Protestors gather over French ski resort closures

1st December 2020, by Abi Butcher

Demonstrators yesterday in the ski resort of Les 2 Alpes

Demonstrators yesterday in the ski resort of Les 2 Alpes

Anger is growing in the French Alps with demonstrations taking place all week to protest at the government’s decision to close ski resorts due to Covid-19.

Last week, President Macron announced ski resorts were likely to remain closed until January due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His decision has caused uproar.

Yesterday, more than 300 people gathered in two separate groups in both Les 2 Alpes and La Plagne to express their dissatisfaction with the closures. Representatives from tourist offices and town halls as well as restaurant, bar and shop owners plus lift company workers touted banners demanding “let us work” in an effort to convince the government to change its decision and let resorts open.

Today (Tuesday, 1 December) another 300 people gathered in Courchevel to broadcast the message “Let’s save the mountain, let’s continue to fight”. Protestors included the president of the National Association of Mayors of Mountain Resorts (ANMSM) and representatives from the tourist office in Courchevel.

Another demonstration will take place tomorrow (Wednesday, 2 December) in Bourg d’Oisans with other resorts from the Oisans valley and on Saturday (5 December), an an even bigger protest is taking place in Chambéry with more resorts.

Yesterday, the British ski industry had another casualty with the closure of Ski Amis, a long-standing friend of Where to Ski & Snowboard. The award-winning family-run catered chalet company ran a business across some of France’s most popular resorts including La Plagne, Les Menuires and La Tania.

A statement on Ski Amis’ website read: “It is with great regret that we have taken the decision to cease trading effective from Monday 30 November 2020.

“We would like to thank all of our loyal clients who have chosen us to take their holidays with over the years, along with the staff who have worked hard to provide our clients with the very best holidays.”

Dave Watts added: “I am so very sorry to hear the news that Ski Amis has ceased trading. The company advertised in the very first edition of Where to Ski & Snowboard way back in 1994 and has supported us ever since. Christine and Ed van Zadelhoff ran it for many years, taking over the reins from Christine’s parents who founded the company. Christine and Ed retired in 2018 to pursue their dream of sailing round the world and their daughter Danielle Fenton took over in 2019. They ran a very good, tightly controlled and great-value chalet operation and I enjoyed staying with them whenever I could.”

Editor Watts added: “It is a tragedy that this damned virus appeared out of the blue and has hit ski businesses so devastatingly hard.”

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