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French ski station to open for two-day season after unusual snowfall

The Alpine station, which had been closed all winter because of Covid-related restrictions, will open on Sunday and Monday for the ‘shortest and most intense ski season ever’ 

Skiers take a ski lift up the mountain

A new report has found that the 2019-20 ski season was the worst for the global ski tourism industry in over 20 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic Pic: Gorillaimages / Shutterstock

La Clusaz ski station in Haute Savoie will open its doors to the public for the first time this season due to an unusually heavy snowfall. 

Two thousand skiers will be allowed in for free over the course of Sunday and Monday (May 23 and 24) between 08:00 and 15:30. 

France’s ski season was badly affected over winter with ski lifts forced to remain closed as part of Covid-related restrictions. The lifts were allowed to open again on May 19, which is usually well past the end of a normal ski season.

But unusual amounts of snowfall this month mean that skiing is still possible at altitudes over 1,500 metres.

“For weeks we have been dreaming of finally sitting on a ski lift,” La Clusaz ski station wrote on its website.

“We didn't want to believe it any more and yet, it seems that it will soon happen.

“We can therefore officially announce the opening of the winter season on May 23 and the closing of the season on May 24. The season has never been so short and intense!”

In total, five slopes will be accessible free of charge with skiers obliged to follow protocols, such as social distancing and washing hands.

One thousand skiers will be allowed per day, to adhere to the latest Covid-related rules. 

The 2021 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism, published in mid-April, described the 2019-20 season as the worst of the millennium for the global ski tourism industry, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It predicts the 2020-21 season will be even worse.

Warning for hikers after deaths on the Alps

The French national meteorological service Météo-France has called for hikers and skiers planning trips in the Alps to be cautious due to a high risk of avalanches.

Four people have died this week after being caught in avalanches while in the Mont Blanc ranges. 

The Mont Blanc mountain rescue services stated on Thursday (May 20):

“The very high level of snow accumulation and strong winds at altitude have contributed to destabilising the snow.

“Each time, the cause is the same. The movement of skiers or mountaineers triggers an avalanche of snow slabs. 

“For the coming days, we recommend the greatest caution.”

Read more:

Explore the Alpine village in France where winter is only just ending

Fears for UK ski and other seasonal workers in France

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