The Ski Resorts rely on Winter Break to Get Back on Track

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Ski resorts are relying on a good winter break, after a poor start to the tourism Season

With Saturday launch of the winter holidays, ski resorts hope to get back on track after an early season marked by the lack of snow and a declining attendance.

With Saturday launch of the winter holidays, ski resorts hope to get back on track after an early season marked by the lack of snow and a declining attendance.

“A bad start season,” says Claude Daumas, Chairman of the autonomous federation of the tourism hospitality industry (Fagiht). “It will not be a great season, I even fear it is part of the worst,” he says.

Like many mountain professionals, hotels, cafes and restaurants have suffered from the lack of snow and the impact of the attacks of Paris. “A lot of customers from Asia, Russia and Latin American saying: + we do not want to leave in a country at war +,” said Daumas, which places its hopes on the upcoming holidays, “This is generally good but it is not complete everywhere, “he says.

Among the operators of lifts, as expected “many” of these four weeks leave (6 February to 6 March), representing approximately 35% of the annual attendance.

“We recorded significant revenue losses early in the season, which was partially offset in January. That said, much remains to be done, “says Pierre Lestas, President of France ski areas.

– ‘Dramatically doux’-

In early January, the trade association, which brings together more than 230 operators of lifts, announced a 20% drop in attendance during the Christmas holidays compared to the average of the last four years.

The activity of the ski schools also declined from 25% in December, while the sales decline reached 30% for sports equipment rentals.

The few January snowfall brought a clearing, sometimes short. The small town of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (Isère), devoid of snow guns has been able to open its slopes two weekends before being caught by the cast.

Even in stations equipped with snow machines, artificial snow production was possible only for a week in January, due to the mild temperatures.

“It is dramatically low,” admits Charles Angelo Ginesy, president of the National Association of Mayors of mountain resorts (ANMSM).

In Valberg (Alpes-Maritimes), it is well that dropped 30 cm of snow since the beginning of winter. But twenty tracks (out of 56) were able to open thanks to artificial snow.

“We absolutely have to redo the February holidays,” Mr Ginesy slides, displaying his “optimism”. “Where there is snow culture, people can ski,” he says.

– Snowfall planned –

In the Alps, it is only in Savoie and Haute-Savoie as snow is close to seasonal norms. And yet, only above 1,800 meters, according to Météo-France.

Elsewhere, snow is deficient or very deficient, both low-level and peeled ridges by the wind. In many massifs Mountain already has spring air.

But next week, Météo-France provides rainfall which “will allow the snow to find a little more consistent values ​​to the season.”

“Given this forecast, we are pretty confident,” smiles Pierre Lestas.

Especially as tourist accommodation occupancy rate should be stable compared to last year, according to the agency Savoie Mont Blanc Tourism, which brings together the largest hexagonal stations.

The first two weeks of vacation, crossing leave a part of European customers (British, Belgians, Germans, Swiss) were to be the busiest with fill rates exceeding 70%.

The last two weeks show occupancy rate close to 60%.

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