Normally, the ski resorts should have opened this weekend of November 21 and 22. But this is not the case this year, due to the health crisis. But “the latest news is rather encouraging in terms of health”, estimated on franceinfo Saturday, November 21 Claude Jay, the mayor of the town of Belleville (Savoie), where the stations of Val-Thorens and Menuires are located.
franceinfo: Normally, you should have opened the slopes this Saturday, but with the health protocol, is that not possible?
Claude jay : After the measures that were announced a month ago, we are forced to postpone the opening of Val-Thorens to a later date. We don’t know the opening dates at all. We are nevertheless reasonably optimistic. The latest news is rather encouraging in terms of health and which, we hope, will allow us to open one way or another, before Christmas. For the moment, we have not been told either the date or the way in which we will open, but all the mountain authorities are working in close collaboration with the State services and the ministries concerned. We are optimistic that within a week or two, we will be able to have elements that are adapted to the situation.
Are there any reservations already in progress, compared to last year at the same period?
Ten days ago, it was in the order of minus 20% to minus 30% depending on the site. But, in Les Belleville, we are lucky to have three resorts, Val-Thorens, Les Ménuires and Saint-Martin, with quite different customer categories. So it’s a little more meaningful [le manque de réservations] in Val-Thorens, because the clientele is a little younger and foreign, it is a little less true in Les Menuires.
What measures do you plan to take to adapt the stations to the health crisis?
I have a team around me with a Covid cell that is working to prepare for the season and its opening. The key words are flexibility, adaptability. It will undoubtedly be necessary to change a certain number of habits, perhaps to make much more targeted animations which will require less crowds. We do not yet know if the restaurants will open at the start of the season, so we will have to collectively ensure that we are as much as possible in compliance with health rules. For example, at our resorts, we have validated the possibility of wearing not a mask but a neck strap which will be approved and which can be compatible with ski equipment. And afterwards, we will sensitize all socio-professionals.
On the hiring of seasonal workers, where are you?
The Minister of Labor has given the green light for the hiring of seasonal workers. It’s good news. We will undoubtedly open within a week or two our homes for seasonal workers. And there is still good news, since Val-Thorens has just been named, once again, the best resort in the world.