Skiing was in a massive growth phase in 1984
Written by Alastair Scott, who had been appointed skiing editor of The Sunday Times by Andrew Neil only the year before, the book is a fascinating insight to a time when skiing was going through a massive growth phase.
Only a third of companies still in business
Scott’s selection of tour operators (‘not intended to be comprehensive’) that have ‘reasonably good reputations for organising skiing holidays’ is a fascinating read.
By our count, 13 of the 36 listed are still in business, and there are some wonderfully evocative names that have fallen by the wayside over the years.
Activity Travel – now only operate to Les Gets, but principally an agent.
Adventure Holidays – a schools company. No longer operating.
Ski Beach Villas – primarily a summer operator. No longer operating.
Bladon Lines – one of the quintessential 80s chalet companies. Alumni include YSE founders John Yates-Smith and Fiona Easdale, Momentum Ski founder Amin Momen, Alpine Answers owner Simon Hoskyns, as well as Natives & Skipedia founder Iain Martin. Bought by Inghams in 1995, who closed the brand down, then brought it back, before finally dropped it forever.
Blue Sky Holidays – no longer operating.
Club Mark Warner – ‘definitely for the more sociable skiers’. Now simply ‘Mark Warner’: the largest independent ski company left.
Club Med – the upmarket French company remain a niche operator for British guests.
Crystal Holidays – this ‘relatively downmarket’ operator is now the biggest UK tour operator.
Ski Enterprise – this became the First Choice ski brand, before it was absorbed into Skibound in 1996.
French Travel Service – we think this company is still in business, but they don’t do ski anymore.
Global – no longer in business.
Horizon Holidays – no longer in business (the current Horizon Ski has only been around since 2001).
Inghams – ‘no longer as upmarket as it once was’. Now the UK’s second largest ski company.
Intasun Skiscene – Intasun went spectacularly bust in 1991 after the Gulf War, taking Air Europe with it.
Kuoni – still in business, although does not carry many UK skiers
Made to Measure Holidays – were still in business up to 2008, but don’t appear to be operating now.
John Morgan Travel – well known in the 80s, but no longer in business.
Mountain Lodges – no longer in business.
Neilson Holidays – ‘pioneered the ski guide concept’. Now part of the Thomas Cook group.
Peter Stuyvesant Travel – no longer in business as a tour operator.
Powder Skiing in North America – no longer in business.
Ski an’ Do Holidays – no longer in business.
Ski Club of Great Britain – still operate their ‘FreshTracks’ holiday programme
Ski MacG – no longer in business.
Ski Sunmed – no longer in business.
Ski Supertravel – went out of business in 1989, but the name and mail-list was purchased by the Lotus Group and run as Lotus Supertravel until the old company name Ski Supertravel was more recently revived.
Ski Val – still a popular tour operator in St Anton and Val d’Isere.
Ski West – sister company of Bladon Lines and no longer in business.
Ski Whizz – no longer in business. Not to be confused with SkiWiz.
Skiworld – founded in 1982, Skiworld is the largest independent ski operator in the UK
Small World – no longer in business.
Snowtime – no longer in business.
Swiss Travel Service – still operating a small programme.
Tailor Made Ski Tours – no longer in business.
Thomas Cook Holidays – no longer an operator, although they do now own Neilson Holidays.
Thomson Holidays – part of the TUI group, still operating a reduced programme.
Please feel free to add a comment with your memories of any of the departed…