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Vars-Risoul Ski Area Splits Over Lift Pass Revenue Row

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Vars-Risoul Ski Area Splits Over Lift Pass Revenue Row

The link between the two resorts in the southern French Alps is cut as the 185km ski area will not be joined this coming winter. It has been a joint ski area for 46-years. Skiers are disappointed and are calling for an outbreak of common sense.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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One would have thought with modern lift system data it should be absolutely possible to do a complete revenue split

Total pass revenue X Subarea turnstile scans/total area turnstile scans. Could do it on a weekly basis for short term passes. Season passes might need a bit more accrual and true up.
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Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 7-10-22 13:14; edited 1 time in total
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@Alastair Pink, mountain mentalities.
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IMO the fairest way to split the revenue is to calculate what percentage of each person's total vertical was in each away and each resort gets the corresponding amount.

i.e,

skier 1 skis 60,000m vertical over the week, 40k in resort A and 20k in resort B, therefore resort A would get 2/3 of whatever skier 1 paid for their lift pass
skier 2 skis 30,000m vertical over the week, 15k in each resort, each resort gets half what they paid for the lift pass

This method incentives each resort attract skiers by installing improving their facilities and fairly recompenses them for this. It also helps give all skiers value for money as the resorts would have the same interest in attracting beginner and expert skiers. Install a fast new chairlift and the number of vertical m skied on your side will increase, or spend money perfecting the grooming on your blue runs and you will get more novice skiers
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@Dave of the Marmottes, @rambotion, it's trivial, and done all over the place, Cham, PdS, GM, Monterosa, 4 vallees, assume EK, 3Vs, etc. ...
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Reminds me of Pas and Soldeu a few years back - farmers causing havoc!!
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@Dave of the Marmottes, Risoul and modern lift system? Have you been? Smile you are correct, though, should be able to sort a revenue split. They'll lost lots of trade if they don't sort it out
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
One would have thought with modern lift system data it should be absolutely possible to do a complete revenue split

Total pass revenue X Subarea turnstile scans/total area turnstile scans. Could do it on a weekly basis for short term passes. Season passes might need a bit more accrual and true up.


I’ve been told that Dolomiti Superski does it this way. And also, that there are approximately 1200 stakeholders involved. Impressive if true.
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One of the nicest / best southern alps areas, ruined by probably the worst/slowest lift system in any major resort worldwide.....and now they're bitching about split in revenue. Way to win over those wavering punters who are thinking of trying somewhere new!!!
ridiculously short sighted......
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I was looking at going to Vars this year because the new lifts there should make a big difference. However, this might make me change my mind.

Of course, it could all be brinkmanship and, as the article suggests, differences could be overcome at the 11th hour.

What tense negotiations often need is a new party to enter the fray, preferably with some sort of 'oven ready' deal, to break the deadlock and provide clarity on issues such as a disputed protocol. I wonder if there is anyone with suitable experience available? Someone who has, maybe, recently lost their job?
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Something similar happend in the 4V in Switzerland a few years back. Heads were banged together and common sense prevailed.
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@Scooter in Seattle, see my post above. loads of areas do this. trivially easy to manage, minus mountain expectations.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@rambotion,
I can imagine that it is not quite as simple as skier use. If it was there might be little incentive to expand a resort into less reliable or attractive terrain. Visitors are attracted to an area presumably by the whole package but probably don’t spend time equally in every area. I can imagine that one of the negotiating parties will want a more even distribution based on costs rather than useage ?
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A few months ago I noticed that Crevoux is/was replacing one of its drag lifts with a chairlift. I can't quite work out what is happening as my French is not that good. However, it seems that Crevoux should be getting a new chairlift this year - but I can't work out if it's a new detachable chair or a second-hand lift from Vars. It seems that Vars own the Crevoux lifts as well, and some talk is that they'd use the old 'La Mayt' lift from Vars to replace the lower drag in Crevoux.

Pure speculation, but maybe Vars could expand in the future towards Crevoux? And there was always talk of links to Les Orres via Crevoux.
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As far as I can tell, this is still rolling on. Regional government not providing any funding to the resorts until they have sorted themselves out
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The problem with a simple revenue split is that it doesn't take into account the variable running, maintenance and development costs of each individual area. If I've got a simple drag lift on my bit of land that happens to be a crucial link between larger neighbours then, based on usage, I can just sit back and milk it with minimal running costs and without ever thinking about investment for the future.

This sort of attitude, apparently, lead to Morgins nearly going bankrupt a few years back, just before we moved here, as the owners had been taking their profits out for personal use and the company didn't have enough money for a necessary cable replacement on the main lift (Follieuse chair) out of the village. So the Region Dents du Midi (RDDM) company was born and is now responsible for the entirety of the skiing on the Swiss side of the PdS. No idea how much money was pumped into it by the canton/communes, but they're now going ahead with some significant improvements including a new cable car to replace the old lift.
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Quote:

probably the worst/slowest lift system in any major resort worldwide


Really?

I genuinely believed that particular accolade was firmly in the hands of Sauze d'Oulx?
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Quote:

mountain mentalities

This
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@mozwold, I think Risoul would run anyone close for the title of "Worst lift system". Some horribly long and steep drag lifts.
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Quote:

Some horribly long and steep drag lifts.

Keeps the riff-raff off the slope. They'd be doing well to surpass the "Seigneur" drag lift in Flumet - built in 1963 but had a squirt of oil every year since, without fail. 500m vertical uplift and maximum slope 66%.
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Not sure I agree with the criticism of the Vars-Risoul lift system nowadays. There's been massive investment in recent years - more than anywhere else in the southern French Alps.

3 fast chairs and a telemix all in the last 3-4 years is good going especially considering Covid has impacted income during that period.

There are only really three remaining unavoidable drag lifts - two at Home de Pierre (one of which will be replaced by another fast chair next year), and one long but benign one up to the area high point.

I would say the lifts are better than some other similar sized French areas such as the Espace Diamant, Les Sybelles and perhaps Megeve.
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@denfinella, yes, the recent addition of new lifts in Vars caught my attention and I'm considering going to Vars this year. Even if the two areas aren't linked it doesn't matter too much to me as I'll have a car and will buy day tickets - maybe three days Vars, two days Risoul and, perhaps, go to Les Orres for a day. Or might try a day in Crevoux if the new lift goes in there.

The recent article below seems to explain most of it well. I've copied the main bit and translated in google shown below.

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/hautes-alpes/hautes-alpes-la-region-paca-se-mele-de-la-discorde-sur-la-liaison-entre-les-stations-de-ski-de-vars-et-risoul-2644388.html

------------------------------

The negotiations around the conditions of reversion have failed. What does that mean? First you have to understand the context. The resort of Vars has a larger ski area than that of Risoul. Many skiers buy their pass in Risoul but use the Vars lifts. To compensate, Vars receives an annual payment from its neighbour.

This sum of money paid by Risoul, based on a certain number of criteria, is at the heart of the conflict this year. "This reversion system no longer corresponds to the reality of things, for Christian Reverbel, director of Sem Sedev. We wanted to put an end to it and start again on new healthy bases".

An audit office has therefore carried out a study, "accepted by the two resorts", specifies Christian Reverbel, to see how skiers behave from one area to another, and to allow the drafting of an agreement "reflecting the reality".

The conclusions have fallen: "540,000 passages from Risoul to Vars, to the disadvantage of Vars", reports Sem Sedev. After weighting, the sum of reversion falls: 1 million 200 thousand euros. "Thereupon, Labellemontagne says that 30% must be removed to finance the seller's share. We accept..."

The final amount of the reversion ultimately amounts to 866,000 euros. "And suddenly, Labellemontagne says that it does not suit him. But we ordered the mission at the same time, they paid for the audit!". Labellemontagne's response is far from this amount: it proposes a ceiling of 400,000 euros.

Dominique Laudré, the president of SEM-SEDEV and mayor of Vars, finally publishes the press release to declare that he renounces the opening of liaison.

"Sem Sedev, the ski lift and ski area operating company in Vars, is forced to give up the opening of the link with the Risoul ski area, operated by the Labellemontagne group, for the 2022 winter season. – 2023".

"We spend a lot of money on Vars. We embellish, we modernize... It is logical that there is a due. And we are imposed an adjustment variable that cannot suit us. It is not not reasonable. If there is a victim it is us", exposes Christian Reverbel.

For his part, Risoul considers that there are economic limits that are difficult to overcome. "It's a bit of a vicious circle. If the Risoul station conceded payments, it would also deprive itself of investment capacity, but we need to invest. We have to find a balance that preserves all interests".
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Real shame this, the linked area is on my must visit list, have been thinking about the sleeper train there from Paris. Together the size of the area is quite large but just one or the other is not enough for a week probably...
Does anyone know how this will work in practise? We need to buy two lift passes to ski both? Are the pistes that link the area physically shut and we have to take a bus to the other side?
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daveonhols wrote:
Real shame this, the linked area is on my must visit list,..

We need to buy two lift passes to ski both? Are the pistes that link the area physically shut and we have to take a bus to the other side?


Yeah you'll need a monster bus. Move it from the 'Must' to 'Must Not' list
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There is no direct bus link between Risoul and Vars. You would really need a car to access both resortson different days. Or perhaps stay in Guillestre in the valley, where there are probably buses to each of the resorts.
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@daveonhols, or just stay on the train to Briancon for Serre Chevalier instead.
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@denfinella, good to know that investments are being made in the lift structure in Risoul
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@dobby, mmm, though to be fair, all the recent investments have been on the Vars side - hence the row over lift passes.
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@HellsBells I did that last year, spent a good few weeks in Serre Che but always wanted to try the "foret blanc" Eh oh!
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