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Ski results for 2022-23 French Alps season and winter open dates

Results were down due to soaring costs and Britons outnumbered other foreign tourists on the mountains, figures show

A view of the Val Thorens ski station in the French Alps

A lack of snowfall in some areas contributed to the falling results last season, but overall visitor numbers were stable despite soaring costs Pic: Delpixel / Shutterstock

Visits to ski resorts in the French Alps were down 5% year-on-year for the 2022-23 ski season with Britons making up a majority of the foreign visitors as ski resorts prepare to open for this year.

The ‘results’ for last year’s season were unveiled by the Chambre professionnelle des opérateurs des stations de ski (CPOSS) at its annual congress in Toulon (Var).

Difficult economic conditions

Figures showed that takings were down 5% overall in 2022-23 compared to the 2021-22 season. 

This has been blamed on ‘less favourable’ school holiday dates, difficult social and economic conditions, and a major lack of snow in the southern Alps for much of the season.

Visitor numbers were reasonably stable with ticket sales bringing in €1.6 billion including tax. However, costs rose sharply, especially those for energy and salaries.

In some areas electricity bills have risen five to 10 times despite an overall reduction in electricity consumption. 

Salaries have risen 7% year-on-year.

CPOSS concluded: “This very sharp increase in costs without an increase in sales is having a negative effect on the operating accounts of ski lift companies.”

Lack of snow

The congress also highlighted that last year’s weather conditions made the season especially tough, with less rain resulting in a lack of snow at higher altitudes. 

The lack of snow at the end of February 2023 also meant that there was a record snow deficit in most of the region except in the Alpes du Sud.

“It should be noted that the winter results were very mixed, with the higher altitude resorts doing well and the lower altitude resorts suffering a greater drop in visitor numbers due to the unpredictable snow conditions,” said a statement from Les Domaines skiables de France.

Britons are back

Foreign tourists did return to the resorts in good numbers following the reduction seen during the pandemic years, however. 

British tourists were the most common in French ski stations followed by those from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.

French mountains are still on a high internationally. There were 51 million days of skiing overall in France over the season, figures from the US-based National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) show. 

This puts France in second place worldwide - ahead of Austria, Italy, and Switzerland - and just behind the US.

Opening dates for the 2023-24 season

Opening dates have already been confirmed for some stations in the southern Alps. 

Most are so far set to open either on Saturday, December 9, or Saturday, December 16. A few may open as early as Saturday, December 2, and others have yet to confirm for certain as it will be weather dependent.

A full interactive map, created by France 3, can be seen below. Zoom in to find out the opening of your chosen resort.

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