The 3 Valleys have announced the increased use of drones this winter to increase safety in the mountains.
Increasingly used to help rescue teams in ski resorts around the world, the new DJI drone in use at Val Thorens features two embedded cameras, one with thermal imaging and the other a zoom (up to 180x).
However the drone will not just be used to help in mountain rescue searches, but also to allow staff to identify possible avalanche risks or other danger zones very quickly, evaluate the situation and put in place a safety response strategy as necessary.
One further innovation with the new drone is that is also has a built-in loudspeaker which allows information and precise instructions to be given to the public while they wait for the arrival of ski patrol.
“In the unlikely event that something very serious occurs, ski patrol can, thanks to this drone, rapidly detect the exact position of buried people, as well as see particular clues that attract attention about their location. They can monitor risky areas (avalanches, landslide threats, flooding, avalanche trigger systems etc.) and follow in real-time how this might impact the ski area in order to prevent potential dangers,” a Val Thorens spokesperson explained, adding,
“The drone represents a remarkable evolution in our activities and is a way to support the slope services teams. The list of its primary uses is not complete, which shows the potential of the drone, both now and in the future, thanks to the ongoing technological progression in this sector. The thermal camera helps identify the presence of a heat source while the ultra-powerful zoom is used to locate and identify the nature of the terrain and the conditions in which rescue workers have to go. The device can help gain precious minutes and save lives.”
It is expected that other mountain operations staff in the wider Belleville Valley including at the resorts of Les Menuires and St Martin be Belleville will also begin using drones as of next season.
(Images supplied by: T.Loubere OT Val Thorens)