Two French glacier ski areas at Val d’Isère and Les 2 Alpes are due to open for summer skiing and boarding as scheduled this coming weekend as France continues to ease its pandemic lockdown measures.
For those in the area who are able to travel to the slopes safely, conditions are looking good, according to a resort spokesperson.,
“A series of spring storms half-buried the ski area during what would have been the official closing week at the start of May. Consequently, snow conditions on the glacier are nothing short of sensational. Although sadly, it has to be said, that because of international travel restrictions the number of kiers in a position to take advantage of them will be largely limited to those who live in the resort or nearby,” said a Val d’Isère spokesperson.
Val d’Isère (Pictured on 10th June last year) will open six groomed pistes on the Pisaillas glacier above the outlying hamlet of Le Fornet.
Three of the runs from 3300m down to 2725m will be reserved for French national teams and ski clubs in training. The remaining three will be open to the public with a one-day lift pass priced at 30€, six-days 175€.
Ironically, Val d’Isère had a vintage 2019/20 season for snow cover – even if skiers were denied access to it during the final six weeks of the season. In mid-March, like others across the Alps, the area was forced to close prematurely because of the threat of Covid-19.
Val d’Isère has had to tackle two major problems in re-opening the ski area. Firstly, snow clearance teams have had to work night and day to clear exceptionally large amounts of snow off the road leading up to the Col de L’Iseran, the highest paved mountain pass in Europe. The summer ski area is located at the top and skiers need to drive to the foot of the access chairlift.
Secondly, the resort has been working closely with the French Ski Federation to devise a way in which necessary health precautions can be put in place to ensure the safety of all skiers.
To enjoy summer skiing before the sunshine softens the snow, you need to get up early. The lifts will be open from 7am to midday. To ensure social distancing, numbers allowed on the glacier will be strictly limited to 500 a day during the first week and then increased to 600. Online reservations are required, allowing for arrivals and departures to be staggered in order to avoid any overcrowding.
Visitors need to book through firstname.lastname@example.org at least 48 hours in advance. Details of lift pass prices and health safety measures are available here.
Skiers will be required to wear masks while queuing at social distances for the lifts and while riding them. Anti-bacterial gel will be available at the lift stations.
The two French glacier areas will join five already open in Europe in Austria and Norway. Crans Montana and Zermatt in Switzerland as well as a fourth Austrian glacier, Molltal, are also due to open on Saturday taking the number of areas open in Europe back in to double figures after dropping to an all time low of two this time last week.