French Resort Aims For Less Snowmaking

The director of Serre Chevalier, the largest ski area in the southern French Alps and one of the world’s biggest with 250km of slopes, says he hopes the resort will do less snowmaking in the future, in order to reduce the energy and water use snowmaking requires.

Going against the thinking of most leading resorts for the past two decades, Patrick Arnaud, the director of Vallée Domaine Skiable Serre Chevalier says the resort’s strategy is “to adapt rather than resist,” adding, “By adapting, we will be able to ski for a long time to come.”

Elaborating further, Mr Arnaud explained, “We will continue to ski in the future, but we are determined that the impact on the environment should be as little as possible. For example, we are not going to try to produce more man-made snow, on the contrary; we’d like to produce less, adapting our production to the altitude and exposition of the runs. 80% of the ski area is above 2000m. where natural snow is on the ground till May. We need to direct the flow towards places where skiing is natural, according to the season.”

Mr Arnaud went on to say that, “we can no longer treat the mountain the way it was treated in the past,” and continued, “Our approach to preparing the ski area must also change: less man-made snow and also less grooming, a return to the joys of skiing of the old days, and in any case more eco-responsible grooming with electrification of our grooming machines to reduce our carbon footprint.”

“What is more, the benefit of holidays to our visitors doesn’t only rely on the number of runs they skied down or the high speed with which they reached the summit. We hope to make room for reconnecting with the natural environment, for contemplation of the wonderful landscapes around us and also for reunions of families and friends.”

“We have convictions, ideas and desires that we wish to enrich, alter or complete with our visitors in order to build a mountain domain for tomorrow together. For that, an action called « All we need is change / Tous engagés » was prepared and ready to launch last winter. Our convictions for tomorrow’s mountain are the same as before the health crisis, just stronger.”

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