New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs


New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs

Started by Admin in Ski News - 5 Replies

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Admin posted Mar-2009

The Paradiski ski area in the French Alps which incorporates Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne – has further improved its artificial snow network meaning guaranteed snow for the latter half of the season.

The Adret de Tuffes at Les Arcs is a new, high-altitude reservoir in the Arc 2000 ski area, which feeds the artificial snow networks of both Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry. The reservoir offers a capacity of 400,000 cubic metres, the largest of its type in France, and optimises the flow of water required by the snow cannons. Ski lift operators have taken into account environmental aspects in this project.

Following on from this investment, 32 new snow cannons will be erected to improve the artificial snow cover of the Maitaz and Plan Bois pistes, between 1800 and Peisey-Vallandry, meaning an extra 3.5km [or 2.2 miles] of pistes with guaranteed snow cover.

Paradiski's season continues to 25th April 2009. The area has two glaciers complete with ski lifts; three peaks rising to over 3,000m; 260 miles of runs; 209 hectares covered with artificial snow (579 snow cannons); 242 runs for all categories; 98 miles of cross-country trails; four snowparks; four boardercross courses and two half-pipes.

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The Admin Man

reply to 'New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs'
posted Mar-2009

Admin wrote:Ski lift operators have taken into account environmental aspects in this project.

... and decided they could safely be ignored.
Admin wrote:Following on from this investment, ......

.... much of the local flora and fauna will die.

reply to 'New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs'
posted Mar-2009

would you elaborate ise?

reply to 'New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs'
posted Mar-2009

The first thing is to realise just how much water that is, 400,000 cubic metres would supply a city of around 600,000 people. It's reckoned in some French valleys that streams in winter are carrying as much as 70% less water due to these high altitude reservoirs. Estimates run now that the Tarentaise area will require 8 to 10 million m3 of water by 2015 to make snow.

There's a lot of local concern about this, it was called “ecological suicide” by Herve Gaymard the member of parliament for the Savoie, former minister and former president of the ANENA (National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches).

You don't get nothing for nothing and this water would normally be entering the water course, alpine environments are pretty fragile and can't really sustain this sort of abuse.
Edited 1 time. Last update at 13-Mar-2009

reply to 'New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs'
posted Mar-2009

that amount of water is pretty hard to comprehend.
even more reason for us to pray for more snow.

reply to 'New Snowmaking Reservoir in Les Arcs'
posted Mar-2009

actually I should clarify those figures, I was rushing around to go ski earlier .....

400,000 cubic metres would be a daily usage for somewhere around 600,000 to 800,000 people based on rough European averages of 0.5 cubic meters per person per day. The Tarentaise has around 300,000 tourist beds and 50,000 people living there, they're using around 18,000,000 cubic meters of water yearly right now peaking in the winter.

Winter water capture for snow making is most needed when precipitation is low of course and snow cover is poor. Away from snow cannoned slopes the thin cover has the effect of cooling the ground and freezing water supplies, again increasing pressure on supply.

Then, cannoned snow, like any snow blown through the air, is massively more dense than fallen snow and takes longer to melt, that means that pisted slopes never really recover in the spring and part of the environment is lost.

Why are they making snow? It's because precipitation has dropped, by around 25% in the last decade, so there's less water around anyway. Meanwhile, in Arcs particularly, CdA can't build quick enough, they're not particularly bothered if there's not enough water or sewage processing, they build anyway, pay the fines and force the local government to try and catch up meanwhile making it ever harder by capturing water.

Meanwhile, come the spring for cultivation around 2100 cubic meters per hectare is required from EDF storage facilities.

I've been out in the desert recently and it's pretty clear that we'll see just the same happening in the mountains as happens there, in the desert we've got manicured and irrigated golf courses with water being diverted from the local population and in the mountain we'll have high ski stations holding all the water for the benefit of visiting tourists. It's just not sustainable.

Topic last updated on 13-March-2009 at 13:11

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