French Ski Resorts Take Government to Court Over Ski Lift Closures
10th December 2020
Last modified on December 12th, 2020
The organisation Domaines Skiables de France has taken its case to the courts this week. Observers believe it will have little chance of success. NEW
The country’s highest administrative legal authority, The Council of State, has heard the arguments this week, and a ruling is expected shortly.
It follows the decision of the French government to close the lifts in ski resorts in the Alps and the Pyrenees, Ski resorts in France set to remain closed in December.
By and large the resorts have reacted with anger and there have been a series of demonstrations and some intense lobbying:
So far to no avail, so now they have gone down the legal route and taken their case to the Council of State.
Snowsports in France is a huge industry worth around €10 billion.
Xmas and New Year account for a quarter of that – €2.5 billion.
“Lifts are essential,” said Joel Aviragnet, a parliamentary member for the Haute-Garonne department bordering the Pyrenees.
Bloomberg reports him as saying “The economy of our valleys is fully dependent on the opening of the mountain resorts and the operation of lifts.”
In the Occitanie region, resorts will lose €200 million over the festive period if ski lifts are closed, he said.
However, cases of Covid-19 are rising, and it is even possible that the national lockdown will not end next week on December 15th as planned.
President Macron said daily cases need to be at 5,000.
On Thursday 10th December there were 13,750 daily cases.
Confirmed cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period is currently at 110 in France.
The rise in Covid-19 cases is falling, but not by nearly enough.
Some argue it is better to close resorts at Xmas and New Year, so that resorts can open properly in February, the high point of the winter ski season.
“We want to save the height of the season, which is notably around the holidays from February to March,” Junior Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said in response to parliamentary questions on Tuesday.
“Therefore, it’s necessary to postpone the start of the season.”
On Friday the government is set to announce extra measures to help ski resorts that will likely include access to partial unemployment measures for seasonal workers and aid for small shops such as bakeries that depend on winter tourists.
The Council of State decision is now considering the legal cases and here on PlanetSKI we’ll be reporting on the outcome that is expected shortly.