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New list: Top 5 most in-demand ski stations in France

The most popular ski stations in France have been revealed, ranked not by number of visitors but by the number of times they were searched for on French online classifieds site, Gens de Confiance.

Family stations such as La Clusaz and Combloux are in particular demand, while the site also shows that some stations with fewer hotels are doing well regardless, thanks to their increased short-term rental options.

Gens de Confiance is a classified advertisements site based on referrals. This, it says, helps users to recommend good quality services and avoid scams. To access the site’s ads, users must be referred by at least three other people.

This new ranking is based on searches for ski station ads, including by chalet owners and people seeking chalet accommodation, who want to ensure that their host or guests are trustworthy. It also includes people seeking reassurance about the kinds of activities available at a given station.

Nicolas Davoust, president of Gens de Confiance, said: “Our members often go skiing with their family. They are looking for accessible stations, which are sporty enough to be fun on the pistes, but family-suited enough to have activities away from the slopes.”

Gens de Confiance is a classified ads site only accessible via referrals. (Photo: / Screenshot)

The top five most-searched stations are:

1. Saint-Gervais

Based in the Haute-Savoie, and connected to the popular town of Megève, newspaper Le Figaro called the station “chic but no-fuss”. Its ski area is named Evasion Mont-Blanc, and its luxury chalets are in high demand.

Bertille Marchal, marketing director at Gens de Confiance, said: “Owners are more than happy to rent their property to respectful families [through us], which may explain why some of them do not even look for renters elsewhere, on other sites.”

2. La Clusaz

Also in the Haute-Savoie, this station is based between 1,100 and 2,600 metres, across five different ski areas. In previous years, it has been a skiing competition site, but is also relaxed enough to be welcoming to families. It is also well-known as a popular mountain biking site in summer.

3. Les Arcs

This Savoie site has introduced a number of measures to make its station as sustainable as possible, including installing a 100% electric ski lift, solar panels on public buildings - plus algorithms designed to create the “best snow”. It appears to be working: the station is set to win the sustainability certification Le Flocon Vert (Green Snowflake) by the end of 2020, and it has come in third place on this ranking.

4. Combloux

This station in the Haute-Savoie has suffered from a lack of hotel beds in recent years, as some hotels have closed and many second homes lay empty for much of the year. In response, the Tourism Office has sought to increase the number of short-term rentals, and focus on the station’s family atmosphere.

Mr Davoust said: “Family stations such as Combloux and La Clusaz are more in demand on Gens de Confiance than very high [sporty] stations.”

5. Hauteluce

This perhaps lesser-known station offers views of the Savoie, and is located between the ski fields of Espace Diamant and Contamines-Montjoie - (the latter of which has become unfortunately better-known in recent days, as a site of new coronavirus Covid-19, after an infected British ski tourist stayed there after unknowingly contracting the virus in Singapore).

Yet, the beautiful landscape of Hauteluce itself has proven popular on Gens de Confiance.

Mr Davoust said: “Holidaymakers do not only look at the size of the skiing area. They also pay attention to everything that could improve their day once the pistes are closed.”

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