Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (2 Nov ’14)

What a difference a bit of the white stuff makes! Or the lack of it, in this case…

Two years ago, we had a couple of decent dumps of snow in Octobber and social media were fairly buzzing with #winteriscoming excitement. The top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook grew their fans over 6% in October 2012. This time last year, we had less and fan growth fell to 3%. This October, so far nothing special and only the glacier skiing resorts, Tignes and Les 2 Alpes, could open. Fan growth was just 1.9%.

Pending the peuf, resorts are having to make all their own running and a few are.

Pace-setters this month were La Clusaz (+9%), Serre Chevalier (+8%) and Méribel (+6%).

La Clusaz ran a competition again:

Serre Chevalier anticipated snow and promised a late November opening if possible:

…and Meribel gave fans a glimpse of what is to come:

Outside the top 50 but worth a mention is Flaine, up 11% in October since it started its #Selflaine campaign:

So get snow-dancing and hopefully we’ll see the numbers – and the snow depths – tick up in November.

Here’s the ranking in full, as recorded on 2 November 2014:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 115,906 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 48,224
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 41,250
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 25,838
  5. Grand Massif – 12,833

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 165,029 fans
  2. Megève – 114,978
  3. Chamonix – 75,219
  4. Tignes – 56,908
  5. La Clusaz – 53,992
  6. Les Menuires – 51,472
  7. Courchevel – 50,435
  8. Les Arcs – 48,456
  9. Val d’Isère – 48,141
  10. Alpe d’Huez – 41,353
  11. Les 2 Alpes – 39,354
  12. Cauterets – 39,122
  13. La Plagne – 38,377
  14. Serre Chevalier – 33,393
  15. Le Grand Bornand – 30,466
  16. Avoriaz – 29,267
  17. Saint Lary – 28,074
  18. Vars – 25,243
  19. Méribel – 22,385
  20. La Norma – 17,537
  21. Orcières – 17,511
  22. Les Gets – 17,301
  23. Ax 3 Domaines – 17,233
  24. Le Dévoluy – 14,277
  25. Les Sept Laux – 13,322
  26. Lac Blanc – 13,261
  27. Les Contamines – 13,045
  28. Peyragudes – 12,947
  29. Châtel – 12,500
  30. Les Orres – 12,477
  31. Morzine – 12,080
  32. Montgenèvre – 10,769
  33. Valloire – 10,051
  34. Aussois – 9,975
  35. Grand Tourmalet – 9,696
  36. Piau-Engaly – 9,346
  37. Sainte Foy – 9,243
  38. Les Saisies – 8,928
  39. Le Lioran – 8,364
  40. Les Angles – 8,097
  41. Chamrousse – 7,205
  42. Gourette – 7,086
  43. Praloup – 6,461
  44. La Pierre St Martin – 6,398
  45. Le Corbier – 5,508
  46. Samoëns – 5,377
  47. Les Carroz – 5,086
  48. Valmorel – 4,998
  49. Arêches Beaufort – 4,996
  50. Luz Ardiden – 4,971

Please note: these are official pages only and only those resorts are included that have at least some alpine ski uplift capacity, ie a ski lift. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Linked resorts/domains like the 3 Valleys are ranked separately and the count was done on 2 November.

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Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter this season

As French ski resorts tot up their skier days this past winter, I can already report that in one measure, at least, performance has been exceptionally healthy.

The top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter saw a 66% increase in followers this winter on average (1 December-1 May), compared to +36% for the top 50 on Facebook.

Here are the five who grew their follower base the most:

  1. Megève (+574%)
  2. Alpe d’Huez (+222%)
  3. Méribel (+109%)
  4. Avoriaz (+79%)
  5. Les Gets (+66%)

Of these, Megève ran a Twitter card campaign in February that saw it quadruple its followers in the space of a month. A few have since been drifting away (followers were down 2% in April).

Alpe d’Huez, meanwhile, has achieved its growth organically, since it set up a new team of community managers at the start of the season. It has been getting monster RTs recently for cycling-related tweets as the biking season gets underway:

Other random facts:

  • Pyrenees resorts were among the most dynamic with 5 among the top 12 biggest gainers, led by Cauterets (+65%)
  • Outside the top 30, Saint Gervais (+377%, rank 65) and Samoëns (+293%, rank 57) have made great strides
  • 11 French resorts now have 2,000+ followers, up from just 1 – Val Thorens – a year ago (official accounts only, in French and/or English)
  • 25 have at least 1,000 followers, up from just 11 this time last year
  • 2 resorts have English-language accounts in the top 10, both ranked higher than their French language accounts: Serre Chevalier and Morzine

Looking just at this April, average follower growth for the top 30 Twitter dropped to 3.1%, from 6.1% in March.

Here is the latest ranking in full, as compiled on the 1st of May:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,666 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,358
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,274

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,620 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 4,573
  3. Chamonix – 4,414
  4. Val d’Isère – 3,060
  5. Alpe d’Huez – 2,862
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,591
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,582
  8. La Plagne – 2,299
  9. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,053
  10. Les Menuires – 2,014
  11. Les Gets – 2,008
  12. Le Grand Bornand – 1,892
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,879
  14. Morzine (fr) – 1,852
  15. Avoriaz – 1,805
  16. Ax3Domaines – 1,634
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,591
  18. Les Contamines – 1,389
  19. La Tania – 1,337
  20. Aussois – 1,239
  21. Vars – 1,212
  22. Méribel – 1,151
  23. Tignes – 1,121
  24. Orcières 1850 – 1,080
  25. Peyragudes – 1,045
  26. Piau – 954
  27. Pic du Midi – 946
  28. Montgenèvre – 931
  29. Cauterets – 839
  30. Gourette – 818

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of May 2014. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please do let me know so this list can be improved for next month… Official resort accounts only and linked resorts/domains are ranked separately.

What’s hot: 5 cool moves to protect our pow

Winter is here. Thank the heavens, or the snow gods, or the powder pixies – whatever is your personal preference, it’s certainly looking good in the Alps so far. So here’s a little shout out for 5 cool moves to help keep it that way.

1. Greener grooming

Pistenbully 600E+

Hybrid pistebasher (credit: Pistenbully)

Two French resorts – the 3 Valleys and Serre Chevalier – have each acquired a brand new, more eco-efficient pistebasher for greener grooming this winter. The Pistenbully 600E+ is a diesel-electric hybrid that harnesses the energy on the downrides, enabling a 20% reduction in both NOx and CO2 emissions and a 20% drop in fuel consumption, according to its makers.

2. Clean lines
free navette poster

Free navette to Serre Chevalier

The Serre Chevalier valley is organising a free navette service from the TGV station in Modane to make it easier to take the train to the slopes. It’s only in peak season for now but show your support and maybe they’ll extend it. Reservation required.

3. Powering up

renewable electricity certificate

Les Gets signs up to use 100% renewable electricity

Les Gets is now getting all the electricity to run its lifts from renewable sources under a new contract with EDF.

4. Sharing the stoke

eco guide

Mountain Riders Eco Guide

Mountain Riders, the France-based organisation promoting sustainable development in the mountains, has published its newly updated Eco-Guide to mountain resorts. Useful information, no moralising.

5) Make it last

These past couple of weeks I’ve been in the US where I got a glimpse of the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday. It was scary. So this last one is a tip of my old ’70s wooly ski hat to Patagonia for their Worn Wear campaign, complete with Worn Wear parties in-store and repair your old gear clinics. Brilliant.

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (on 1 November)

A bit like Brits quoting Monty Python, if you live in the French Alps sooner or later you will find yourself around a dinner table with people falling about laughing and quoting lines from the film Les Bronzés font du ski.

This year in October, Les 3 Vallées put on Les Belges font du ski, a party in Brussels to promote the resort and the two La Folie Douces it now boasts, in Méribel and Val Thorens.

It is clearly doing a push on the Belgian market because its Easy Rider initiative to encourage new people into the sport (and to the resort) is inviting Belgian families to apply this year.

What with joining the Epic Pass as well, another Folie Douce party in London and a strong presence at the London ski show, all in all it has been a busy month on the marketing front for Les 3 Vallées – and it shows: Facebook fans rose nearly 9%, more than any of the other ski domains (note: domains, not resorts).

3 Valleys at London ski show

3 Valleys photo booth album at London ski show

It has also been a productive month on social media for Serre Chevalier, whose FB fans were up 23% in October after it announced it would open for (free) skiing on 13 December for the first 2,000 to apply (and, you’ve guessed it, like their page).

In fact, activity is hotting up overall as the temperatures cool down and fan growth on Facebook for the top 50 French ski resorts averaged 3% in October, up from 1.7% in September. After Serre Che, Les Contamines (+11.4%) and Chamonix (+10.8%) scored the highest fan growth of those in the top 50 yet again.

Here are all the scores on the doors, as recorded on the 1st of November:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 95,825 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 35,951
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 19,122
  4. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 13,071
  5. Massif du Sancy – 8,005

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Megève – 112,632 fans
  2. Val Thorens – 110,686
  3. Tignes – 45,659
  4. Les Arcs – 34,929
  5. Courchevel – 31,596
  6. La Clusaz – 29,466
  7. La Plagne – 26,477
  8. Alpe d’Huez – 26,420
  9. Serre Chevalier – 24,824
  10. Les Menuires – 23,938
  11. Avoriaz – 23,458
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 22,777
  13. Cauterets – 22,572
  14. Chamonix – 21,972
  15. Saint Lary – 21,615
  16. Val d’Isère – 20,340
  17. Le Grand Bornand – 15,325
  18. Vars – 15,271
  19. Méribel – 13,363
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 12,442
  21. Châtel – 11,326
  22. Le Dévoluy – 10,949
  23. Lac Blanc – 10,231
  24. Les Sept Laux – 9,727
  25. Les Contamines – 9,505
  26. Montgenèvre – 9,322
  27. Peyragudes – 9,169
  28. Les Gets – 8,920
  29. Les Orres – 8,865
  30. Orcières1850 – 8,616
  31. La Norma – 7,564
  32. Sainte Foy – 7,113
  33. Piau-Engaly – 6,392
  34. Grand Tourmalet – 6,367
  35. Morzine – 6,291
  36. Les Saisies – 5,949
  37. Les Angles – 5,636
  38. Aussois – 5,421
  39. Valloire – 5,019
  40. Le Corbier – 4,674
  41. Luz Ardiden – 4,099
  42. Praloup – 4,084
  43. Arêches Beaufort – 4,032
  44. Samoëns – 4,031
  45. Luchon – 3,971
  46. Villard de Lans – 3,970
  47. Valmorel – 3,828
  48. Le Lioran – 3,827
  49. Manigod – 3,708
  50. La Rosière – 3,681

Please note: these are official pages only and only those resorts are included that have at least some alpine ski uplift capacity, ie a ski lift. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Linked resorts/domains like the 3 Valleys are ranked separately and the count was done on the 1st of November.

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (on 1 October 2013)

A dusting of snow across in September heralded the start of autumn in the Alps. But it was not quite enough to quicken the social media pulse and the average monthly fan growth rate of the top 50 French mountain resorts on Facebook slowed further, to 1.7% in September, from 2.0% in August and 3.1% in July.

A few resorts charged ahead anyway, notably these five:

  1. Les Contamines (+21.4%)
  2. Chamonix (+10.4%)
  3. Le Grand Bornand (+7.8%)
  4. Serre Chevalier (+7.4%)
  5. Vars (+6.4%)

And snow did seem to be the common thread in their most engaging posts:

Dawn view

Chamonix showing off what it does best

Snow at Les Contamines

A sign of things to come for Les Contamines

Snow dusting Aravis mountains

Le Grand Bornand also makes the most of it

Meanwhile a handful of resorts lost fans, including at least one ( Le Dévoluy ) that had run a competition during the summer, evidence once again that money can’t buy you love.

Here’s the ranking in full, as recorded on the 1st of October:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 94,554 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 35,658
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 17,552
  4. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 13,028
  5. Massif du Sancy – 7,855

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Megève – 112,535 fans
  2. Val Thorens – 105,573
  3. Tignes – 44,431
  4. Les Arcs – 34,571
  5. Courchevel – 31,163
  6. La Clusaz – 27,391
  7. La Plagne – 26,073
  8. Alpe d’Huez – 25,662
  9. Les Menuires – 23,357
  10. Avoriaz – 23,054
  11. Cauterets – 22,482
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 21,853
  13. Saint Lary – 21,538
  14. Serre Chevalier – 20,231
  15. Chamonix – 19,833
  16. Val d’Isère – 19,789
  17. Vars – 15,040
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 14,242
  19. Méribel – 12,723
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 12,297
  21. Châtel – 11,260
  22. Le Dévoluy – 10,939
  23. Lac Blanc – 10,110
  24. Les Sept Laux – 9,452
  25. Montgenèvre – 9,183
  26. Peyragudes – 9,071
  27. Les Orres – 8,798
  28. Les Gets – 8,678
  29. Les Contamines – 8,531
  30. Orcières1850 – 8,448
  31. La Norma – 7,523
  32. Sainte Foy – 7,094
  33. Piau-Engaly – 6,260
  34. Grand Tourmalet – 6,231
  35. Morzine – 6,133
  36. Les Saisies – 5,780
  37. Les Angles – 5,516
  38. Aussois – 5,395
  39. Valloire – 4,958
  40. Le Corbier – 4,595
  41. Luz Ardiden – 4,063
  42. Praloup – 3,976
  43. Arêches Beaufort – 3,962
  44. Samoëns – 3,935
  45. Luchon – 3,930
  46. Villard de Lans – 3,904
  47. Valmorel – 3,756
  48. Le Lioran – 3,749
  49. Prat Peyrot Mont Aigoual – 3,657
  50. La Rosière – 3,573

Please note: these are official pages only and only those resorts are included that have at least some alpine ski uplift capacity, ie a ski lift. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Linked resorts/domains like the 3 Valleys are ranked separately and the count was done on the 1st of October.

‘Tis the season for season passes… or is it?

It’s that time of year again. Trailers to the new crop of ski movies are coming out, Eurostar ski train tickets have just gone on sale and the other morning we woke up to a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks.

Am I the only one starting to think about winter already? Clearly not. Right on cue, last week the post lady delivered our Evasion Mont Blanc season pass renewal forms.

So I spent a few hours recently not just watching ski movie trailers but also researching what other French resorts are doing about marketing next seasons’s passes, timing-wise.

What I found was a huge variation.

Early birds do catch the skiers

In the US, marketing next year’s seasons passes starts even before the last season has finished. Some early bird incentives have deadlines as early as April. And they seem to work, as a piece of analysis by Ryan Solutions shows.

In France, some but by no means all resorts have early bird offers, and the amount of incentive to commit early varies considerably.

First off, Les 7 Laux had a early bird offer for season passes valid up until 15 August allowing you to spread the payments over three instalments but that’s now over and, at the time of writing, there was no other special offer up on the site. Its rates for 2013-2014 are listed here.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 8.30.45 AM

Banner ad on Les 7 Laux’s home page earlier this summer

Montgenèvre has been offering a discount since mid-June if you buy before 15 September with – among other things – the added benefit that you get free access to the lifts this summer, which seems like a very decent incentive to buy early.

Serre Chevalier, conversely, has its season pass rates up and, if you order before October 31st, you get next summer’s lift pass included.

(Unfortunately, for both Montgenèvre and Serre Chevalier, the English version of the relevant website pages was not fully updated when I just checked; no doubt that will be corrected soon.)

Orcières 1850 also has an offer running, in place since the 1st of August, and with a deadline of 30 September. The pass includes 6 days skiing at other LaBelleMontagne resorts.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 8.35.33 AM

Orcières’ early bird offer

Alpe d’Huez meanwhile has two different discount offers: buy before 15 September and you get €250 off the full adult price of €790; buy after that and before 15 November and you get €125 off.

The season pass includes several days free skiing also at other Grande Galaxie resorts (Les 2 Alpes, Serre Chevalier, Puy St Vincent, Montgenèvre and the Italian Milky Way), with an interesting twist in that, if you buy at the cheaper rate before 15 September, you get 5 free days in Les 2 Alpes and, if you choose to buy after that, you get 10 free days there.

For the rest, it is a very mixed bag. The Evasion Mont Blanc early bird discount is valid until 15 November so, although it is good to know the rates, I don’t really see any reason to buy much before then. La Clusaz, similarly, has its new rates up and a decent discount if you buy before 1 December.

What is the best timing?

To what extent French resorts’ early bird season pass offers are successful in lifting overall sales is something I hope to research and report on later in the year.

It certainly seems like a good idea to engage with a resort’s summer holiday clientele before the end of their holiday while they are still in the mountains and starting to look forward to when they might next come back… or not.

It would also seem to make sense for the resorts with a big international clientele to allow them to plan ahead in a timely way. In the UK, the annual frenzy to snag ski train tickets to the Alps got underway recently and Easyjet flights have been on sale for a while. Yet, at the time of writing this, Val d’Isère was still showing last year’s rates on its website and it was by no means the only one.

Others, including La Plagne, have their rates up but also a message saying online purchase will be possible from this autumn.

Competition is increasingly global

Meanwhile, in the US, you have been able to buy the Epic Pass for 2013-14 since spring, which has 5 days in Verbier included and announced in May that 5 free consecutive days in the Austrian Arlberg (St Anton, St Christoph, Stuben, Zürs, and Lech) are now also included.

The Epic pass

Recent banner for the Epic Pass

That’s globalisation for you, and it will be interesting to see how the marketing of season passes by ski areas in France and, indeed, across Europe, reacts.

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (on 1 August ’13)

Is the heatwave around much of Europe going to be good for summer tourism in the mountains? Certainly plenty of French mountain resorts have been trying to make the most of it, tweeting about how refreshing it is up here:

Things are picking up, if follower growth rates are anything to go by. Average follower growth for the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter rose to 4.7% in July, from 3.4% in June.

Fastest-growing this month was Alpe d’Huez, feeding off its time in the Tour de France limelight and up nearly 29% on June. It has burst into the top 30 at no. 22.

Next is Chamonix, up 11.6% and gradually creeping up on Val Thorens at the top of the table.

Others in the top 30 growing their followers 6% or more in July were: Serre Chevalier (FR) (7.1%), Orcières 1850 (7.0%), Les Gets (6.7%), Megève (6.1%) and Les Contamines (6.0%).

Here’s the full ranking by total followers:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Portes du Soleil – 1,328 followers
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 1,259
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 1,004

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Val Thorens – 2,425 followers
  2. Chamonix – 2,111
  3. Les Arcs (fr) – 1,888
  4. Val d’Isère – 1,645
  5. Morzine (en) – 1,563
  6. Serre Chevalier (en) – 1,558
  7. Les Menuires – 1,457
  8. La Plagne – 1,320
  9. Ax3Domaines – 1,256
  10. Le Grand Bornand – 1,162
  11. Megève – 1,097
  12. Morzine (fr) – 1,096
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,020
  14. Aussois – 932
  15. La Tania – 921
  16. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 893
  17. Les Gets – 878
  18. Avoriaz – 777
  19. Vars – 691
  20. La Chapelle d’Abondance – 690
  21. Orcières 1850 – 672
  22. Alpe d’Huez – 617
  23. Les Contamines – 614
  24. Le Dévoluy – 557
  25. Vallée du Louron – 524
  26. Peyragudes – 513
  27. Montgenèvre – 508
  28. Les Sept Laux – 497
  29. Lac Blanc – 464
  30. Piau – 435

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of August. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please do let me know so this list can be improved for next month… Official resort accounts only and linked resorts/domains are ranked separately.