at Mourtis, we try to satisfy holidaymakers despite the lack of snow

Winter is very mild this year, so much so that low and medium altitude ski resorts do not have enough snow. At Mourtis, in the Pyrenees, professionals adapt as the school holidays start.

Close to the closed chairlift, at the Mourtis ski resort (Haute-Garonne), a few children glide in a sledge, on a corner of snow, between two patches of grass. “The arrival in the grass, it brakes, that’s for sure!”, laughs Didier. With the exceptionally mild temperatures, many mid-mountain resorts lack snow. Despite this, the Girondin, owner at Mourtis, has fun with his three-year-old grandson. “For him that’s enough! You know the children, 5 square meters of snow is good for them. I was planning to ski but hey, we do something else. We come, it’s mainly to change the air, the skiing is accessory! “, he admits.

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This is not the case with Claudine. This grandmother, who came from Brittany with her family, is very disappointed that the ski area of ​​the station is closed. “We would have liked the little ones to ski, at least learn a little, suddenly our grown-ups went to Spain”, she explains. They paid a rental “Quite expensive, we can’t go elsewhere. Too bad for us!”

Didier, originally from Lacanau and owner of a second home in Le Mourtis, with his grandson on their sledge.
Didier, originally from Lacanau and owner of a second home in Le Mourtis, with his grandson on their sledge. (LAURIANE DELANOE / RADIO FRANCE)

The eight instructors from the French ski school go to other resorts in the Pyrenees. Director Pascal Redonnet cancels the week’s courses: “I have all the email addresses of my clients and I have sent a message saying that I cannot provide the service. That makes more than a hundred children a day.”

It’s super delicate, and all our customers call asking if it’s going to snow, and there, the answer is: ‘we look at the weather like everyone else’.Pascal Redonnet, the directorat franceinfo

Traders are going gray, but hope to catch up later. Serge Peyroulet maintains a ski rental, a restaurant and rental apartments in the resort. Located right in front of the main ski lift, the strongest of its activity is ski rental. “There is no ski and then we start to see the first cancellations in the apartments, well it’s limited, people come because, as much the ski lifts are closed, but not the resort!”, he says.

Serge Peyroulet maintains a ski rental, a restaurant and rental apartments in the Mourtis resort.
Serge Peyroulet maintains a ski rental, a restaurant and rental apartments in the Mourtis resort. (LAURIANE DELANOE / RADIO FRANCE)

The holidays are just beginning, the time “can change”, hopes the trader. “We have had a high pressure for three months and we have had no luck with the snowfall”, he adds.

For the moment we are digging into the treasury and we will do it again later. We are in a resort which has a future in four seasons and if we manage to mobilize the summer, it can very well compensate for the lack of snow at the start of the season.Serge Peyrouletat franceinfo

At least cold would be needed to produce artificial snow and reopen the ski lifts. In the meantime, the 30 employees of the ski area are in partial activity and the Haute-Garonne Montagne mixed union is rolling out its plan B. “It’s a little complicated to get by without skiing, since skiing represents 90% of our activity”, deplores Hervé Pouneau, its director. “We will be implementing a lot of summer activities, such as mountain biking or the grass scooter, a kind of scooter with large wheels that allow you to circulate on the ski area”, says the manager, who also does not forget biathlon or orienteering.

Hervé Pouneau, director of the Haute-Garonne Montagne mixed union at the Mourtis station.
Hervé Pouneau, director of the Haute-Garonne Montagne mixed union at the Mourtis station. (LAURIANE DELANOE / RADIO FRANCE)

What if it was the opportunity to win new customers? Faïza, the organizer of these activities wants to believe it. “This is an opportunity for us to introduce other ski mountaineering activities to this clientele of skiers who are not necessarily used to coming to the mountains in the summer”, she explains. “The sun is here, we must take advantage of it! This strategy, we implemented it six years ago already since indeed, we believe in a four season resort, activities all year round, to support these medium altitude stations “, she concludes.

Mourtis traders say they will bite the bullet this winter and already prepare for their second season, next summer.

At Mourtis, professionals adapt when there is a lack of snow – Report by Lauriane Delanoë

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