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Morzine Adapts To Survive With Its Ski Lifts Shut

The French Alps resort that’s a favourite with the British is reporting a busy holiday period despite the closure of ski lifts and a lack of visitors from the UK.

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The resort, which is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area, decided to make the best of a bad situation and it seems to have worked.

Occupancy rates over Christmas and New Year were better than expected, instructors were kept busy with cross-country and touring lessons and businesses benefited from changing the way they operate.

The resort’s accommodation reservation service was around 40% booked over Christmas and 60% over New Year for self-catered properties.

“We had a really busy holiday time – especially New Year week,” Sara Burdon from the Morzine-Avoriaz Tourist Office told PlanetSKI.

New Year in Morzine

“A number of British run chalet companies had already been working over summer to adapt and welcome a French clientele.

“For at least two, Reach4TheAlps and More Mountain, this resulted in a 50% occupancy rate at Christmas and 100% at New Year.

“Others such as Alikats had also put into place a semi-catered concept with meal delivery to your chalet each day.”

More than 15 restaurants in the town offered a takeaway service ranging from crepes and vin chaud to pizza or burgers to high quality real “restaurant” meals.

Others provided raclette and fondue kits to recreate the Savoyard experience in self-catered apartments.

The French Ski School, ESF, also found some new clients.

Cross country skiing is proving popular

“The ESF were 40% busier than usual on ski touring and cross country skiing – although of course, nowhere near as busy as they usually would be with alpine skiing,” Sara added.

The Tourist Office worked with local guides and instructors to offer initiations to ski touring, and there was a wide programme of signed walks and snowshoe adventures.

Stargazing, shelter building, trail running, avalanche equipment workshops and first aid courses were some of the other ‘no-lifts required’ activities.

Large sledging areas and outdoor ice rinks were open.

Ice skating in Morzine over the Christmas & New Year holidays

There’s no doubt that this winter will be a very difficult one.

The ski lifts are currently closed across France by government order due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was hoped they would be able to open from Thursday (January 7th) but it’s thought a decision will not be announced by the government until some time on Thursday.

When the lifts start turning, Morzine will be is likely to be catering largely for French skiers and snowboarders.

Lockdowns are in place in all the UK nations with all but essential travel banned.

The situation in England, at least, looks like remaining that way until March at the earliest.

“Things are looking very uncertain for British skiers & snowboarders this winter, and we’re unsure when we’ll be able to welcome British here,” Sara Burdon said.

“A resort like Morzine is very dependent on British tourists and this winter is not going to be easy.”

They are, though, staying positive.

And those who’re able to be there seem to be enjoying themselves in the snow.

Fun in the snow in Morzine

For news of what the season was planned to look like see this earlier PlanetSKI feature.

More for Morzine in the season of 2020/21

Morzine, Portes du Soleil, France

Morzine, Portes du Soleil, France

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