstown, have risen 55 per cent a season since 2008, official data shows.

Albert Le will travel to New Zealand next month to snowboard. At a cost of $1800 it is more expensive than a local trip but he says it offers better value. ''You get much more consistency with snowfall [there] so you're guaranteed a good trip most of the time,'' he said.