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SKIING

French Alps: American skier dies after fall in Mont Blanc range

An American skier died on Sunday after falling hundreds of metres during a trip with friends to France's highest mountain Mont Blanc. An investigation has been launched.

French Alps: American skier dies after fall in Mont Blanc range
Photo: AFP

The 37-year-old skier fell “hundreds of metres” according to reports on BFM TV on Sunday afternoon when skiing down a corridor in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps.

According to initial investigation by specialist mountain police the skier made a “technical error” that resulted in his fatal fall. He is believed to have died instantly.

The accident took place at 3,100 metres altitude high up on the slopes of Europe's highest mountain in an area known as the Cosmiques corridor underneath the Aiguille du midi.

The route is well known for being steep and rocky.

The skiers friends raised the alarm and French police will now fully investigate the accident.

 

TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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