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Published on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Ski operator Alpine Elements to relaunch after calling in administrators



Wimbledon-based ski operator Alpine Elements collapsed into administration on Tuesday afternoon but the owner of the 23-year-old business has bought back the brand, goodwill and trademark.

James Hardiman, who started the business as a 21-year-old university student in 1997, says he's hoping to resume trading in the near future after reaching a 'pre-pack' deal with the administrator.

He bought back the business, one of the UK's largest independent ski operators, after finding a new backer at the last-minute, he said. He had already called in the administrator after talks with two other 'very large companies', which had been ongoing since July, came to nothing.

"I worked hard to find an investor and one came through at the eleventh hour so I hope to keep the brand and restart the business in the near future," said James, but he declined to name his new backer.

"So many customers have told us we were such a brilliant company so we hope that we will bounce back fairly quickly, but we will do that in alignment with our customers' and our creditors' wishes.

"I am deeply sorry for what has happened, but we aim to bring back the brand, if our customers will have us," he added.

Alpine Elements Group, which employs up to 350 people - many of them seasonal workers - and carries up to 25,000 passengers a year, also includes Ocean Elements, iGOSKI and Alpine Elements Bars and Restaurants.

James said he had no choice but to call in the administrators for Alpine Elements Ltd because the company still owes refunds to 2,500 customers whose holidays were cancelled at the end of the last ski season when resorts were forced to close.

Under ABTA rules, the refunds had to be paid by the end of January 2021, but Alpine Elements didn't have the money. James said it has yet to receive refunds itself from suppliers including airlines, landlords and catering companies for holidays that didn't go ahead.

"We really thought we could get through this but we needed the money from this year's ski season and when [French] President Macron announced the ski lists wouldn't open we had to finalise the administration," he said.

He said customers will now be refunded by ABTA or ATOL. "Everyone will get their money back," added James.

 

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  • Such behaviour shines a negative light on the whole industry

    James: Dear Creditors U R dumped x Right then, back to business.

    By ex Severn, Wednesday, December 9, 2020

  • Does this sound dodgy to anyone else?

    I'm not sure about you, but this story sounds like Alpine Elements have just gone into administration so that last year's cancelled bookings can get paid off by someone else and they get to sail through and reopen the business when the storm has passed and the paperwork has been signed. They could have waited just a little bit longer before announcing they've found an investor and it wouldn't have sounded so dodgy.

    By Christian Locke, Wednesday, December 9, 2020

  • Another ski operator fails?

    Another sad day for the Ski Industry. To prevent suspicions that Alpine Elelments Group has welshed on its debts would Mr Hardiman or the Administrator name and shame the partners who have not yet refunded? How many of the "landlords" are "arm's length" companies? Did Alpine Elelments really pay so much up front to catering supplirers?

    By Tony Wedgewood, Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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