With snow in short supply this year, some French ski resorts are asking locals to stay away from the slopes and give priority to tourists.
In towns like Val Thorens and Les Menuires in the Savoie region, the local economy is heavily dependent on skiing and, nationally, the warm weather has led to a 15% drop in reservations compared to the same time last year.
The appeal to locals is entirely voluntary – not a ban but a call to citizenship. But not everyone is on board with the new proposal.
“I find all this ridiculous,” said one woman about to hit the slopes on Thursday. “It’s like asking Parisians not to drive on the ring road to leave room for tourists during the Christmas holidays.”
At least one visitor said he thought it was a fair solution: “I’m OK with it – local people here have more opportunity to ski, and more often than we do.”
And many locals are also happy to comply: “Of course the region lives on skiing,” a waiter at a restaurant in Les Menuires explained. “We can go without and let them take our place.”
Last winter, France was the world’s top skiing destination – ahead of the US and Austria – selling close to 54 million daily ski passes during the 2014/15 season.
But it’s a title the country looks set to lose unless it gets a little more snow.