Summary of our market study

As of 2020, the global ropeway and ski lift market has been experiencing a contraction, with a reduction in the total fleet from 19,394 units to 17,522 lifts. This decline is attributed in part to the closure of low-lying resorts affected by global warming and decreased snowfall. The Alps region remains the global leader with the highest density of ski lifts and cable cars, accounting for 38% of the total, while France holds the top national spot with 3,154 installations, despite a reduction from 3,346. The French market has seen considerable challenges, including a significant 16% drop in ski resort attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to lower revenues for ski area operators, from €1,454.6 million in the 2018/2019 season to €1,256.8 million in the 2019/2020 season. Investments in new facilities also plummeted from €132.3 million to €82.8 million 2020.

The operational demand for ski lifts is concentrated primarily in the Northern Alps, and the market is highly concentrated with a handful of major players. France has faced a downwards trend in new installations and manufacturers are pushed towards innovation, especially in urban cable cars and conveyor belts, to adapt to the changing environmental and economic landscape. The sector is also tightly regulated under French law, with increased support from the government, specifically the Mountain Plan, to compensate for the impact of COVID-19 on ski lift operators and related businesses.

France's Ropeway and Ski Lift Market: A Shifting Landscape Amid Climate and Pandemic Challenges

The demand for ropeways and ski lifts in France has undergone significant changes in light of global warming and the COVID-19 pandemic. The market trends indicate a decline in the global ropeway and ski lift fleet, with a considerable drop from an estimated 19,394 lifts in 2017 to around 17,500 today. France has witnessed a similar trend, experiencing a reduction in ski lifts and cable cars from approximately 3,350 to just over 3,150 by 2020.

The French market, once known for its extensive collection of lifts and cable cars, has seen its global presence shrink. The evolution of the French fleet, losing an average of between 35 and 40 ski lifts or cable cars annually, indicates a market impacted by climate change and the resulting closures of lower altitude resorts. Winter tourism in France, a significant driver for the ropeway and ski lift market, encountered substantial difficulties. The pandemic led to a drop in ski resort attendance of about 16%, with further challenges anticipated for the subsequent season. Prior to COVID-19, operators enjoyed steady revenue growth due to the public's keen interest in winter sports and the trend towards the premiumization of offerings. However, revenues took a hit, falling from around 1,454.6 million euros to just under 1,257 million euros, a contraction of around 14%.

Investment trends reflect the broader market challenges, particularly the sizable reduction in new investments, from about 132 million euros to just approximately 83 million euros. This dip is a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on tourism, along with structural market changes, including climate concerns and a downward trajectory in demands for new installations. The market's complexity is further highlighted by the operation of different ropeway systems across France, with ski lifts constituting the major share, accounting for over 2,000 installations, and cable cars representing around 35% of the total with about 1,100 installations.

Traffic is heavily concentrated in the Northern Alps, which sees the majority of the 480 million passengers annually, spotlighting regional disparities within the country.

From a regulatory standpoint, stringent rules guide the sector, with various parts of the tourism.

Titans of the Ropeway Realm: A Closer Look at the Leading Manufacturers

Dominating the high-altitude transport industry, a handful of specialized behemoths craft the mechanized pathways that crisscross the world's mountainous terrains, providing ski enthusiasts and mountaintop travelers with the vital link between earth and the peaks of adventure. Their expertise is not just confined to the slopes, as they increasingly extend their reach into the urban skyline, seeking to revolutionize transportation in congested cities with their eco-friendly cable solutions.

  • Doppelmayr stands as an absolute leader, originating from Austria. Known for its innovative edge and expansive global reach, Doppelmayr embodies a rich legacy of pioneering complex aerial systems that cater to both snowy slopes and urban jungles alike.
  • Leitner and Poma, under the parent company HTI BV, serve as two sides of the same coin. Italy's Leitner impresses with its state-of-the-art infrastructure and appealing design that marries form with function, providing not only utility but also an aesthetic that complements its surroundings. Poma from France brings to the table its renowned precision-engineering and user-centric approach that places safety and comfort at the forefront of its installations.
  • MND, another notable French entity in the market, stands its ground as a smaller yet formidable force, with a strategy that capitalizes on creativity and agility to cater to a diverse set of needs. Its focus on not just creating, but also maintaining, its offerings ensures longevity and reliability in the face of the rugged mountain conditions.
  • GMM, also hailing from France, may not boast the same scale as its counterparts, but its dedication to craftsmanship and bespoke solutions allows it to find its niche in an industry where agility and tailor-fit designs are often key to success in challenging terrains.
  • Bartholet from Switzerland, with its discreet profile, is no less influential. Its alliance with MND illustrates its foresight in partnership and shared innovation, working in concert to expand the frontiers of the industry to meet a wide range of customer aspirations.

These are the giants upon whose shoulders the ski lift and cable car market rests, moving it forward with each technological advancement and each carefully erected cableway that stretches across the horizons of snow-capped peaks and cityscapes. Together, they not only dominate but also define what it means to reach new heights—literally—in the realm of aerial transport.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

A ski lift is a mechanically guided motorized means of transport, usually used outdoors and specifically designed to overcome either a slope or a generally natural obstacle.a ropeway is a motorized, mechanically guided means of transport, usually used outdoors and specifically designed to overcome either the slope of a terrain or a generally natural obstacle. Cable cars are all types of telecars, i.e., all categories of ropeways that havethey are all types of ropeways with aerial vehicles, such as chairlifts or gondolas.

The operation of cable cars and lifts mainly concerns ski resorts and some high mountain towns to access the most remote points. These are aerial cableways that are needed in mountainous areas.

Winter sports represent a considerable market in France, one of the top winter tourist destinations in the world. Each year, more than 50 million skier-days are registered in France . However, the lack of snow has caused ski resorts' revenues to drop in recent years. France is the country with the largest number of ski lifts and cable cars. In fact,France has 17% of the world's ski lifts and cable cars.

The business is conducted over a very short operating period (95% of sales are generated in five months), which shows the significant seasonal nature of the market. It should be noted that the sector is highly concentrated and is made up of a handful of players of sufficiently large size to be able to compensate for this seasonality.

In parallel to the ski resort segment, the urban cable transportation segment continues to grow. Indeed, this mode of transport is perceived as an interesting alternative to traditional mobility solutions, allowing to decongest cities and to propose a more ecological offer. The scope chosen will focus on the first sub-segment, which represents the largest share of the market.

As the passenger transport business is subject to the rules of public service delegation, operators operate as concessions. While full ownership of facilities is the norm in most countries, French operators are mixed economy companies. In addition to this special legal status, there is the recent challenge of sustainable development to achieve greener transportation systems.

1.2 The global ropeway and ski lift market

The global ropeway and ski lift market is largely dependent on ski resort attendance. The global ropeway and ski lift fleet has been gradually declining in recent years, mainly due to the closure of low-lying resorts, which are severely affected by global warming and decreasing snowfall. While the global ropeway and ...

1.3 The French market for cable cars and ski lifts

France is the country with the largest number of lifts and cable cars in the world. Today, France has *,*** cable cars and lifts in its territory. As can be seen in the following graph, by comparison, the United States has *,*** cable cars and lifts, Austria *,*** and Switzerland *,*** (***).

Size of the global ...

1.4 The negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the sector

The pandemic context has had a very negative impact on the cable car and ski lift sector. Indeed, the ****/**** season has been truncated since March **** due to government decisions and the choice to close ski resorts. Moreover, in France, the government's decision to close the ski lifts has been extended for ...

2 Analysis of the demand

2.1 Evolution of the winter tourism market in France

The winter tourism market has had a difficult ****/**** season. Indeed, the epidemic context and the closure of ski areas have led to a **% drop in attendance at ski resorts as we have seen previously. Moreover, this situation is expected to worsen for the ****/**** season, due to the renewal of these ...

2.2 Investments and renewal rates for ski lifts and cable cars

The amount of investments is down compared to last year. The closure of ski areas in mid-March **** due to the COVID-** pandemic and the lack of snow on certain mountain ranges have led to a decrease in sales for ski area operators, as we have seen previously. In addition, the lack ...

2.3 Cable cars and lifts in France

The French ropeway fleet is composed of *,*** installations, divided into several categories. The graph below shows the composition of this park. As we can see, ski lifts make up the largest part of this park, with *,*** installations throughout the country. The cable cars constitute **% of this park, with *,*** installations.

French ropeway ...

2.4 The operation of ski lifts and cable cars in France

The operation of ski lifts and cable cars - the traffic - knows strong disparities at the scale of the Hexagon. Indeed, if in **** the total traffic amounted to *** million passengers, the vast majority of this traffic was located within the ski areas of the Northern Alps. This strong disparity reflects ...

2.5 Sales of ski lifts and cable cars in France

It is interesting to distinguish the two sub-segments relating to the turnover of ski lifts and cable cars in France:

Code **.**C: Cable cars and ropeways, including the operation of cable cars, funicular railways, ropeways, etc., but excluding the operation of funicular railways, cable cars, etc, as part of urban and ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Segmentation and dynamics of actors

The ropeway and ski lift market is a highly concentrated market, with very few major players on a national scale. There are several reasons for this:

Nature of the industry: the design and construction of ropeways and ski lifts is considered to be a heavy industry, requiring significant investments Demand: the ...

3.2 The wave of concentration affecting ropeway and cable car manufacturers

Cable car and ropeway manufacturers also design and maintain their installations. The global market has very few large-scale players due to the specific features of the market listed above. In addition, given the decline in global demand (***) and the changes affecting the market - extension of these modes of transport to ...

3.3 Distribution of ski lift and cable car operators in France

The operators of ski lifts and cable cars in France correspond to several categories of actors. Indeed, it is possible to list the public and semi-public operators, the ski schools as well as the private operators. In France, there are currently *** operators, distributed as follows:

Distribution of operators, by type France, ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Typology of ski lifts and cable cars

Ski lifts and cable cars are mainly installed in mountain areas to serve ski areas or sites at high altitude. Ski lifts are designed on the basis of one of the two following techniques:

The vehicle can move on one or more fixed cables: it is then moved by a hauling ...

4.2 The evolution of the supply of ski lifts and cable cars

The supply of ski lifts and cable cars depends to a large extent on the heavy investments made by the various operators. As a result, in a context of declining investment, the number of new projects in France is tending to decline. This is all the more important concerning new ropeways: ...

4.3 Innovation at the heart of the ski lift offer

Given the structural changes mentioned above - low snow levels in low altitude resorts, growth of the urban ropeway segment - and the economic effects of the COVID-** pandemic, it seems increasingly necessary for manufacturers to innovate and renew their offerings.

- The breakthrough of conveyor belts

In contrast to other ...

5 Regulation

5.1 Current regulations

The tourism code and its articles D***-* to R***-** set the rules applicable to ski lifts as well as mountain resort carpets.

This part of the tourism code was amended by decree n°****-** of **/**/**** entering into force on **/**/****.Transitional provisions allow for the possibility of postponing the implementation ...

5.2 Government assistance: the Mountain Plan

For ski lift operators

Both public and private ski lift operators will benefit from a support fund that will allow them to compensate for **% of fixed costs related to ski lift operations.these costs are set at **% of the turnover, including the security of the ski area. The reference turnover will ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Positioning of ropeway and cable car manufacturers

  • Bartholet
  • Poma
  • MND LST Groupe
  • Compagnie des Alpes
  • Compagnie du Mont Blanc
  • GMM Gimar Montaz Mautino
  • Leitner Ropeways (HTI Group)
  • Doppelmayr Garaventa
  • Tatralift
  • CCM Finotello
  • Méribel Alpina
  • La Compagnie des Pyrénées

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Geographical distribution of ropeways and cable cars in the world
  • Geographical distribution of major ski areas
  • Development of the number of global ski lifts
  • Size of the world's ropeway and cable car fleet
  • Evolution of the French ski lifts and cable cars
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Latest news

Compagnie des Alpes: Parc Astérix's crazy projects - 12/12/2023
  • Spring inauguration of the Toutatis Festival, 36 million euros of investment
  • Asterix broke its all-time attendance record with 2.8 million visitors, consolidating its position as France's second-largest park, behind the giant Disneyland Paris (15 million by 2022) and ahead of Puy du Fou (2.6 million by 2023).
  • On average, 20% of sales (170 million euros in 2022) will be reinvested each year.
  • Target: three million annual visitors
  • The site's hotel capacity has increased from 100 to 450 rooms in five years.
  • A fourth hotel is planned for the end of 2026
  • Parc Astérix is the flagship of its owner, Compagnie des Alpes, which also owns Futuroscope, Walibi and the Musée Grévin.
  • Sales of Compagnie des Alpes' leisure park business (526 million euros in fiscal 2022-2023) have surpassed those of the group's historic ski resorts (489 million euros).
Leisure parks, Compagnie des Alpes' magic potion - 06/12/2023
  • For the first time, the Group broke through the symbolic one-billion-euro sales barrier (1.13 billion, up 10.6%). Operating income was also up, by 3.6% to 139.6 million, as was net income (90.4 million, up 5.2%).
  • The Group's leisure parks (Parc Astérix, Futuroscope, Walibi Rhône-Alpes) were in excellent health. With sales of 526 million euros, they outstripped for the second year running its ski area and outdoor activities division (489 million).
  • More visitors to the parks (+5.2%)
  • Parc Astérix broke its attendance record with 2.8 million admissions. They also spent more (+7% per visitor).
  • In skiing, the energy bill more than doubled - from 35.1 million to 72.1 million - and affected all 10 ski areas (including Tignes, La Plagne and Les Arcs).
  • In a ski market down 5% according to Domaines skiables de France, CDA sites reported a 1.8% increase in the number of skier-days.

Compagnie des Alpes and Eurostar expand their offer to Europe - 10/11/2023
  • Two years ago, Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) set up Travelski Express, rail links serving a dozen ski areas.
  • 4% of travelers to Alpine resorts take the train.
  • Eurostar, which used to provide the Travelski Express service, has reduced its services this year to five weeks in winter, and no longer serves Paris, but Lille.
  • From 2024 to 2026, Compagnie des Alpes plans to operate twice-weekly services between London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and the French Alps, from mid-December to mid-April.
  • Travelski Express carried 12,000 passengers to the Alps last year.
  • Every year, almost half a million Belgian skiers, over half a million Dutch skiers and over 1 million English skiers travel to the French Alps to ski.
Ski resorts: the high stakes of groomer conversion - 08/11/2023
  • 250 French ski areas
  • Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) 1.1 billion in sales, 43% of which are generated by its ten ski areas (it also owns leisure parks) has set itself a "Net Zero Carbon" target for 2030
  • Compagnie des Alpes groomer fleet: 140 groomers, made up almost equally of Kässbohrer and Prinoth machines.
  • The two main suppliers are Germany's Kässbohrer and Italy's Prinoth. The former has over 60% of the market, with sales of more than 400 million euros, 90% of which in grooming.
  • In France, 136 snow groomers were purchased last year by all ski areas, at a cost of 50 million euros
  • 1.worldwide, between 200 and 1,400 units are sold each year,
  • Prinoth France generates sales of around 30 million euros, 80% of which come from the sale and maintenance of snow groomers.
  • Price of a snow groomer: 400,000 euros per electric machine
Design of cabins for Ile-de-France cable car unveiled - 27/06/2023
  • Urban aerial tramway under construction in Val-de-Marne, linking Créteil and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges via Valenton and Limeil-Brévannes
  • Cabins built by the Doppel France consortium
  • Cabin capacity: maximum 10 passengers
  • 5 C1 stations built on a single level
  • Project scheduled for 2025
  • Operated by the Transdev group
  • Construction budget estimated at 132 million euros
The ropeway is operated by Compagnie des Alpes. - 02/01/2023
  • Compagnie des Alpes, France's largest ski area operator with a dozen lift companies, has placed a €200 million order with Poma
  • Poma is France's leading ropeway operator, generating half of its sales in France
  • The Poma Group employs 1,250 people, 850 of them in France, and will achieve sales of €350 million in 2021, after €450 million in 2019

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

MND LST Groupe
Compagnie des Alpes
Compagnie du Mont Blanc
GMM Gimar Montaz Mautino
Leitner Ropeways (HTI Group)
Doppelmayr Garaventa
CCM Finotello
Méribel Alpina
La Compagnie des Pyrénées

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