Buying or selling property is not supposed to be a gambling game. It's bad enough having to deal with the vagaries of the property market in your own country. It's worse when buying or selling across currencies. For someone based in the UK who is thinking about buying or selling a property in France, the Sterling to Euro exchange rate is yet another unknown to include in the equation.

Currency brokers can help smooth out some of these issues. At the outset they can be considered as a way to save money over the exchange rate your bank might offer. They can also help by hedging against currency fluctuations.

In this scenario I am thinking about a seller with 350,000€ to repatriate from their French property. For whatever reason they have decided to sell up in France and take the money back to the UK. It's not their fault that Brexit has caused the currency market to go haywire. But it can work in their favour. The weaker the pound is, the more their property is worth in £ sterling.

Take a look at the graph below. Our fictional sellers accepted an offer on their property in November when the exchange rate was 1.12. They would end up with £312,500 back in the UK.  But in fact it took a few months for the sale to conclude at which point the exchange rate is 1.18. This equates to only £296,600, a net loss of almost £16,000 and all because of a fluctuating exchange rate.

A currency broker could help in this situation. If a broker is approached at the time the offer is accepted they would take a 10% deposit to secure the current rate. If the sale falls through between this point and anytime up to 2 years in the future the money can be sold back to the market. There would be no penalty as long as this happened at or above the rate that had been secured.  That's what happens in the scenario above. However if the rate drops below 1.12 then the seller would have to compensate the broker for the difference. On the bright side, in that situation the property would have a paper value in pounds £ of even more than it started with!

 

euro graph

We've worked with the same brokers for over ten years. Let us know if you'd like us to contact you to discuss this.

Posted on by Gareth Jefferies


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One of the properties we have for sale has been featured in French Property News this month.

chalet in chatel

There is a lovely article about how the current owners started a chalet business from the property. You can see the full article here.

FrenchPropertyNews Mar 17 real life

Full details about the property are here

chaletfreinets_2

Chalet Freinets in Chatel, 1 375 000 €uros

https://www.alpine-property.com/chatel/chalet-freinets/2926

 

 

 

 

Posted on by Gareth Jefferies


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New for 2017, Trail Running in the Portes du Soleil

400km of signposted trails with 48 different routes across the 12 towns and villages of the Portes du Soleil. This is a big project that should be ready for summer 2017. It is one of the results of the drive by tourist offices around the Alps to diversify from a focus on alpine skiing.

It's a great idea. The Portes du Soleil is ideally suited to trail running, it's not a new activity, in fact fell running has been around forever, it is however a new idea to "package" it like this, providing signposting and resources to open it up to more people.

There is a website up and running http://tracedetrail.fr/fr/portesdusoleil and there will be leaflets available in the relevant tourist offices. An app is available for iOS and Android that will help with the mapping and tracking of each trip.

http://trailconnect.run/fr/applis-de-territoire/trail-running-portes-du-soleil/

trail runnin

 

The trails are all graded from easyish valley trails to some fairly extreme "skyrun" trails

TRAIL RUNNING X

It looks like they have wisely missed out an obvious candidate for the "Skyrun" routes, the "Roc d'Enfer" pictured below.

trail runnin_5

This is all part of a bigger network of Trail Running centres that can be seen here.

http://tracedetrail.fr/fr/user/portails 

There are already a couple of trail races in the area

http://en.morzine-avoriaz.com/agenda-hauts-forts-trail-race.html

and this

http://www.traildescretesduchablais.com/

and of course the crazy KMV in Montriond now in it's 7th year

http://www.savoie-mont-blanc.com/offre/fiche/kmv-de-nantaux-portes-du-soleil/196583

 

 

 

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We got featured twice in French Property News last month (February 2017).  Once in the "Ask the agent" feature and also a couple of properties in their "On the Market" page.

Click on the links to see the articles. We are in March's issue too, but you'll have to buy that to see the article (any good Newsagent or from their website) or wait until next month when I'll publish it here.

In the "ask the agent" bit I think they caught me at a bit of a low moment just before it snowed in January! Now we've got some snow the response would be more positive !

"interest has picked up again, and the buyers in the market are serious. In fact the ratio of buyers to browsers is as good as it gets. Couple that with a willingness from the sellers to negotiate a little and the market is ticking along fine".

ask the agent

 

on the market

 

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The avalanche report is a great place to find unbiased information about the snow conditions and the weather forecast. Obviously it should always be the first port of call before a trip off piste too. It's updated at 4pm each day. So it's ready to be checked the night before a trip out. The forecast is made by real people using real observations and not by a computer model that is taking a guess!

There is a separate forecast for each region. I'm concerned with the Haute Savoie, AKA the Alpes du Nord. It's all accessible from the following link.

http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches

Here I will deconstruct the forecast for tomorrow. Wednesday February 8th 2017.

 

avalanche forecast

You can see the region is split into 3 areas. The Chablais, Mont Blanc and the Aravis. I'll choose the Chablais because that is where I live. Tomorrow you can see the risk of avalanche is 3 (marqué), this translates as "considerable". This is the level at which most people get hurt! When it gets to 4 (fort / high) or 5 (trés fort / extreme) skiers tend to worry more and take conservative decisions.

  • To be more precise its level 3 at over 2200m metres and level 2 under that height. So basically it's 2 in 95% of the Chablais. The flag for 3 will fly in the resorts though.
  • There is also an avalanche "rose", that's the compass symbol. This attempts to let you know if there is more risk on one side or other of the mountain. This often happens because the danger will depend on the wind direction on the preceding days. In this case the risk is the same on all aspects.
  • Finally there is a short description of the hazard. So in this case some small to medium avalanche might release spontaneously. Whereas a skier could release anything. This is important because skiers are generally buried in avalanches they have released themselves.

The next stage is to click on the area that concerns you to get the forecast in detail.

avalanche forecast 2

Here there is more detail on the stability of the snow cover.

  • Spontaneous avalanches: some releases are possible on the very steep slopes/couloirs/changes of slope in the form of a flow or a crack (slab). The size of these avalanches will often be small but could become quite large in the cold areas that have not yet slipped since the snowfall on the weekend.
  • Skier released avalanches: A big crack (slab) is possible on the less steep slopes, not sunny, and not effected by the strong wind on Saturday. Be careful on the ridges and changes of slope angle in various aspects.

That is a bit of a mouthful. Worry not, the next bits have more pictures.

 

avalanche forecast 3

On these images you can see the actual amounts of snow that fell at 1800m and the forecast amounts.  Also the weather forecast for Wednesday, it looks to me like light snow all day, the rain/snow line is starting at 900m and dropping to 700m. The wind starts out from the NW and then strengthens from the NE. Wrap up warm, that's a windchill of less than -10C!

avalanche forecast 4

  • Here is a pictorial representation of the snow depths on the north and south side of the mountain. You can put your skis on around 800/1000m, once you get to 1500m there is a really decent depth of snow which is starting to settle. Tomorrow you can expect fresh snow all day and a bit of a north wind.
  • The "tendance" is always interesting, here they predict the risk will remain the same on Thursday and drop (become safer) on Friday.

The next bit of the avalanche forecast is new. It gives the history over the last 6 days. You can see how it was warm last week and has cooled off a bit since then. It also charts in blue the rain/snow line and how it has fluctuated as the two fronts came through.

The second chart shows the wind speed and direction. You can see that on Saturday the resorts had 100km/hr winds over the tops. Anyone skiing that day will confirm that 90% of the lifts were shut! It's significant from a avalanche point of view though, these winds will have built up accumulations of snow on the lee (sheltered) slopes, in this case a SW wind...means slabs on the NE slopes.

 

avalanche forecast 5

The final charts are self explanatory. Showing the evolution of the avalanche risk and the snow depths.

So there you have it. The avalanche report. A mine of information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geneva airport straddles two countries. It is mostly Swiss but there is also a French side to the airport. The story about how this came about is available on this Wikipedia page. The French side is very small and VERY easy to miss. However, when booking car hire on the internet it may be that hiring on the French side is cheaper than on the Swiss. If I'm asked for advice I will always suggest car hire from the Swiss side from a convenience point of view. I'm writing this piece to help people who have hired a car from the French side. Particularly those that are heading towards the the main ski areas of the Haute Savoie (places like Chamonix, St Gervais, La Clusaz, Les Carroz, Samoens, Morzine and Chatel)

For the average slightly lost tourist hiring a car from the French side can lead to a stressful end to a holiday. BUT for the accomplished and alert traveller it will not cause a problem.

The first issue is that from the French side you cannot guarantee the hire car will have a Swiss motorway vignette. If you need to drive on a Swiss motorway then you'll have to buy one for 40 CHF. You can avoid driving on a Swiss motorway, but to give you an idea of how ludicrous this is, the nearest motorway is only 200 metres from the hire centre!

If you are using a GPS the address for the French side is: Route Douanière, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland or coordinates 46.233842, 6.111623

Leaving the French side of Geneva airport.

Actually, first you have to get there. All international or Swiss flights distribute luggage on the Swiss side. Only if you have arrived from France should you follow signs to France inside the airport BEFORE picking up your luggage. Unless of course you are travelling with hand luggage only, in which case you can follow the French sign straight away. There is more information on the GVA website.

Here is the Google route for heading to Morzine. You can see that the difference between taking the motorway or not is only a few minutes. Remember, I'm assuming you won't have a vignette and that you don't want to buy one! So all these routes avoid the 10km of Swiss motorway. 

https://goo.gl/maps/mv2i8oDM9H12

"Via D902" is the one.

From GVA to Chamonix you'll add on 10 minutes by taking the route through Geneva that misses the Swiss motorway.

https://goo.gl/maps/iXynQZLVMaS2

For both Morzine and Chamonix once you leave P20 do the weird dog leg through the border (driving under the runway, round the border and then back under the runway!) then follow signs for Geneva centre. Once you hit the lake follow signs for Evian (if heading to Morzine or Chatel) or Annemasse (for Samoens or Chamonix), it can be a bit congested at times in Geneva but it usually moves. (Unless it's rush hour in which case this route can add 45 minutes)

Keep your eyes open on that weird dog leg, reversing it on the way home is the hard bit.

Returning to the French side of Geneva airport.

On the way you'll need to head through the centre of Geneva again. Then follow signs towards the airport. All the signs in Geneva point you to the Swiss side of the airport, and not to the French side. The trick when you get to the vicinity of the airport is to head for signs that say "La Faucille/Gex/Ferney"....whereas all logic would make you head towards Aeroprort/France...nicely illustrated here.

french side 1

You need to be in the right hand lane and head into the tunnel (under the runway).

https://goo.gl/maps/JkaXpTx8Vht

then get to the border, and take a hard left. See here. Above the sign that says Gex, it says "Aeroport secteur Francais", unfortunately google hasn't street viewed both sides of the road!

french side 2

https://goo.gl/maps/GQVZ5XoEQ2t

another little sign here

french side 3

https://goo.gl/maps/UrNhF7tQycx

If you miss those signs then drive 100m to a roundabout and then head back around to the border. It's more obvious now.

french side 4

https://goo.gl/maps/cxDmCaihgrp

and then

french side 5

https://goo.gl/maps/t1jB9gudbVn

You are aiming to get onto this fenced road, a weird piece of France in Switzerland. Obviously a deal the Swiss came to with the French when they swapped land for the runway.

french side 6

https://goo.gl/maps/HSPcoB5KbcP2

Further links

Availability of all the car parks and prices here. For the French secteur it's P20.

https://www.gva.ch/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-65/

Various versions of "how to get to the French side of the airport" are here.

http://www.chamonix.net/english/travel/rent-a-car-from-geneva-airport

https://www.carjet.com/blog/returning-a-car-hire-to-geneva-airport

http://web.onetel.net.uk/~dougmacarthur/FromGenevaAirport.html

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My brother Gareth was badly injured in an accident in Australia a couple of years ago. It’s left him with mobility difficulties, which means he can’t take part in sports like he used to. Gareth was a very keen and competent skier prior to his accident, and he had the opportunity last August to take part in a disability winter sports camp in Australia, which introduced him to the world of sitskiing. He made great progress during the 4 days he spent on the ski slopes, and was once again bitten by the skiing bug!

Gareth came over to the Portes du Soleil for Christmas, along with the rest of my family, so it was the perfect opportunity for him to build on what he’d learnt in Oz, and was a new experience for me and the rest of my family to learn about!

Sitski Lessons

Gareth booked a week of sitski lessons with Tigrou, an ESF instructor in Morzine, and one of just a handful in the area qualified to teach sitskiing. Day 1 started on a dualski, with Gareth firmly strapped in to the seat, affixed to two skis. The skis had a set of bindings at the back for Tigrou, who maintained full control of the sitski throughout the lesson. Because the instructor has full control, this type of sitskiing is perfect for anyone regardless of the severity of their disability: children, people with little upper body strength, and even frail-but-thrill-seeking grannies! It is quite a white-knuckle ride, the sitski is seriously fast!

Day 2, Gareth transferred to a uniski, a sitki with only one ski on the bottom. With a uniski, the sitskier has a pair of “outriggers” instead of ski poles, which are like mini crutches with a small ski on the bottom. The outriggers help with balance and direction, much in the same way as ski poles. With this set-up, Gareth was able to control the sitski himself, with Tigrou skiing behind and helping out with balance and steering.

pic-1

Over the course of the next 4 days, we were able to explore the full extent of the Portes du Soleil, skiing together as a family, and with Gareth increasingly taking sole control of the sitski, and Tigrou helping out less and less. It was great fun, and brilliant to all be able to ski together, rather than have Gareth stuck on the nursery slopes like a traditional beginner skier.

It is quite possible to become and independent sitskier, and once you’ve mastered the art, the possibilities are endless. We've made a short video to give you an idea.

Like anything else. it can get extreme. The Winter X Games Mono Skier Cross footage is just insane! It would take a braver person than me to head down this course, well worth the watch!

Sitski alone!

After a couple of days off for Christmas and Boxing Day, we decided to go it alone, and took Gareth’s own sitski up to the nursery slopes in St Jean d’Aulps for a maiden descent! It turns out this was a lot harder than we thought! Our first obstacle was the draglift. A slow-moving button lift with a very gentle slope all of a sudden seemed pretty daunting! After falling off the draglift three times, we abandoned using the lift and resorted to pushing Gareth up the hill ourselves!

Getting back down the nursery slope proved just as challenging, the poor conditions meant that the snow has hard and icy, and the nursery slope was about a third of its usual width. With little space to get enough speed up to successfully make his turns, Gareth spent as much time on his backside as on his sitski! After a few more goes, we abandoned for the day and went for hot chocolates all round instead!

Not wishing to be defeated, the next day we decided to give Les Gets a go. Unfortunately, with very poor snow conditions and crowded slopes, we all found it challenging! (Although Gareth did manage to get both on and off the chairlift without an instructor and without falling over, which was an achievement in itself!).

pic from http://www.adapt-evasion.com/pilote-dual-ski/

We were lucky enough to meet Martin Lister and his son Matthew, who came to our rescue after seeing us struggle to help Gareth get down a particularly icy section; I think our confidence was really beginning to waver! Martin told us he had had many years enjoying sitkiing with his son William who had muscular dystrophy, and they had sadly lost William just a few months prior. Martin and Matthew offered Gareth some practical advice, and with Matthew at the reins, Gareth successfully navigated the last section of the piste. It was really encouraging to meet other families with experiences to share, and Martin and Matthew were very kind and helpful indeed!

Sitski practicalities

The practical aspect of “disabled” skiing was also new to us. On the whole, we didn’t encounter too many problems. We were pleased to find was that disabled parking bays were available at the Prodains lift in Morzine (and later in the week at Les Gets too), which made things much easier. We also learnt that for disabled skiers and a companion, a discounted lift pass is available, which was a real added bonus. More difficult was accessing some of the lifts once in the sitski. It’s difficult to get the sitski through the turnstiles without getting stuck! We mostly had to approach the chairlifts directly from the side (and jump the queue!), but over in Chatel, the “turnstiles” were generally much better, as they were set up to allow mountain bikes through, so the sitski got through with ease.

Finding the right equipment is nigh on impossible too. For lessons, the ESF have equipment available, but I did not find a single ski shop in the Portes du Soleil that has sitskis for hire for Gareth to use for practice outside of lessons. Sitskis are very expensive to buy new (think in the thousands!), so it’s quite limiting for a beginner looking to improve on their basic skills outside of lessons. I was fortunate enough to meet Catherine Cosby of Ski 2 Freedom, who was very helpful. The Ski 2 Freedom foundation was set up to help facilitate access to alpine activities to any person with any kind of disability, anywhere in the world. Catherine is currently fundraising for a new sitski which will be made available on a permanent basis to anyone looking to sitski in Morzine. On the whole, Morzine is a pretty disabled-friendly town, so hopefully the addition of a permanent sitski will allow more skiers like Gareth the possibility to enjoy the mountains with as much ease as the rest of us! (If you would like to donate, you can do so via the Ski 2 Freedom website: http://www.ski2freedom.com/en/index)

 

 

 

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I don't suppose living in the Alps is that great from an Ecological perspective. Though as time goes on we are learning (actually, being slowly forced) to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. Not many people think about this though, even with the government's attempts to help (see the DPE labels). I've written about it in the past too (An Eco-Chalet in the Alps). Despite this I did have a customer say to me recently "I'm only interested in building a new place...for eco reasons", maybe as time goes on it will happen more often? Though I'm not sure that building from scratch is that eco-friendly, despite the fact the heating bills will be less. The carbon footprint from the new materials might well outweigh the long-term benefits.

hot-house-1

I've been living in my house for 14 years and have only got around to upgrading the last remaining single glazed windows this winter. It's never been a priority for me as I'm well aware that the pay back won't happen for 20 or more years. I took the opportunity to take some infrared pictures to show the difference before and after. It was a bit of an eye opener. Not the difference the windows made but how much heat my house is giving off!

The first photo shows my house on a cold day (-7C), the ground floor is 60cm of solid (stone and rubble) construction with no insulation. The upstairs of my property was insulated when it  was renovated 30 years ago. They use hollow bricks with a small amount of mineral wool insulation stuffed between them. There is no vapour barrier and externally the walls are wood clad. The shocking thing here is the walls are 10C. The single-glazed windows are obvious on the picture and are only slightly colder (15C) than the inside temperate at the time (19C).

semi

I live in a semi-detached house. The other side of the property is a holiday home and was unoccupied at the time. The difference between the two can be seen above and is stark.

I have a few before and after photos of my house here. The first one shows the replacement front door.

 

These pair show the windows before and after.

 

back

The rear of my house has been renovated by us in the last few years. We added double glazed windows, some thermal plasterboard to the internal walls and some insulation to the floor. The room was barely habitable in the winter and now it is just fine. The heater is the same size as before! The difference is obvious on this picture. The window glass is about -4C and the walls are mostly above freezing. The weak point is the window frames.

I live next to a newly built house. It's a "kit" house which is becoming the norm around here. The structure and walls are made in a factory, the house itself is then constructed quickly on site. The difference in economy is obvious.

modern

The outside of the house is pretty much at ambient temperature (it is not letting out any heat). There is one small issue around the garage door but that is about it! I mentioned this property in a blog I wrote a few years ago about building a chalet in the Alps. I've quizzed the owners of new properties like this and the energy savings are real. They are generally heated with electricity that powers an air source heat pump. The overall energy costs for a house like this are 30% of mine. So where I pay 300€/month for the heat+light for my house they pay 100€/month for the same sized building.

This traditional framed method of construction can be seen here:

new-build

A wood frame sits on top of a concrete base. The wood frame and the wall panels are made in a factory, insulation is added on site. The concrete is insulated inside and out and clad to taste. It's an expensive and materials hungry form of construction. You can see a nice cutaway below. Stone cladding, beneath that 40cm of insulation, 40cm of concrete and some more insulation and plasterboard inside. No expense spared!

 

renovation

SIP Panels (Structural Insulated Panels)

I've mentioned these in the past. SIP's are less materials intensive (and therefore cheaper), as well or better insulated as any alternative, quicker to construct (and therefore cheaper). I've noticed a few houses being constructed with these techniques around Morzine. Mostly by the aforementioned ECSUS Design using Kingspan products. In fact they have been building a number of chalets around the Haute Savoie. In the past their chalets have been quite simple. You can see an example of this on my article "how to build your own chalet" and in the video below. This doesn't always have to be the case, as seen here .... https://www.youtube.com/chalet-build-montiond and on this new build in Morzine

 

Resources for renovations

Everyone knows that the first thing to insulate is your roof, after that you need to eliminate draughts. More often than not if you do a cost benefit calculation for making further improvements to a house the investment is such that any pay-back will be 10 years plus. Building costs in the Alps are such that the pay back can be even more. Here are a few UK specific resources that might help.

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/energy-efficient-windows

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/solid-wall

This is an interesting product for helping to insulate an older home. It's an aerated plaster. An amazing idea from Switzerland but I fear it might be expensive.

http://www.fixit.ch/aerogel/?w=daemmputz 

 

 

 

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LE GRAND CERF
LES CARROZ

An authentic alpine village resort, situated under an hour from Geneva airport, Les Carroz forms part of the magnificent Grand Massif ski area with its 265km of slopes. Skiing has been taking place in Les Carroz since 1936 !! And since then, the resort has never stopped evolving. Big changes are on their way and a fresh wind is already blowing, maintaining the charm and authenticity of the resort at the same time. The key words are : comfort, accessibility, security, integration and diversification.

image7

Totem, a subsidiary of Ebenis, the designer of the Le Grand Cerf project, has completely understood all of this and put everything in place so that their new development falls perfectly in line with this concept. To this end, it has surrounded itself with experienced and passionate local partners in order to fulfill the necessary criteria required to achieve a residence of exception.

Alpine Property understands perfectly the Les Carroz market and the requirements of its clients. It is therefore with great excitement that we wish to inform you immediately of the marketing launch of the new apartments of this magnificent high quality residence which will be at the height of all your expectations for resort accommodation :

  • Respectful of ecological and insulation demands;
  • Well thought out living spaces ;
  • A welcoming and modern design ;
  • And above all……above all, the rarest and most sought after criteria : breathtaking views as well as ski in / ski out.

There are 40 apartments from 43m2 to 131m2 distributed between 6 small blocks, ranging from 262,000€ to 1,002,000€ !!!
All sold with, as a minimum, an underground parking space and a ski locker.
Options for some apartments include a fireplace or even a jacuzzi.

Lifts enable you to reach each level effortlessly and, most importantly, to have direct access quickly onto the Timalets slope where a green run gives you access in less than a minute to the main lift for access to all of Les Carroz and the Grand Massif ski area.

More information about the Grand Cerf development in Les Carroz can be found on the Alpine Property website.

image6
"Luxury, tranquillity and exquisiteness"
Comfort, views and direct access skiing

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I'd been hearing lots of opinion about the skiing at Avoriaz over the last week. Most people will know that the Northern Alps is really struggling for snow at the moment. So it was a surprise to hear:

"Incredible, I could not believe how good it was"

"Really quiet and loads of runs open"

"I don't know how they've done it"

avoriaz

I went up at the weekend to see for myself. It was all true and very impressive. I skied in Linderets and was sure there must have been over 1m of base on the pistes, all the way back to the carpark. In fact the run back to the carpark at Ardent was the best, I went down it at 11am, totally alone and still skiing the "groomers". I spoke with one of the restaurant owners and asked where all the water was coming from. "Pumped up from Lac de Montriond during the day" was the response.

It's not the first time that I've been to Avoriaz and been blown away by the work up there. It really does give an impression of being the perfect ski destination. It's not perfect at the moment but it's certainly not at all bad.

It made me wonder who is behind this slick operation. I know it's the Compagnie des Alpes, I've heard the name enough but what or who are they?

The most relevant points seem to be the fact they own

Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry, La Plagne, Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Menuires, Méribel, Les 2 Alpes, Serre Chevalier, and all of the Grand Massif (Flaine etc).

They are the main shareholders in Chamonix (37.5%) and Megève and have minority interests in  Avoriaz (20%), Valmorel et La Rosière (Sofival)

That's all quite a mouthful. Basically they are the biggest player in the ski business worldwide. 30% of the worlds ski area revenue goes through them.

That's not all, they also have an interest in the summer. They have the Astérix Parc, Futuroscope, France Miniature and the 4 Walibi Parcs

Overall they turnover about 700m€, with almost 5000 employees. As far as I can tell from this years 98 page annual report Avoriaz accounted for 37m€ of that and 6m€ in profit.

Further information is available here.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compagnie_des_Alpes

You'll see that the Compagnie des Alpes is part of  Caisse des dépôts et consignations.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caisse_des_d%C3%A9p%C3%B4ts_et_consignations

This is a bank owned by the French state. Not something I think there is an equivalent of in the Anglo-saxon world. But certainly an interesting circular relationship between the ski industry and the French nation.

The Caisse des Depots is probably worth a book on it's own. "Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and its subsidiaries constitute a public group in the service of the country’s general interest and economic development. The Group fulfils missions of general interest in support of public policies implemented by the French State and by local authorities, and it can carry out competitive activities."

 

 

 

 

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