Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tragedy at La Clusaz hits the headlines

News of the tragedy at La Clusaz, in which two young people died (see yesterday's blog) has made it into the national French media, and attracted some interesting reactions and a few surprising statistics. According to France Info there are 200,000 seasonal jobs in France, of which 45,000 are related to the winter sports industry. And it is reported that about a third are mal-logés, i.e. have inadequate accommodation. Some of the 65 ski resorts in Savoie have tried to repel seasonal workers who bring there own mobile accommodation, but as one contributor to the article pointed out, without the saisionners there would be no season! In  an interview with the Le Dauphiné a one pointed out that it could easily cost €1000 euros a month for 10m2 studio (equivalent to a 6 ft square broom cupboard), while most of this kind of work is paid at SMIC (the minimum wage) of around €1600 euros a month.

I haven't yet had a response from Mde. Jacqueline Peretti, the mayor of Bourg St Maurice, to my proposal to open up unsold and unused tourist accommodation, the old Gendarmerie and the 7BCA Barracks, but I put this down to the fact today is a Sunday and being Epiphany, the Russian Christmas. She's probably up there at Arc 1950 joining in the celebrations (the whole village has apparently been given over to the festival tonight as 95% of the tourists are from Russia this week).

The Russians in our chalet have asked us to organise a barbecue as their celebration. Apparently grilling meat in the open when the temperature is -30c is a popular winter pastime in Russia, especially as there's no need to further cool the vodka! Apart today and the 'normal' Christmas and New Year, there is one more Russian celebration to go:  the 'old New Year' according to the Georgian calendar, on January 10th. Any excuse for a party, it seems!

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