The ski area is like a giant anthill! There is a whole chain of professions working around the clock, whatever the weather. Each link in the chain is essential, from grooming the ski runs to accompanying the resort’s visitors. All the resort’s employees have just one concern, however: to offer the best and safest experience possible!
The ski area
The 700 employees of the Société d’Aménagement de La Plagne (SAP), the ski area operator, all adhere to the company’s leitmotif: “Satisfying with Passion”.
When the curtain falls every evening, the ballet of the snow groomers begins to maintain the resort’s 225 kilometres of ski runs. The drivers at the controls of these 6,5-metre-wide giants weighing 10 tons maintain the snow cover to offer skiers perfect runs. To achieve this, the resort uses 30 groomers and a staff of 48 drivers who work from 5pm to 9am. Although it is a team effort, the operation is solitary and introspective, breaking down moguls, lifting and smoothing the snow.
- training in environmentally friendly driving
- use of biofuels
- sonar scan of the snow cover
- after 7 years of faithful service, the groomers are retrofitted internally, then sent out for another 5 winter seasons.
Easy to spot in their yellow uniform, these 100 guardian angels ensure your safety in the ski area. Lookouts, patrollers, rescuers, receptionists, this job is all about action!
The day starts by ensuring that the 135 runs between 1250 and 3250 m in altitude are safe. After checking the piste markers are in place and the runs are clear, the area can open. The day after heavy snowfall, the opening may be delayed if an avalanche safety plan (Plan d’Intervention de Déclenchement d’Avalanche – PIDA) is scheduled. The patrollers start ensuring the safety of the runs and the 77 ski lifts at daybreak. Each new day brings its share of incidents.
Our 6 “snow gardeners” are like ants, anticipating snow requirements from the start to the end of the season. From the 2 control rooms, they supervise the 600 snow canons, from the pumping of water from the reservoirs through to snow production. 179 ha can be covered with artificial snow, which is 34% of the ski area.
70% of the Paradiski area is above 2000 metres, an excellent guarantee of great snow conditions.
Claude, our Sherlock Holmes of the snow
He has been our very own snow scientist for 33 years! With his probe, thermometer and magnifying glass, he is an expert of the many layers of the snowpack, which changes constantly with the wind and the temperature. La Plagne’s particularity is that the ski area faces in 4 directions and the snow behaves differently on every side!
Several parameters count when deciding and writing up the daily avalanche risk estimate bulletin:
- the daily snow samples
- the weather forecast
- what the ski patrollers think
- identical scenarios observed in previous seasons
This document makes La Plagne the only resort that benefits from local data, rather than on the scale of a massif.
Out of the 10 best snowfall totals at 2000 m over the past 32 years, 5 occurred in the last decade. With 731 cm, winter 2019/20 came in 8th. We had a very good season above 1800 m with regular snowfall.Claude Schneider
To gain a better understanding of the biodiversity across the ski area, the SAP launched an “environmental observatory” in 2014. 1600 observations of 15 different species of protected flowers and 5000 observations of the fauna have been carried out over the last 5 years.
– 175 ski lift pylons have been removed over the last ten years (lifts taken down and new construction).
And we’re off
The ski instructors
There are 700 instructors in 11 ski schools. La Plagne’s ski area is particularly conducive to learning to ski with runs for all levels, 55% of which are blue and 39% red or black.
La Plagne’s champions
La Plagne’s Club des Sports has been a stepping stone to the top level for many of the local children. In 2020, the family of champions who are proud to wear the resort’s red woolly hat grew even bigger with the arrival of new talents, including twin downhill skiers Marion and Axelle Chevrier and ski cross competitor Morgan Guiponi Barfety.
Antoine Adelisse: Big Air gold medallist in the 2020 X-Games in Norway
Tess Ledeux: Big Air gold medallist in the 2020 X-Games in Aspen
Kévin Rolland: will be returning to competition in winter 2020/21, after a serious accident