Earlier this month the ‘Ski Debrief’ event took place in Val d’Isere and revealed a contrasting mix of results for French resorts this winter.

Attendees included Laurent Reynaud from Domaine Skiable de France (DSF), Michel Giraudy (France Montagnes), Gerard Mattis (FPS), Michel Vion (FFS), Jean-Marc Silva (France Montagnes), Luc Reversade (Folie Douce), Alexis Dussilol (AirBnB) and representatives from Val Gardena et Ischgl.

ski debrief val disere

Here are key takeaways from the event:


#1 – French Lift turnover was down 5%
Turnover reported by Domaine Skiable de France (DSF) was down 5% YOY.  It was down 3% for the Savoie and 2% for the Haute-Savoie. Although Austria and the USA have not reported skier numbers for this season yet, it seems likely that France will lose its position as the world No. 1 in skier days that it regained in 2014/15.

#2 – 8% growth for Val Gardena
Val Gardena in Italy reported an 8% growth in revenues, despite being 20% down year on year for December.

#3 – 87% of French do not ski
According to a survey by FPS and Sportair 13% of French take to the slopes each winter.

#4 – The French market is ageing
The French ski market is struggling to bring in newcomers to the sport. Research shows 44% of skiers have been taking trips for over 20 years.

#5 – France has less artificial snow coverage than Italy or Austria
Only 1/3 of pistes in France can be covered with man-made snow compared with 2/3 in Italy and 8/10 in Austria.

#6 – Shorter trips are more common
The number of short stays in French ski resorts is increasing and now represents 47% of all visits.

#7 – Business for the ESF is increasing
ESF business has increased by 4% in the last year in the Haute Savoie and by 3.5% in the Savoie, according to Gilles Chabert, President of the Union of French ski instructors (SNMSF).

#8 –  High resorts are doing better than the average
While overall numbers are down year on year, those resorts above 1800m have seen an increase in overnights stays up to 4%. Resorts below 1800m have seen falls of 1-3%, according to Michel Giraudy, president of France Montagnes.

#9 – The number of French ski racers is decreasing
Although 48 different French skiers and snowboarders secured 127 podiums and 45 wins this season, there was a 5% fall in registered athletes.



Article by Iain Martin