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Tuesday September 20, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The USA was the most popular country in the world for snowsports last season. France has led the way in recent times.

The USA saw 53.9 million days skier days with France recording 52 million and Austria closing the gap on its alpine rival with 49.9 million.

The figures have just been published by Domaines Skiables de France, (DSF).

The main reason for the drop is put down to poor early season snow in the Alps. 

It was one of the worst starts to the winter in recent years with a distinct lack of snow in December and deteriorating conditions over the peak New Year week.

It wasn't until early January that good levels of snow arrived.

Here at PlanetSKI we were in the French Alps in December.

At Alpes d'Huez before the holiday crowds arrived and then in Val Thorens in Les3Vallees where the slopes were dangerously crowded as people headed to the high spots for the best snow.

Alpes d'Huez, December 2015Alpes d'Huez, December 2015














Val Thorens, December 2015Val Thorens, December 2015















DSF represents 230 resorts in France.

The overall numbers in France dropped 3% compared with the previous season of 2014/15 and registered a 6% fall on the average for the last four years.

In 2014/15 France was Number 1 with 53.9 million skier days - see here for our article on last year's report and figures.

And here is our report on the figures from 2013/14

French AlpsFrench Alps
















The French are putting on a brave face and remaining optimistic.

"The larger stations did OK, but the smaller and middle-sized resorts didn't come out of it so well. The problem was basically the weather, and that's out of our hands. What we need this year is more snow earlier," said a spokesperson for DSF said.

France remains the most popular destination for British skiers and snowboarders but Austria is catching up.

"Despite the slow start to the season, Austria hosted a record number of British skiers on their slopes in the 2015/16 season," said the head of the Austrian National Tourist Office in the UK, Ralph Strampfer, to PlanetSKI .

"501,000 Brits went on a winter holiday to Austria last year, the majority of which have chosen a ski holiday, which is great news and a really good uplift for the ski industry that had to overcome huge weather challenges over the last couple of years," added Ralph

Ralph StrampferRalph Strampfer
















The USA saw a rise in numbers after several poor years of snow. 

The snow fell in much larger quantities on the West coast and this helped boost numbers.

However the USA is in decline with British skiers and more now head to Canada than the US.

usa__top_01Back on top












Around 10% of French people ski though the numbers are in decline with people citing the cost and alternative holidays and activities on offer.

Mountain resorts in the Jura were the worst affected, with visitors down 23% in a year.

Vosges saw a fall of -16% and the Massif Central -15%.

The Pyrenees recorded a drop of -7% last winter.

The Savoie (+1%) and the Haute-Savoie (+0.1%) remained stable.

French ski resorts saw its highest numbers in the 2008-09 season with 58.9m ski days.

For the USA the highest recorded number was in 2010-11 when it reached 60.5m ski days.

The lead has been changing hands between the US and France in recent years.

The USA was the top skiing destination until it was overtaken by France in 2011-12.

Earlier this month the Ski Club of Great Britain released its annual consumer survey into the state of the UK Market - see here for our report.

And here is an earlier PlanetSKI story on the most popular ski resort in the world - any guesses which the number one resort is?

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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