Ski stations protest as government throws more ice on holiday skiing propsects.
Yesterday the French finance minister put a further chill down the spines of ski resort operators and skiers by suggesting that opening ski stations would risk creating new covid clusters that could lead to a third wave of the Coronavirus. This is on the back of President Macron heavily hinting in his address to the nation on Tuesday evening that ski resorts would not be given permission to open before January.
And in a bizarre plot twist, the Prime Minister today announced that ski resorts can indeed open for Christmas, but that ski lifts will not be allowed to operate until January at the earliest. We are also hearing news from various hospitality businesses in the 3 Valleys area that they're now expecting to remain closed until 20 January 2021.
Hopes are fading fast for that Christmas ski getaway, unless of course you fancy some self-guided off-pisting, and feasting in a self-catered chalet such as one of these, on airbnb.
A European-wide closure?
However, in the spirit of solidarity with their European neighbours, Italy and France want other ski nations to follow suit and agree to a closure pact. Perhaps they don't want all their customers to flock to their competitors! But it seems not all nations agree with the French approach. Switzerland is already open for skiing, and according to the BBC, Austria looks set to make its own decisions on Christmas opening too.
Millions of euros at risk
In France, ski station operators are up in arms. Le Dauphiné, the newspaper of the Alps region in France, reports that local mayors and lift operators are protesting and challenging the government's stance, which would put thousands of jobs and millions of euros of revenue at risk. The Christmas and New Year period alone account for a fifth of the season's revenue, according to the Savoie Mont Blanc tourist board.
A White Christmas, at least?
On the day that Americans around the world are giving thanks, this post is no reason for thanks amongst those who had been hoping to ski this Christmas in France. However, the word on the pistes is that Courchevel is almost fully booked already for Christmas, and Meribel is also still taking bookings.
So, it may well be that we still see a number of people flocking to the mountains to enjoy a white Christmas, with or without ski lifts in operation.
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