Figures recently released from the Domaines Skiables de France (French ski areas organisation) show that the country has more skier days than any other, at 53.9 million compared to second place USA at 53.6 million days.
The French ski resort of La Plagne can also claim to be the world’s most popular, with 2 million skiing days in total.
A further study released in September, conducted by the Ski Club of Great Britain and focusing purely on the British outbound ski market, backs up this figure with some more reasons why France might be the most popular destination…
• According to the report, over 40% of skiers from the UK fly to airports serving the French Alps, including Geneva, Grenoble and Chambery, with the sheer choice of resorts within reach of these areas being a main driver.
• Size and guaranteed snow were the top two reasons why people chose their skiing destination.
• France scores highest within Europe alongside Switzerland in terms of the quality of the skiing. This keeps skiers loyal and looking at retention rates, the report showed that France scored the highest at 72% with Austria coming in second at 64%.
Nowadays, around 35% of skiers choose to go direct to a chalet or hotel and then book travel and ski lessons around that. Skiers who own their properties in the Alps have benefited from the way each individual chunk of their holidays can be booked online, with France being the number one choice due to easy access and although it’s 4% of the overall market, there have been substantial opportunities for British buyers during 2015 because of the currency swings, meaning property in the French Alps is up to 10% cheaper than in 2014, whilst in Switzerland, it’s over 10% higher.
Chatel is a typical example of a ski resort that helping to improve France’s status as the number one ski destination. The report shows that its NPS (Net Promotor Score) has increased by 48.1 points during 2015, the 5th highest out of all ski resorts surveyed, whilst neighbouring Avoriaz is overall 6th place with a NPS of 67.0, with only Selva & Ortisei in the Dolomites scoring higher in Europe. The improved ski lift infrastructure, linking Chatel village directly into the Portes du Soleil area and a new sports centre facility is part of the reason and despite its relatively low altitude in French terms, the snow record is excellent due to its proximity on the north western edge of the Alps. Combined with the fact that it’s just over an hour’s drive away from Geneva Airport means for British skiers looking at shorter trips away, it’s an ideal base to invest in.
Julian Walker, from skiingproperty.com, recognises France as the obvious choice for investment in ski resorts and explains why. ‘We’ve all known for years why British skiers head to the French Alps – good snow records, large ski areas, easy access and a choice of traditional villages and modern purpose built resorts that offer convenience. The fact that it’s now officially the world’s number one skiing destination means we’ll see increased stability in the property market whilst still providing the widest choice in accommodation across the Alps’.