Ski dominoes ahoy

<Picture of the ski domino effect at La Balme car park in La Clusaz, France>This is a familiar sight outside bars and restaurants all over the Alps. Everyone piles their skis up against a wall or fence and someone accidentally knocks them all down. The guilty person usually scurries away hoping nobody has noticed, despite the huge clatter as the skis hit the deck. What I love about this photo is that someone came along after the skis fell and still leant some skis against the fence, unperturbed by the skis strewn between him/her and the fence.

I took this photo last week at the restaurant at the base of the La Balme ski area of La Clusaz. The restaurant is right next to a car park, making it easy for thieves to roll up in a car, load up the skis while the owners are too busy eating to notice, and drive off with thousands of euros-worth of skis and bindings. It’s just too easy. I’m not aware of any insurance policy that covers stolen skis unless they were locked up, which means if someone pilfers your skis, you’re left out of pocket. So, last year, just metres from this fence, somebody installed these great ski lockers that are free and simple to use. Each person’s electronic ski pass acts as the key for a lockable ski or snowboard slot, and only their pass will re-open the slot. The skis are in full view of prospective thieves, but they remain secure and safe. Let me say it again: it’s totally free to use!

It baffles me as to why people prefer to leave their skis against this fence, practically inviting nasty people to steal them, or at the very minimum knock them over as pictured, when the ski lockers remain mostly empty. If you come to this part of the French Alps, don’t forget to try them out.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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9 comments on “Ski dominoes ahoy
  1. Sylvie says:

    Good morning
    Thank you for this post. I know La Clusaz since 38 years. I came in La Clusaz, this year, in January. But i don’t know this novelty (to tidy up skis). But when I go to Balme, I go with ski and not with my car and I don’t eat near the parking for cars but in the “Relais de l’Aiguille” or in the “Bercail”, it ‘s more nice than a parking … Your blog is funny and even if I do not well speak English, I look it every day. Thank you.
    Good day.

  2. I bet it wasn’t an accidental knock over, it was probably some nasty teenagers having some fun like in the movies when they go around and topple over bikes! Or better yet, cow-tipping! ha ha


  3. Steph says:

    How much do skis cost? It seems crazy to leave them lying around when they’re obviously so nickable.

  4. Wendy says:

    Sylvie, Merci pour votre message – c’est gentille. Moi, je fais du ski a midi quand tout le monde mange! Janvier etait excellent pour la qualité du neige. Et viola, votre anglais est peut être mieux que mon français!

    Ahsley, it happens regularly here but the teenagers are normally all too busy in the park while their parents are eating (or knocking down skis!).

    Steph, new skis and bindings can cost anything from around €200 to €900 or more, depending on what the ski is. Yet few people invest in a €5 lock. Amazing, hey?

  5. Emm says:

    Ha! That is so funny. How peculiar that people would take such a risk. Then again, you’re not really thinking straight after vigourous exercise, are you?

  6. Timo says:

    I guess the thieves will now turn to the lockers as the most expensive skis are there… 😉


    I’ve never seen any locking systems in French ski resorts. At first I thought it was crazy to leave my skis like that, but now I don’t mind because I’ve never heard of anyone getting their stuff stolen.
    Sometimes I’ll mix my skis with a friend if I’m afraid of getting them stolen (putting one of mine and one of theirs together, and the other pair a bit farther away).

  8. Wendy says:

    Glamorous Ski Bum, the thefts were happening so often here that the restaurant/resort had to do something. Don’t rely on the swap ski thing, as if someone is after a decent pair of skis and they see one coupled with a different pair, it won’t take them long to find the other pair. I invested in a ski/board lock after hearing of too many friends who had their equipment stolen. Just not worth the risk.

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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