The coronavirus keeps ski resorts in the Alps on edge

Will cable cars transport skiers in the French Alps this winter? This is a key question in the luxurious Courchevel station. The coronavirus has hundreds of ski resorts in France on edge. Despite this, everything is ready for the scheduled opening date of the winter season, on December 5.

“Courchevel has an international clientele of 70%. This year we are going to experience a particular situation because few foreign skiers are going to come. It is a clientele that will one day return, which is interesting because it has a lot of added value,” says Pascal de Thiersant, President of Société des Trois Vallées.

Despite the uncertainty, work continues at a station that has 2,400 inhabitants in summer and reaches 38,000 residents in winter. The fear is to relive a failed season like last season, when the first lockdown stopped the activity from March.

“A month with the station stopped translates into around 30% less turnover,” says Jean-Yves Pachod, Mayor of Courchevel.

To ensure health security, Courchevel will have a laboratory capable of testing 500 people a day.

“We have also recently incorporated antigen tests. The result will be displayed in just 20 minutes,” adds Jean-Yves Pachod.

Only one hotel is open all year round in the heart of the Alpine resort. Everywhere the number of reservations has dropped and the numbers are unclear as to how many restaurants are closed.

“The difference, this year, is that we give other options. We avoid confirming the reservation of rooms and do not ask for a deposit. The greatest difficulty is the catering service. We do not have a restaurant and we have to look for restaurants that offer a kind of catering service. rooms to adapt to the client’s request “, says Aurore Charvin, owner of the Les Monts Charvin hotel.

At his warehouse, Patrick Lepeudry has started receiving merchandise for his 13 sports stores. You are concerned about the business and will think about hiring temporary workers, even if it means sending them partially unemployed on some occasions.

“We have decided to reduce our orders by between 30 and 35%. For the rest, for the so-called seasonal workers, we are in an unknown situation. Many of them have no more income so, anyway, we have decided to hire them” says Patrick Lepeudry, owner of several sports shops specializing in ski equipment.

“The pandemic is not the only threat looming over an international resort like Courchevel. Brexit and global warming are also worrisome. Meanwhile, the resort finalizes preparations to host a women’s event of the Ski World Cup in early September. December “, concludes Laurence Alexandrowicz, Euronews special envoy to Courchevel.