Abondance abandons skiing

The news has sent shockwaves through the Haute-Savoie. The local council at Abondance has voted to close the ski lifts. The ski resort has been loss making for the last 15 years. The local council tried desperately to find a buyer before the start of the season but was forced to run the lifts over the winter. This year’s poor snow was the final nail in the coffin. Requiring over half a million euros in investments the end has none the less brought strong reactions from the 1400 local residents and businesses.

Abondance is just one of twenty ski resorts in the Haute-Savoie that are apparently teetering on the abyss. The winter saw little snow below 2000 meters and temperatures 3 to 3.5C above average. A report by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) suggests that the number of ski resorts in the department will decrease from 37 to just 18 under such conditions.

The Haute-Savoie General Council has suggested that they convert from downhill skiing to other activities including ski touring, snowshoeing and even snow-mobiling. In the Savoie three snow mobile circuits have been established in the Bauges Natural Park although the minister of the Environment is contesting their legality. Often ski lifts are left to rust following the bankrupcy of a resort, in the case of Abondance the General Council is offering to part finance their removal.

In the Hautes-Alpes it also looks like the end for Céüze. The resort didn’t open at all last season despite some good days of snow cover. The franchise that runs the ski lifts was in dispute with the local council over snow making. Agreement had been reached to install snow canons this summer but worked has been suspended following a court case in the Marseille administrative court. The villages of Sigoyer and Pelleautier successfully claimed that snow making would affect their water supply. Jean Michel Garcin, who runs the lifts, was on holiday when the decision was taken to close Céüze and may not have had the final word.

The Isere department has been proactive in deciding the future of its ski resorts. In 2001 it asked Meylan based consultants Dianeige to study the future of the department’s ski areas. The report was a watershed. It suggested that 15 ski stations are not viable and should be given aid to convert to alternative activities. St Honore has already abandonned downhill skiing and looks set to be joined by other ski areas in the near future.

Further Information

French ski resorts saved by artificial snow
St Pierre de Chartreuse faces closure
Cheapest Apartments in the Alps
Winter 2007 Cancelled

Posted by davidof on Monday, 11 June, 2007 at 10:36 PM

Davidof, have you heard the rumour that a rich entrepreneur is in the process of buying the abondance ski domain and linking it in to nearby Drouzin le Mont? I have heard this a couple of times (probably the same rumour recirculating) but haven’t been able to substantiate it.

Posted by SnowMonkey on  Sunday, 01 March, 2009  at 02:21 PM

I have heard that Abondance will reopen downhill skiing next season so that could well be true. I will have to take a look at the council meeting minutes to see if this has been discussed.

Posted by davidof on  Sunday, 01 March, 2009  at 06:13 PM

Despite the warm weather the Domaine de l’Essert has partially opened this Christmas. The town has signed a 12 year franchise with Woody Sherwood PDG to create Ski Vallée d’Abondance. 600 000 € is being spent on upgrading the lift system with aims at expanding the ski area.

Posted by davidof on  Monday, 28 December, 2009  at 12:27 AM
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