Posted on: 2024-03-20 09:47:20 by davidof

Bumper season for French Alpine resorts

Despite variable snow conditions visitor numbers for French ski resorts are up on last year. For the Christmas - New Year 2 week holiday period occupation levels were 82%, an increase of 9% compared to last season. New Year was even better +16%. However the good figures mask wide variations depending on the mountain ranges with snow cover extremely poor below 1500 meters altitude. Many small ski areas were unable to open.

Not so in the high altitude domains of the Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Occupation level were 84%, up 11% on last season for the Christmas break. Figures were also good for the six week February holidays with overall occupation of 82.8%; an increase of 3.5% compared to last year. A similar situation in the Southern Alps with occupatation levels at 72%, +2% compared to last winter. It is a local market, 85% of skiers are French.

In the Jura the season has been described as "catastrophic" by Olivier Erard, director of Metabief Mont d'Or. Following early snow at the start of December the mountain range was lashed by torrential rain as whiplash weather destroyed the snowpack. The long distance Transjurrasian cross country ski race had to be cancelled and not a single long distance race was run in the mountain range this winter, a first!

The good figures are due in part to the timing of Christmas and New Year and the school holidays which were over just 2 weeks this winter compared to 3 in 2022 which concentrated visitor numbers. Christmas and New Year fell on Mondays this winter. In 2022 both holidays were on a Sunday and France does not give a holiday during the week in that situation which is less favourable for vacations. The high Alpine ski areas clearly picked up some visitors who would normally visit other resorts but visitors complained of traffic problems, lift queues and "rammed" pistes. l'Alpe d'Huez even considered rationing lift pass sales, traditionally they discount Saturday passes as the pistes are less busy. Not so in 2024 where the ski area attracted a large number of visitors from valley towns such as Lyon and Grenoble; attracted by easy access via the L'eau d'olle express lift.

Alerte presse OSM - Janvier 2024 (