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Old 01.08.2007, 14:07
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Skiing to be more expensive

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Skiing will revert gradually to its former status as an activity for nouveau riche gentry in helicopters. Itís not such a bad thing. Those of us without means but who love the Alps will once again relish the lonely silence as we trudge up the mountain trails on foot.
An article from TimesOnline about the closure of ski resorts and bankruptcy of a French lift and accomodation company and a further report from PisteHors.com.
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Old 02.08.2007, 10:06
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

That's just poor reporting, they are unaware that many French lift companies have not been run commercially for some time. Some were the results of enthusiastic public investment 20 or 30 years ago in locations that had enjoyed a few years of good snow but never stood any any real prospect of long term success.

The Pistehors article is more balanced as usual.
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Old 02.08.2007, 12:01
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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That's just poor reporting, they are unaware that many French lift companies have not been run commercially for some time. Some were the results of enthusiastic public investment 20 or 30 years ago in locations that had enjoyed a few years of good snow but never stood any any real prospect of long term success.

The Pistehors article is more balanced as usual.
But at the end of the day we are still left with the prospect that the Alps as a skiing region will be reduced to pockets of activity as many resorts will be forced to close ie all those below 2000m.

You can see this by the unwillingness of financiers to provide mortgages to ski resorts for improvement of facilities. The banks have effectively evaluated the risk of bankruptcy before the end of the 20 year repayment period as too high
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Old 02.08.2007, 13:25
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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But at the end of the day we are still left with the prospect that the Alps as a skiing region will be reduced to pockets of activity as many resorts will be forced to close ie all those below 2000m.

You can see this by the unwillingness of financiers to provide mortgages to ski resorts for improvement of facilities. The banks have effectively evaluated the risk of bankruptcy before the end of the 20 year repayment period as too high
that's been commented on in the press, to date though I'm not aware of any ski station or lift company that's canceled a program of investment because they couldn't secure loans, are you ?

Very, very little has altered here, a lot of the ski stations have always been marginal. The only change has been some press coverage and the urge of those concerned by the problems of climate change to find evidence of the effects where perhaps there were none.

Soft finance for dubious projects is hardly unheard of in Switzerland either, the best example being Glacier 3000 probably.
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Old 02.08.2007, 14:14
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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that's been commented on in the press, to date though I'm not aware of any ski station or lift company that's canceled a program of investment because they couldn't secure loans, are you ?
I personally have no idea whether programs of investment have been canceled, however I am fully aware of many mortgages that have been refused...
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Old 02.08.2007, 14:43
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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I personally have no idea whether programs of investment have been canceled, however I am fully aware of many mortgages that have been refused...
Sorry, I think I'm slightly misunderstanding what you're saying here, I thought you were talking about "mortgages to ski resorts for improvement of facilities" do I have that right? And that the above remark then refers specifically to "mortgages to ski resorts for improvement of facilities" rather than mortgages to individuals to buy chalets or small businesses like restaurants, shops etc etc.

The reason I'm surprised is that you've something of a scoop there, planned expansions of lifts and directly associated infrastructure are pretty public affairs and the ones that don't happen are punted around for years. So although there's been comments made in the press rather vaguely referring to increases in due diligence for financing projects in mountain stations there's not, so far and to my knowledge, been any actual effect on the system so far. Whereas I know for fact that it's been acting as a drag on the sale and valuation of businesses like restaurants and hotels which are so dependent on buyer sentiment and confidence.

It's doubly odd since the business cases made for some lift upgrades and expansions are related to expanding revenue streams from summer use, you can see an old drag lift isn't as useful in the summer as a seated lift of any description. And again, nothing new's going on here, this trend has been going on for some years, more than 10 years in effect with some of the projects.
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Old 02.08.2007, 15:07
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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Very, very little has altered here, a lot of the ski stations have always been marginal. The only change has been some press coverage and the urge of those concerned by the problems of climate change to find evidence of the effects where perhaps there were none.
I take it you have never skied in Zermatt? If you do, talk to any of the old ski instructors, and ask them where the glacier used to stop 20 years ago.

I only go there regularly since 1999, however even I can tell you of a number of slopes that have been closed for constant lack of snowcover / glacier withdrawal.

No evidence... indeed.
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Old 02.08.2007, 15:16
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

Interesting to see how some of the Central European countries are now pushing their ski slopes etc. OK, bit difficult for a weekend, but definitely worth a weeks break.
I went skiing in Slovakia, Czech Republic & Poland last season & it was refreshing not to be waiting in queues all day, ski & lift passes are more than affordable & the apres ski is a lot more friendly.
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Old 02.08.2007, 15:32
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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Sorry, I think I'm slightly misunderstanding what you're saying here, I thought you were talking about "mortgages to ski resorts for improvement of facilities" do I have that right? And that the above remark then refers specifically to "mortgages to ski resorts for improvement of facilities" rather than mortgages to individuals to buy chalets or small businesses like restaurants, shops etc etc.

The reason I'm surprised is that you've something of a scoop there, planned expansions of lifts and directly associated infrastructure are pretty public affairs and the ones that don't happen are punted around for years. So although there's been comments made in the press rather vaguely referring to increases in due diligence for financing projects in mountain stations there's not, so far and to my knowledge, been any actual effect on the system so far. Whereas I know for fact that it's been acting as a drag on the sale and valuation of businesses like restaurants and hotels which are so dependent on buyer sentiment and confidence.

It's doubly odd since the business cases made for some lift upgrades and expansions are related to expanding revenue streams from summer use, you can see an old drag lift isn't as useful in the summer as a seated lift of any description. And again, nothing new's going on here, this trend has been going on for some years, more than 10 years in effect with some of the projects.
You nearly have it right. Ski and winter sport infrastructure. This is not necessarily but could be ski lifts.
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Old 02.08.2007, 15:41
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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I take it you have never skied in Zermatt? If you do, talk to any of the old ski instructors, and ask them where the glacier used to stop 20 years ago.

I only go there regularly since 1999, however even I can tell you of a number of slopes that have been closed for constant lack of snowcover / glacier withdrawal.

No evidence... indeed.
Hi, I think you need to read the exact words I used as carefully as I picked them I was extremely careful to say nothing of the sort. I'm well aware of the state of the glacier on Zermatt and many other places, if you look at the link to my blog you'll see that. I apologise if English isn't your first language there but you've entirely and completely misinterpreted what I said.

I was trying very carefully not to get into that debate, no matter how strongly you believe that you're seeing evidence of climate change you also know that not everyone believes either the science of it or the impact. I'm just not going to get draw into that even to the point I'm not going to announce what I believe.

What I know, for an absolute fact, is that a lot of the reporting has been horribly inaccurate. Unrelated events, like the closure of Abondance in France, and the cessation of summer skiing at several places have been misreported as being emphatically linked to climate change, glacier retreat and altered snowfall patterns. The truth is that, so far, not one of these events has been attributed to that cause by the owners or operators of those facilities.

Again, credit to David at Pistehors who's stuck to the actual facts in his reporting as he always does. I think he won't mind, and would possibly be pleased, if I said he wasn't a professional journalist. Presumably the Times article is penned by a professional journalist and make an easy but entirely unjustified link.

If you're looking evidence of problems in snowfall then I'd suggest the place to start isn't the money that's not being spent but what is being spent, for example snow cannons and more particularly on high altitude installation of snow cannons.
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Old 02.08.2007, 15:47
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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You nearly have it right. Ski and winter sport infrastructure. This is not necessarily but could be ski lifts.
And would you like to say which? You're clearly still trying to suggest that some lifts are canceled because the bank won't lend money and I'm saying I'm aware of no actual case of that happening, so I'm asking you, are you? It's really a yes or no thing isn't it?

You must surely understand there's a fundamental difference between this and the bank declining a mortgage for a failing restaurant to someone who's decided they're going to try a life change.
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Old 02.08.2007, 15:55
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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I apologise if English isn't your first language there but you've entirely and completely misinterpreted what I said.
My understanding was that you said those closures are caused by poor management of the resorts. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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What I know, for an absolute fact, is that a lot of the reporting has been horribly inaccurate. Unrelated events, like the closure of Abondance in France, and the cessation of summer skiing at several places have been misreported as being emphatically linked to climate change, glacier retreat and altered snowfall patterns. The truth is that, so far, not one of these events has been attributed to that cause by the owners or operators of those facilities.
So what has it been attributed to then? Ah, not making money.

I wonder what the prerequisites are for a ski slope to make money.
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Old 02.08.2007, 16:03
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So what has it been attributed to then? Ah, not making money.

I wonder what the prerequisites are for a ski slope to make money.
I think that's fairly simple, costs such as power and insurance to pick two entirely not at random, being under control while income from things like, to pick something else entirely not at random, people actually turning up.

Abondance was losing money for years, year in, year out, good snow or bad snow so we can knock that one on the head. Is there a glacier ski area that stopped summer operation where you think a case can be made that it was only retreating glaciers that were a cause?
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Old 02.08.2007, 16:16
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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Is there a glacier ski area that stopped summer operation where you think a case can be made that it was only retreating glaciers that were a cause?
As a keen mountaineer / skier, I am sure you have heard what happens with the Peclet glacier at Val Thorens.

I heard they keep it closed because there is not much revenue to be made. That may or may not be linked with skiers' reluctancy to ski on gravel slopes.

Of course I may be wrong.
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Old 02.08.2007, 16:31
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Re: Skiing to be more expensive

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As a keen mountaineer / skier, I am sure you have heard what happens with the Peclet glacier at Val Thorens.

I heard they keep it closed because there is not much revenue to be made. That may or may not be linked with skiers' reluctancy to ski on gravel slopes.

Of course I may be wrong.
Are you really sure that's the one you want to go with ? Just kidding. The Peclet has receded but the lift was closed ultimately as it was no longer compliant with EU legislation. Summer skiing stopped there back in 2000 or 2001 was it ? Local to there La Plagne stopped but that's a complex story with broken promises and business skullduggery if you believe what's said locally.

If I were you, I'd have not risen to my challenge or at least altered the rules. I'd have said :

"hey, what about places they do still summer ski then? like Tignes that no longer opens all year round and has actually clearly stated in 10 years there may be no summer skiing due the glacier retreating. Or how about Val d'Isere? They actually started summer again but have had to resort to snow cannons on the glacier, how viable's that?"

Of course you can also ask who'd go to Val Thorens for their summer holiday ? I've got to say of the six or seven I was thinking of VT wasn't one of them and they were rather more current than that, ie of a time where people are more aware of the issues of climate change.
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Old 02.08.2007, 16:39
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Are you really sure that's the one you want to go with ? Just kidding. The Peclet has receded but the lift was closed ultimately as it was no longer compliant with EU legislation. Summer skiing stopped there back in 2000 or 2001 was it ?
Haha. Very funny. And do you actually know what part of EU legislation it wasn't compliant with anymore - and more importantly why?
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Old 02.08.2007, 16:49
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Haha. Very funny. And do you actually know what part of EU legislation it wasn't compliant with anymore - and more importantly why?
Actually I don't, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't how much snow there was

My attention is drawn to this piece also on Pistehors :

http://pistehors.com/news/ski/commen...change-stupid/


Here's my problem. If we believe that climate change is a serious challenge facing us all then we don't make that case well if we bend and distort events to suit the case we're trying to make. In fact that case is damaged irreparably. I'd suggest this is exactly what has happened and that certain lobbies have been able to dismiss some concerns precisely because of this.

The other problem is that professional journalists apparently just Google for everything nowadays and will read forums like this and take a received opinion as a fact. For ski stuff, if they're going to just copy what's on Pistehors you'd think they could at least copy it accurately.
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Old 02.08.2007, 16:56
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Actually I don't, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't how much snow there was
Its height above surface exceeded EU directives. Since the pylons didn't grow ( I assume ), it must be that the surface beneath it receded (of course, the fact that the glacier lost several metres in height over twenty years may, or may not have helped - what do I know).

It may be that it has not been refurbished (like its counterpart has in 2000) because the ever-receding snow conditions didn't allow the investment to be recouped. Or it may not.
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Old 02.08.2007, 17:08
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Its height above surface exceeded EU directives. Since the pylons didn't grow ( I assume ), it must be that the surface beneath it receded (of course, the fact that the glacier lost several metres in height over twenty years may, or may not have helped - what do I know).

It may be that it has not been refurbished (like its counterpart has in 2000) because the ever-receding snow conditions didn't allow the investment to be recouped. Or it may not.
No, it would have to be a new regulation in that case. You're fixating on the retreat of the glacier and forgetting all glaciers move forward all of the time. As a result you can't fix pylons for aerial lifts, those pylons get stuck on a piece of rock. Surface lifts are more flexible of course which is what you see most often on glaciers.
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Old 02.08.2007, 17:17
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No, it would have to be a new regulation in that case.
Do you know that for a fact?

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You're fixating on the retreat of the glacier and forgetting all glaciers move forward all of the time.
You'd be surprised. I'm quite familiar with glacier dynamics and laser pylon alignment technology.

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As a result you can't fix pylons for aerial lifts, those pylons get stuck on a piece of rock. Surface lifts are more flexible of course which is what you see most often on glaciers.

So... ummm... what were the 3300's lift pylons stuck in pray tell?
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