Hats off to Chamonix!
16th January 2021
Last modified on January 19th, 2021
Why? Because the resort tells it like it is with accurate and informative news. Er, not something we always receive from some PR people in ski resorts and certainly not in these dreadfull pandemic times.
The latest comes in its newsletter.
So, what is it like in the iconic French resort?
We repeat its newsletter without a single edit.
“Without our foreign visitors, the Christmas holidays were much quieter than usual with an average occupancy across the 2 weeks of 23%.
“Most affected were hotel bookings and a number of hotels have chosen to remain closed until the lifts re-open, whilst some only open over the weekend period.
“On a more positive note, occupancy levels of self-catered and private accommodation were better than forseen with an average occupancy over the holiday period of 55%.
“These reservations helped to sustain a part of our economy, and notably with a new French clientele coming to discover the mountains in winter.
“Activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are proving extremely popular and we are seeing an impressive growth in the ski touring and splitboarding sector.
“These activities fortunately generate some revenue for mountain guides, ski instructions and mountain leaders, but it is only a small compensation.
“British visitors represent 17% of our overall clientele and are by far our leading foreign market, followed by the Scandinavian, Swiss, Italian and US markets.
“In a normal January week occupancy would be around 25%, (143 000 overnight stays) and the town would be buzzing with all nationalities.
“Current figures record 8% occupancy, a fall of 60% .
“The situation will be reviewed on 20th January and in the meantime lifts remain closed, as we watch the snow fall in massive quantities.
“We are not currently in lockdown, but all bars and restaurants remain closed, except for take-aways, and from this weekend the curfew is brought forward to 6pm across the country.”
Now here at PlanetSKI it is a refreshing change to get accurate information, as we are grounded in London and have no intentions of skiing or travelling even if we could.
The pandemic needs to be seen off and then we can all hit the mountains again.
Patience and practicality is required at this moment.
We remain envious of people able to tour and splitboard in the Chamonix Valley and wish them all the very, very best.
Coincidently the final place we skied last winter back in early March, ahead of the ski resorts closing, was Chamonix.
We headed there from our winter alpine base in Aosta, Italy.
And then our editor, James Cove, took a decision to leave the Alps as we saw Covid-19 spreading with many seeming oblivious to the unfolding situation.
He had come from Italy and had seen first hand the virus spreading.
All the ski resorts were still open.
Some thought he was over-reacting.
Later this month, January 2021, The Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley will host two World Cup Men’s Slalom races on the “Verte des Houches” on the 30th and 31st January 2021.
We were there last season as the French crowd went wild.
In compliance with the International Ski Federation regulations and current health protection measures, the races will not be open to the public.
They will however be broadcasted on digital platforms and Eurosport expects to exceed last year’s record audience of 500,000 viewers.
Here at PlanetSKI we will be watching from London and cheering on GB’s Dave Ryding.
And dreaming of skiing in Chamonix when conditions allow.
It remains an utterly unique place in the mountains and an absolute favourite of ours.