Ski Resorts in France Set To Remain Closed in December
24th November 2020
Last modified on November 25th, 2020
France has passed the peak of its second wave of Covid-19, but tough restrictions remain in place until at least January and ski resorts will likely remain closed. It is a bombshell for the French ski industry. UPDATED
Ski resorts are currently closed and a decision on whether they will re-open and in what form was scheduled to be made in the middle of next week.
President Macron seems to have pre-empted that decision with resorts almost certainly remaining closed over Xmas and New Year due to the national restrictions.
President Macron said coronavirus risks made it “impossible” to envisage winter sports to resume quickly.
He said he would consult with his European partners to coordinate start dates for the winter season.
He said it was preferable to plan for a re-opening of the resorts in January “under favourable conditions”.
He promised an update within 10-days.
The Haute-Savoie département in the French Alps on Monday had the highest number of virus infections per 100,000 people in the entire country, followed by neighbouring Savoie.
Health authorities have warned that hospitals could be overrun if crowds of skiers from France and abroad were allowed to travel to those areas.
France totals has more than 300 ski resorts and employ 120,000 people.
They generate an estimated €10 billion each year.
It is a huge decision and a body blow to the French ski resorts.
Val d’Isere has issued the following statement:
“Faced with the health situation in France, and following the speech of the President of the Republic, the forecasts for the opening of Val d’Isère will be specified in the coming days.
“We will inform you as the situation evolves.”
The mayor of La Plagne and President of the National Association of Mayors of Mountain Stations (ANMSM), Jean-Luc Boch, says he is “stunned”.
“We are dismayed, everyone had worked for an opening for Christmas. This calls into question an entire economic model.
“After that, if this is the price that we must preserve an opening for the February holidays.
“Obviously we really want a reopening, but not at the cost of endangering public health.”
This from Les2Alpes in the Isere region.
“The President of the Republic has announced that if the final decision would be made in early December, he would not imagine opening mountain stations for the holidays,” said the resort.
“We will keep fighting so we can welcome you this holiday season,” it added.
See this related PlanetSKI article on the updated reaction from France:
UK operators will be contacting those that have booked Xmas and New Year Holidays in France.
One operator cancelled all its chalet holidays to France for the whole season earlier this month.
Hotelplan UK operates Inghams, Ski Total, Esprit Ski and Flexiski.
On Monday the French prime minister, Jean Castex, committed to clarification within 10-days regarding the opening conditions for ski resorts after discussions with alpine tourism representatives.
“At this stage, this issue is not yet clear-cut, as the options are still being considered given the uncertainties about the evolution of the health situation,” said Prime Minister Castex.
“The meeting made it possible to examine more precisely the conditions for the implementation of the different scenarios, be it the definition of a specific health protocol or, in the event of closure, the details of economic and social support for the companies and seasonal workers.
“In view of the preparation time needed to allow for a possible opening for the end-of-year holidays, a decision will be taken within the next ten days.
“It will be made in the light of the evolution of the health situation, which must be the essential criterion, and taking care to be as consistent as possible with our neighbouring countries.”
The Italian Prime Minister has already called for people not to go skiing and is urging a pan-European approach to opening ski resorts this winter.
Bars and restaurants in France will remain closed across the country with a review on January 20th.
“We must do everything to avoid a third wave, do everything to avoid a third lockdown,” said President Macron.
France has been under a second national lockdown since the beginning of November.
People have only been permitted to leave home to go to work, buy essential goods, seek medical help or exercise for one hour a day.
Anyone going outside must carry a written statement justifying their journey.
Last week we wrote an article about what next winter may, or may not, look like.
Events have moved on, but it remains worth a read.