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French Ski Resorts Close & Delay Openings as Country Goes Into Second Lockdown

The glacier ski resorts of Tignes and Les2Alpes are closing at the end of today. Val Thorens and Val d’Isere have cancelled their openings in late November. We have all the news and latest reaction.

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The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has announced a second national lockdown.

  • Travel will be banned between regions.
  • People will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons.
  • Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will have to shut.
  • All social gatherings are banned.

The measures come into force on Friday.

The glacier ski resorts of Tignes and Les2Alpes in France are currently open for autumn skiing, but have announced they are closing at the end of today.

Tignes

“We feared it, and it’s now official: the Tignes ski area will have to close its doors tomorrow evening,” the resort of Tignes said on Wednesday evening.

“We were ready on October 17th to welcome ski enthusiasts… we will be ready again as soon as the context is favorable!”

“See you soon,” it added.

Tignes, France

Tignes, France

PlanetSKI reader Marcia Nash, who is currently in Tignes, says she’s upset for everyone in the ski industry.

“I started skiing on the Grande Motte glacier when it opened on 17th October and today will be my 12th ski day this season,” she told us on Thursday morning.

“Some might day that’s not bad but I was hoping for seven months!

Marcia’s view from the Tignes glacier on opening day

“I am gutted.  Not just for me but for all my friends who are ski instructors or training to be ski instructors or work in the ski industry or related jobs.

“For many of us skiing is ‘just’ a hobby but still a very important part of our lives.  For some it’s their livelihoods.  I hope they all get through this.

“I am optimistic that the Espace Killy and other French ski resorts can open on 1st December and we still get a ski season.

“Stay safe: protect yourselves and others; obey the rules.”

Marcia Nash and friend Tim Banfield on the Tignes glacier on Tuesday

And sadly Tignes was unable to open for skiing on its final day of planned operation due to strong winds.

Tignes unable to open on last day before lockdown

Les2Alpes

Les2Alpes announced its closure on Thursday morning saying “The resort and its ski area will therefore not be able to open on Friday.

“If you have any questions, you can contact the Tourist Office, and all the resort professionals are on hand to help you in this difficult time.

“Thank you for being here in Les 2 Alpes during these All Saints holidays and for having enjoyed a big breath of fresh air before confinement.

“In the coming weeks, the entire resort will continue preparing for the winter season in compliance with regulations, hoping that the measures taken by the Government will allow us to find ourselves this winter in the heart of the great outdoors of the 2 Alps.

“Take care of yourself and your loved ones”.

Our reporter in Les2Alpes is Alex Armand from Tip Top Coaching.

“It’s very sad that we are losing the last few days of the Toussaint holidays skiing,” said Alex.

“However better lose a few days now and enjoy a fabulous winter. The resort is due to open on 1st December and we at TipTop Ski Coaching are very much looking forward to a skiing filled winter.”

Alex was out on the slopes on Thursday morning making some final turns ahead of lockdown.

Alex Armand, Les2Alpes, France

Alex Armand, Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Tignes and Les2Alpes opened under two weeks ago:

France Opens for Skiing

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Guests will have to leave the resorts.

Most workers  and those that live in the resorts will be required to stay at home unless they are involved in health and safety work, or essential services.

People will need to fill in a form to justify leaving their homes as was required in the initial lockdown in March.

Anyone outside their homes will have to carry a document justifying their excursion, which can be checked by police.

The office of the French Prime Minister has confirmed that people will be allowed only up to 1km from their home.

Val Thorens & Val d’Isere

Val Thorens in Les3Vallees has cancelled its opening at the end of November.

“Tonight the French government announced a national lockdown until 1st December,” said the resort after President Macron’s announcement.

“This lockdown does not allow us to open Val Thorens and its ski area as we had foreseen, on November 21st.”

Val Thorens is offering this advice for people who were heading out to its opening:

“If you have a booking for La Grande Première or High Test by Decathlon via Val Thorens Reservation, you will be contacted by our teams in the next few days.

“If you have a booking with another accommodation, please contact them directly – you will find the contact details on your booking confirmation.

“With this post we’d also like to thank you for the numerous support and encouragement messages these last few weeks.”

Val D’Isere has also announced it is cancelling its opening:

Message from Val d'Isere

Message from Val d’Isere

Other Ski Resorts in France

Other resorts planning to open in the French Alps in late November are Orelle and Montgenevre.

They will have to cancel their plans.

In the French Pyrenees the resorts of  Barages and La Monjie were aiming for an opening date of November 28th.

Cauterets and Piau Engaly merely said they hoped to open in ‘late November’.

The vast majority open in December and all will be hoping that the lockdown measures have the desired effect.

Otherwise the start of the ski season of 2020/21 will be a write-off.

Coronavirus Surges in France

Some in France will oppose the measures, while others will look at the reasons why and support the new rules as France battles with a surging second wave.

“This is not the news we’d hoped for, BUT we believe it is necessary to control the number of COVID-19 cases across the country,” said the New Generation Ski School that operates in Tignes.

“One positive is that if we all stay home and stay safe now, the winter season will have a better chance of going ahead. We’re hoping this will avoid future lockdowns, once the lifts open.”

New Generation in Tignes

New Generation in Tignes

Daily deaths in France are at their highest level since April.

On Tuesday, 33,000 new cases were confirmed.

President Macron said France risked being “overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first”.

Cases in Europe

Cases in Europe

The new restrictions will apply until 1st December and will be re-assessed every 14-days.

Mr Macron said that public services and factories would remain open and added that the economy “must not stop or collapse”.

President Macron retained “hope that families will be able to be reunited for Christmas”.

It remains to be seen what Christmas in the French Alps may be like for us skiers and snowboarders.

It is not looking good.

At all.

We’ve had reaction over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page – feel free to add your views.

Facebook reaction

Facebook reaction

And here is more rection from PlanetSKI readers over on Facebook:

Peter Reynolds – This was always going to happen while the virus is with us, you’d be mad to spend your hard earned money on a ski holiday for this season.

Mike Hawker – I can’t see how it will be viable for Brits to go skiing and get value for money, there will be huge queues due to reduced numbers on lifts and in gondolas. Stopping for something on the mountain to eat or drink will also result in queues, again eating in to ski time. Let’s not even consider going for a drink in the evening. Unless something huge happens I think this years ski season will be a damp squib

Janelle Boyton Brunckhorst – this is exactly what happened to the Australian ski resorts this year   It’s devastating for the ski resorts and their surrounding regions

April-Minnie Potterton – doesn’t sound promising…

Matt Bramall – I really struggle to see how resorts and their businesses will survive if this is how the winter is going to go; shutting/re-opening every time theres a spike/fall in cases & deaths. I’ve worked in mountains the last three seasons and I really feel for those who have careers in the mountains and families to feed there. I hope businesses and tourist boards can get together with governments to try and find a more practical solution.

Neil Phillips – There’s not many families in the uk, that can afford to book a ski trip, on off chance they might go or not, or having to leave resort halfway through the week, if a lockdown is announced, like France did this year, on the Saturday

All we have booked is a tunnel crossing, which can moved multiple times

We are fortunate to own a motorhome, so no need to book anything

We usually book ski passes in advance, definitely won’t be doing that

Ryan Breding – The cure cannot be worse than the virus.

Scott Fraser – I really hope the season can go ahead for everyone involved in the industry across the world. Presently, it’s really not looking too promising.

Lynsey Devon – Better to have a circuit break now ahead of the real ski season. Macron at least has the balls to do it… we will be two weeks behind in my humble opinion. Opening 12 December, then Boris will claim to have saved  Christmas!

Melanie Copland – Tons of social distancing on the hill! We just had to wear our neck warmers up to our noses like masks.

Donna Parsfield – So sad

Tom Fortune – Don’t lose hope for this season. It hasn’t started yet for most resorts. The current lockdown is to give this winter a chance. Don’t cancel your holidays yet!

Nigel Morley – Remember I said expect the unexpected…. things are not great. Skiing will happen but not at the moment.

Feel free to add your comments over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.

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