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Friday, 25 September 2015

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS: The French Ski Market

The good news is that France has regained its crown as the world's Number 1 ski destination.

The less good news is that this is the result of a 5% fall in skier numbers in the US. French numbers are down by "only" 2.7%, and so it returns to the top spot.

Terrible snow on the other side of the Atlantic is a key factor in the American numbers: this Planet Ski account contains more detail.

In total, France registers 53.9m skier days, with the US on 53.6m.  Austria is catching up, with just under 52m (up 2%).

This annual review, from the French ski resort association, says resorts didn't do too badly all things considering.  In particular, the early season snow was terrible, and the resorts remained plagued by late school holidays.

The southern Alps fared worst, with an 8% year-on-year fall, while the season saw a sharp recovery in the Vosges (after a disastrous 2013/14) and a good season in the Jura. Smaller stations were aided by the good mid-winter snow cover.  In the ski heartland of the northern Alps, which account for between 65-75% of skier days, visitor numbers are broadly in line with the previous four seasons.

All in all, not a disaster, but not too great either.  One reason why the big resorts are still coming up with new marketing schemes like the mega Tarentaise pass.

Early season in Les Arcs

(For more details on the 2013/14 season, click here.)

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