La Plagne realises that as one of the world’s most popular ski resorts with nearly 2.5 million winter visitors, they have a huge responsibility on the environment.
The resort’s lifts have been powered by green electricity for many years and its slope grooming tractors (piste bashers) are powered by bio-diesel, causing a further dramatic drop in its CO2 emissions.
Even More Planned
Experts are currently studying the resort’s current ‘carbon footprint’ position before advancing plans to further reduce La Plagne’s environmental impact.
The Poprock agency has been studying La Plagne’s operations for more than a year with the aim of producing a report identifying where further action on everything including tourism, buildings and local life in a climate action plan and create a carbon reduction trajectory.
“In the end, it’s not about the calculations but what we do with the results,”
says Pierre Viard, Sustainable Local Economies manager at Utopies, who are also working on the study and report.
Claude Schneider is La Plagne’s snow and weather expert and has been monitoring snow cover for more than 35 years.
“Global warming is a reality today. Fortunately for us, La Plagne, with 70 % of its ski area above 2000m, remains relatively protected from its impact for the time being, although the rain-snow level is climbing from one year to the next. However, above 2000 m, the effects of global warming are less sensitive, particularly in terms of total snowfall over the winter, which is not decreasing. On the other hand, temperature anomalies are becoming more frequent…” says Claude.
Greener Travel and Accommodation
A big factor in La Plagne’s impact on the environment is how those 2.5 million visitors choose to travel there and where they stay on arrival.
Fortunately its easy to drive here by electric car, or to take the train visa Paris. There are also direct rail-holiday packages by train from London St Pancras offered by Travelski Express. These are very favourably priced to encourage skiers to switch from air travel.
The new Residence W2050 in Belle Plagne has recycled a former apartment complex into 36 high-end apartments for up to 12/14 people, with and emphasis on greener operations including drastically improved insulation to reduce heat loss.
Similarly, the Chalet Hotel Turquoise, also on the Belle Plagne slopes, has been fully renovated and now offers nine bespoke apartment suites each sleeping between two and 10 people. Again the works have been undertaken with a focus on sustainability, so all materials have been sourced locally and the works were carried out by local companies.
The Environmental Observatory
Created in 2014 by the Société d’Aménagement de la Plagne, the Observatory’s role is to draw up an inventory of the natural environment in the ski area and its state of conservation. Once the database has been compiled, the aim is to preserve the ecosystems by adapting the necessary developments to the ski area. A second step consists of rehabilitating damaged sites as a form of compensation.
So far more than 6,300 observations of birds and animals have been made, including 283 different species, 26 of them under threat of extinction (mainly birds).