“The electricity bill would represent between 20 percent and 25 percent of our turnover, against 5 percent currently…We will not be able to pay [for] it. As things stand, we won’t be able to open.”– Sébastien Giraud, Manager of the Villard-de-Lans station at Vercors Massif.
The energy crisis in Europe is worsening, as Russia is doubling down on its war in Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, the ski industry may be impacted by rising energy prices. Euronews.com reports that energy prices in France could rise eight times by next year, leading ski resorts to question whether it’s even worth opening for this upcoming winter. Ironically, this upcoming season was also supposed to be the biggest since the start of the pandemic. With these expected price hikes, French ski resorts are looking for government support.
The SATA group, which manages multiple ski resorts, said energy prices for them could increase from €2 to €20 million. Altiservice, which runs multiple ski resorts in France, said that their energy prices could rise from €2 million to €15 million. In terms of the effects on skiing operations, in the best-case scenario, some lifts could be closed during off-peak periods, and lift ticket prices could also increase. The worst-case scenario is staying closed for the winter, drastically impacting the cities and towns that rely on skiing and riding.
Not all ski resorts in France are in trouble though. Serre Chevalier Briançon draws electricity from three clean energy sources: hydroelectricity, solar panels, and small wind turbines. If energy prices do rapidly rise this winter, they plan to reduce lift speeds to lower costs.
It’ll be interesting to see if this will be just a European issue, or if it could affect North American ski resort operations as well.