WINTER SPORTS: On the slopes, France was dethroned by the United States as skiers shun the French slopes …
Skiers shun the French slopes. France was dethroned last winter by the US as world’s top destination for skiing. Attendance tracks traffic declined 3%, announced on Monday by the association, Domaines skiables de France (DSF).
With 52 million sold skier days (-3%), France now ranks second behind the United States, which recorded 53.9 million skier days (+ 0.6%), but ahead of Austria (-4% to 49.9 million skier days).
France and the US compete for the title
“We are the first in Europe ,” said Laurent Reynaud, CEO of DSF, a professional organization that brings together 238 operators of ski lifts in France.
— Domaines Skiables (@DSkiables) September 19, 2016
In recent years, France and the US compete for the top spot, according to the snowfall in the two countries.
France is thus topped the list of the top destinations for skiing on four occasions during the 2008/2009 winter, 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2014/2015. Before that, the United States still were dropping the first place.
The performance against last winter is explained by “a very difficult start due to the absence of low and medium altitude snow and unpredictable weather by creating operating conditions disrupted,” said DSF in a communicated.
In the US, attendance has instead jumped on the west coast over the winter precedent that was marked by a severe drought. Compared to the average of the last four seasons, attendance on the French tracks is down 6% in the winter of 2015/2016.
At the end of the season, 72 claim files were opened for a total amount of 2.85 million euros in the Nivalliance insurance system to cushion the difficult years for the stations. “It’s a big year for compensation,” acknowledged Laurent Reynaud, who believes that this is the worst for almost ten years. Jura resorts have experienced the largest drop in attendance (-23% yoy ) before the Vosges (-16%) and the Massif central (-15%). Savoie (+ 1%) and Haute-Savoie (+ 0.1%) derive their game, while the Pyrenees have limited the damage (-7%).
A particularly difficult winter
“The expertise and investment of ski areas have reduced the consequences of winter especially difficult. All in all, for the exceptionally mild winter temperatures and late rains, overall activity was resilient, “said Domaines skiables de France in a statement.
The trade association also calls for “optimize” the artificial snow production systems “in order to exploit the cold periods of the early season.”
Manufacturing a “sub-layer” of artificial snow in the autumn allowed several stations to save their season debut last winter.
The French ski resorts had reached an absolute record of attendance (58.9 million skier days) during the 2008/2009 season, 11.7% more than today. In the US, the attendance record was reached in 2010/2011, with 60.5 million skier days, or 11% more than last winter.