No snow, closed slopes: what are your rights?

If the Christmas holiday in the snow had started quite well with cold and snow, then the mild weather and the rain at the end of last week destroyed the hopes of many skiers. In France, half of the slopes have had to close, especially in low-lying resorts, according to Domaines skiables de France (DSF).

What are the means holidaymakers in such circumstances? Can they hope for refund of certain benefits, or a compensation?


If you had just booked accommodation (without other benefits or services), for example an apartment or an entire cabin, the first instinct to have is see the general conditions of your booking contract to find out what is provided in terms of cancellation.

But be aware that the closure of the ski lifts or the lack of snow is not a valid reason to demand a refund from the owner of the accommodation. He is not responsible for the situation. “He clearly has no legal obligation to refund you, even if an element outside the reservation affects your holiday in one way or another”, explains Julie Frère, spokesperson for Test-Inkøb.

“In such cases, we advise each party to use common sense in agreeing on a voucher to be used when things have calmed down.”

cancellation insurance

The cancellation insurance only covers you in the event of a health problem or an event that may disrupt your everyday life.

If you have not succeeded in reaching an agreement with the owner of the property, can you withdraw your cancellation insurance? Unfortunately, this is not possible for you. Cancellation insurance covers you in the event of a health problem (for you or someone close to you) or in the event of an event likely to disrupt your daily life. For example: a dismissal, significant damage to your home, another session or appointment as a juror, etc.

take precautions

It’s been a few years since, due to global warming, skiing conditions are no longer optimal or even guaranteed. So now it is better to plan and learn about what is covered by the insurance.

Insurance, snow/ski guarantee

Some insurances cover the risk of a lack of snow or the closure of the ski lifts.

This is, for example, the case with Touring Snowcard. The “Skigarantien” is a cancellation insurance that intervenes in the event of a lack of snow, up to 600 euros per person and up to 1,400 euros per file, with reimbursement of ski lifts and ski lessons.

At Sunweb, for any stay booked before 18 Octobercustomers benefited from a Ski guarantee which is added. This guarantee allows you to book another place on the same date if the snow is not there. It applies for all stays between 24 December 2022 and 25 March 2023. For any stay booked after on October 18, unfortunately, it is not no longer possible to add it.

If you have booked your stay on the internet as Travel skisfor example, the days before your departure, if the snow guarantee conditions are not guaranteed, you can cancel your stay for free, thanks to the missing snow insurance contract. All unused services are also refunded, esp lift passes and lessons.

It’s not just skiing

The contracts do not allow for refunds or compensation in the event of a lack of snow, but people no longer go to winter sports just to ski. There are many other activities planned.

Linda Masson

Club Med spokesman

Most ski resorts and holiday operators have also adapted to risks by offering a wide range of leisure activities and infrastructures, excluding skiing.

On Club Medat the moment we are skiing everywhere. There is snow. Our resorts are located in high-altitude resorts”, assures Linda Masson, who is responsible for public relations. The contracts certainly do not provide, among other things, neither refund nor compensation in case of absence of snow, but now we don’t just go to winter sports to ski. There are many other planned activities: hiking, wellness, etc. to satisfy customers,” she said.

Lift card

If you have already paid for your package online, is it possible to get a refund? As with booking accommodation, it is worth checking what is provided in the general conditions.

Leave a Comment