Banque Populaire Auvergne Rhône Alpes

Top 100, choices which have paid off

Thursday 21 November 2013

From number 112 of Aménagement & Montagne in 1993 to number 239 of Montagne Leaders, twenty years of Top 100 surveys. Support has remained the same, but the survey - and its economics - have become more professional.

Focus on key figures for lifts and ski areasCould the mountain be taken as an example?
Despite a difficult economic scenario, mountain leisure industries appear to pay their way over the years. Why? Quite simply because the French mountain sports industry never ceases to question itself; it re-invents itself every year in response to the opinions of its consumers and customers; it pushes forward to strengthen its position as a world leader - last year it was ranked the world's premiere ski destination and this year it has repeated the achievement.

The economic crisis of 2009, which struck many countries and industries across the world, may appear to be fading - but we are still waiting for the predicted bounce-back. In all economic sectors? Well no, not the mountain leisure industry or the winter sports industry; since 2009, the turnover of French ski area operators has gone on growing to reach a figure this year, for the Top 100 resorts, 1,299,409,742 euros.

20 years already!

20 years; 20 years in which Montagne Leaders has devoted a number to the Top 100 lift operators, 20 years of figures, analyses and data collection. Yes, it is thanks to you that we can celebrate this anniversary.
It is thanks to your data, your figures, that we can carry out this survey so eagerly awaited by the whole profession. Since 1993, when this survey was created - the first and only one of its kind - you have supported us, even in difficult seasons when there was no snow. Thank you!
Our thanks also to those who each year go through the motions of sending us their data even though they never appear in these pages. It is thanks to you that each year we can establish our full panel of respondents, which for the 2012-2013 season showed a turnover of 1,306,810,240 euros. Not to leave anyone out, we must also thank Domaines Skiables de France, its president Pierre Lestas and his general delegate Laurent Reynaud, who are fully committed to our survey.

What about the 2012-2013 season?

Turnover distribution by status and by tranche in the Top 100At first glance, the season got off to a superb start with an extraordinary marketing campaign: snowfall on low ground, from Paris to Brittainy, from the Pyrenees to the Vosges, by way of the Alps, the Jura and the Massif Central. And when there is snow on low ground before the season opens, bookings flow in, because if there is snow on the plains there must be snow in the mountains! In terms of snow, all the mountain ranges were spoilt - sometimes to excess. In terms of sunshine on the other hand, data varies between different operaters, but at least the snow was conserved naturally. So the season started at full tilt, with a very profitable Christmas-New Year period for the whole industry.
The machine was purring along; it didn't stop for the February holidays but went on in the same vein with good numbers and rising takings. And the end of the season? That is where the shoe rubs. The snow was there - but no customers. And why didn't the clients come for the Easter Holidays? Well, we all know the answer to that question.
A matter of current affairs, a recurring theme which is a source of concern for a whole industry, for all mountainous regions, and for jobs in the mountains and the resorts - the finger points once again to the school calendar. As Pierre Lestas, president of Domaines Skiables de France, rightly said "the President of France announces that he wants to make tourism a national cause" and yet the highest national authorities, including members of the government, do not appear to measure the severe consequences of the current school calendar, in which no change is programmed future years. If we are to support French industry and French strengths, why not support an industry which has ridden out the crisis, which pays its way every year, and which generates jobs and economic resources? 1964 and the launch of the Plan Neige (Snow Plan) seem a long way away. The French state stood behind the mountain leisure industry and pushed it forward towards world excellence. And today, now that France has regained its place as the world's number one winter sports destination, where is the country's backing?
Must we conclude that times have changed? Must we think, that is how it used to be? Let us not fall into pessimism. Let us be sure of our strengths - your strengths - to keep going forward and keep our ski areas and our work evolving.
Wasn't François Hollande's campaign slogan for the presidency "Change is now"? Well then, let's change this calendar which is such a straight-jacket, which does not reward the efforts that you make every year but penalises a whole industry. Let us think of the jobs, of keeping economic activity going in the mountain regions. And to raise your voices, not to the snowy summits but to the summits of the state, you can count on Domaines Skiables de France, your association, which has adopted the issue whole-heartedly; and of course on us, Montagne Expansion, to relay your words whenever it becomes necessary. For we are, will be and have always been on your side.

On the side of the Top 100

Top 30 skier daysThere has been a big change in the 2013 edition of the Top 100 ski area operators. La Plagne, which usually takes first place in the survey, has yielded its place to Chamonix-Les Houches this year. The order below these two is virtually unchanged, with Arcs-Peisey Vallandry taking third place and S3V fourth.
All the indicators are green for the 2012-2013 season. The turnovers of both the Top 100 and the full panel of respondents are up, by 7.73% and 7.66% respectively. The same applies to the figures for skier days, which rose by 4.47% for the Top 100 and 4.73% for the panel.

Meilleures progressions du chiffre d’affaires

Improved turnovers Plenty of ski areas reported big increases in their turnovers this year. Top of the list was the resort of Auron, which almost doubled its turnover as compared to 2012, with an increase of 91.77%. But this was not the only big rise; Pra Loup, l’Espace Cambre d’Aze, Gréolières les Neiges, Guzet, les Angles, le Val d’Allos and Autrans recorded increases of 66.25%, 58.67%, 55.85%, 47.64%, 33.22%, 32.20% and 29.08% respectively.
All the mountain regions reported increased turnover in the 2012-2013 season. In Haute-Savoie the increase was 8.88%, Isère 5.47%, Savoy 5.49%, Alpes de Sud 9.96%, Jura 21.19%, Massif Central 19.89%, Pyrenees 11.90% and Vosges 19.26%.
Since the 2000-2001 season, the turnover of the Top 100 French ski area operators has grown by 73%, from 751.1 million euros to 1,299.4 million euros.


France, premiere world ski destination

France regained its position as the world's premiere ski destination in the 2011-2012 season, and has held onto it this year over United States and Austria. The 100 top lift operators recorded 53,111,147 skier days, and French ski areas as a whole recorded 57,890,824 skier days (source DSF). The clients came back this year, and were able to enjoy a large number of improvements and innovations provided by lift operators. Because this first place has been achieved and kept in large measure thanks to continued investments.
Artificial snow, lifts, work on the pistes, new accommodation, damage and security, ticket offices are all items in which ski areas invest to keep up to date with technology and innovation, and to go on providing new services. The mountain does not stand still, and this can be seen winter and summer alike in active work sites and in events organised to promote mountain destinations.
"France, premiere world ski destination" - well that first place belongs to you, because it is your energy that has won and kept the accolade: we offer you our sincere congratulations, and wish you an excellent 2013-2014 season, at least as good as last year.

The information in this dossier is extracted from the exclusive "Top 100" survey. The whole survey is available in No. 239 of Montagne Leaders magazine.

> Dossier prepared by the editorial team.
> Photos: Copyright / Dovemed


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