I was at the London Ski & Snowboard Festival last month.

It has its critics, but I always enjoy catching up with other people in the industry, and also having the chance to meet the people that mean there is a ski business at all – the holiday-taking public.

London is the only remaining consumer show (reel back 15 years and there were shows in Brighton, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow as well), so it’s well attended by the public.

It was great then, to have the opportunity to present the Ski Flight Free message from the TalkZone on the opening day.

Iain presenting at the London Ski & Snowboard Festival

Promoting the Ski Flight Free message

It was great to see such a large audience of engaged holidaymakers and industry professionals, and I had the chance to talk to a few people afterwards.

One man told me he’d love to travel by train, but it just wasn’t economically feasible when you start from Gloucester.

Another couple told me that their environmentally-passionate son was travelling by train from Inverness to Crans Montana – four train journeys over three days – so determined was he not to fly.

“Meet the man trying to put us out of business!”

After the presentation I joined an event organised by Switzerland Tourism, where I met an acquaintance who works for…well, let’s just say…one of the largest ski companies.

He charmingly introduced me to a colleague: “Meet the man trying to put us out of business!”

Now I fully understand that larger tour operators have a commitment of charter flight seats that they need to sell.

Some even own their own airline.

But it seems that this chap feels threatened about a possible shift in demand away from flying to taking the train or driving to a ski resort.

Ski Flight Free is about changing supply and demand

Ski Flight Free is not about reducing the number of people skiing. It’s about changing demand (from consumers about how they choose to travel) and supply (from tour operators making it simpler to choose non-fly options).

Okay, so this throw-away comment was just ‘banter’, but it’s interesting to see how some companies react to the threat of change.

Smaller, more nimble companies, such as Mountain Heaven or AliKats react by introducing new discounted packages for more sustainable holidays. Larger ones react with fear.

“Be the change you want to see”

“Be the change you want to see” – choose not to fly on your next holiday.

Companies won’t go out of business, they’ll follow the market.


(c) Clodagh Kilcoyne