French ski resorts celebrate bumper start to season

Rail strikes have not put off skiers, who are heading to French mountains in droves

Ski resorts in France are popping the champagne corks after a bumper start to the winter holiday season with skiers tempted by plenty of snow - and apparently not put off by travel difficulties caused by the railway strikes.

Resorts have recorded a 70% booking rate for December - up three points on the same month in 2018, according to figures from the Association Nationale des Maires des Stations de Montagne - with the northern Alps and Pyrénées seeing the biggest year-on-year increases.

The rail strikes have not put off holidaymakers, but have prompted resort managers to look to other travel options.

The popular Ax 3Domaines resort, in Ariège, has a partnership with SNCF and offers snow lovers combined rail ticket and ski pass deals. "We have put in place alternative solutions, such as buses from Toulouse, but this works more on weekends outside the holidays. Many of our customers also switched to car-sharing services or simply took their own car," the resort's sales manager told BFMTV.

And the seasonal goodwill looks set to continue. January bookings are up three points on 2019, despite the fear of travel difficulties.

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