La Plagne is lucky enough to be in a fabulous location. We all enjoy its lush nature, clean environment and extraordinary wide-open spaces. Knowing that this "situation" could be reversed, we are really trying to move in the right direction for the mountains. La Plagne is committed to a greener, more sustainable future.
Managing our energy consumption
Energy is really the essential issue. We look for it, look after it and produce it in a way that does not deplete the planet’s resources. In Plagne Centre, a biomass heating plant has been in operation since 2009. Using vegetal matter (mostly wood), it supplies 90% of the resort’s energy, i.e. around 50 buildings, including hotels, restaurants, offices and apartments, etc. Installed at about 2000 m above sea level, it is an original construction that has proved its worth.
In terms of transport, the tourist office has opted to use electric vehicles. In partnership with Hyundai, tourist office employees no longer emit greenhouse gases as they travel around. Outside the resort, La Plagne benefits from a dynamic rail network. With train stations in Moûtiers, Aime and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, as well as bus links to the resorts, you don’t need to take your car to get to the Tarentaise resorts. Even better, once you arrive in La Plagne, you can take the free shuttle buses from one site to another.
As regards more eco-friendly accommodation, La Plagne is committed to apartment renovations. We know that some of you prefer to steer clear of carpeted studios. The local communes are therefore encouraging owners and national lodging operators to give their accommodation a facelift. This winter, rather than building, operator MMV has decided to renovate an existing residence and make it into a 4* club-hotel. Other residences, like Pierre & Vacances, have adhered to an international environmental label: the “Green Key”.
On the ski slopes
Although we sometimes tend to forget this, the raw material of any ski resort is water. Apart from natural snowfall, the Société d’Aménagement de La Plagne (SAP), the ski area operator, "makes" its own snow. Do you know where it comes from? From the sky 😊 The SAP uses water from the snowmelt in spring and rain in the autumn, stores it in reservoirs and, using air and cold, makes snow. Without any additives.
Once the snow is on the runs, it has to be looked after. If it goes without saying that the snow groomers do an exceptional job (we enjoy top-quality ski runs throughout the season), we might need to specify that this task is getting “greener”. Explanation: the drivers are trained in eco-driving and use biodegradable oil in their machines. At the end of their lifetime, the grooming machines are "retrofitted", i.e. parts are recovered to use again. Everything can be recycled, as they say. Lastly, these same groomers use sonar technology to scan the snowpack to optimise the machines’ passages.
Did you know? The ski area also has runs called "Natur" runs that are not groomed at all. Some sectors really lend themselves to this and offer an off-piste experience in the heart of the ski area.
In 10 years, 186 pylons have been removed from the ski area. When a ski lift is replaced, the line is simplified and fewer pylons are needed.
Finally, still under the impetus of the SAP, an environmental observatory was created in 2014, with the aim of studying the local flora and fauna, the wet zones, the landscapes and the impact of the urban development. The idea is simple: the better you know your environment, the better you can protect it. Therefore, we identify, count, list and analyse some 15 species of protected flowers. This data then helps to make the right decisions on projects to be carried out in the region. A few practical examples:
- adapting the work calendar so as not to disturb the fauna,
- markers installed on cables to make them visible to birds and prevent collisions,...
There is a plethora of mountain-friendly activities to discover. Here are just a few of them:
- Bobsleigh: first and foremost, remember that these are non-motorised machines. Also, the track’s maintenance has moved with the times and is now all about sustainable development. The team at the track have started using glycol water instead of ammonia as a coolant and in 2018, the 1500 m of track was covered to reduce the impact of the sun on the ice.
- Snowshoes: what could be more ecological! You can get to magical places, including La Cembraie, a ZNIEFF-classified area (Natural area of ecological, faunistic or floristic interest). The biotope here is unique and you can learn a lot about La Plagne’s flora and fauna from your guide.
- Ski touring: very trendy! Except for your muscles, nothing overheats, it’s great cardio exercise, it’s quiet and it’s safe on La Plagne’s 5 dedicated trails: let’s go!
- Ice climbing: to be one with the elements, this is perfect. An ice axe, crampons and off you go! The ice tower in Champagny-le-Haut welcomes beginners as well as experienced climbers. The ice is made by spraying water on the sloping and vertical elements. For the overhanging parts, “slush” is used (a mix of water and snow), packed manually onto the structure’s meshing.
Places to recharge your batteries in natural surroundings
The result of a unique equation in the world, this ecosystem combines Swiss pines, a gypsum soil and a somewhat forgetful bird! The spotted nutcracker hides seeds, then forgets them and they germinate in the spring. Classified a ZNIEFF zone, you should visit La Cembraie on tiptoe (or on snowshoes…). Its dolines (depressions in the ground) give the impression of being anywhere except in the heart of a ski resort, and yet…
The Vanoise National Park
This is pretty much the grail of the backcountry mountain area. Accessible from Champagny-en-Vanoise, the Park is a jewel of nature. For thousands of years, it was covered by a glacier and nowadays, the Glacialis museum bears witness to this incredible geological era. It is really worth a visit!
The Foran valley
“Intact” is the word that springs instantly to mind when you enter the Foran valley. Up above La Côte d’Aime on the Versant du Soleil, it is the perfect picture postcard scenery. Fir trees weighed down by snow, the sound of the stream that refuses to freeze over, the fluffy look of the untouched snow… right away from it all, you may be lucky enough to see animal tracks in the powder snow.
La Plagne is creating the “Pure Plagne” foundation
New in 2020: La Plagne’s different institutions have got together to create a foundation. With initiatives flourishing and projects being developed, we needed a common base to gather both the financial funds and the green seeds. "Pure Plagne" will therefore serve the environmental interests of our Alpine resort in a common strategy.