SUMMER 2020 RESORT OPENING DATES [MTB from June 27 to August 30] [SUMMER SKI from June 27]

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«Behind the scenes: piste grooming». Interview with Jérôme Habauzit.

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In Les 2 Alpes, the team of piste groomers is made up of 31 drivers. Working in shifts, 20 drivers prepare the slopes on a daily basis so that we can ski in safety.

- the evening team, made up of 14 drivers, works from 6pm to 2am,
- the morning team comprises 4 drivers, who work from 2am to 10.15am,
- the 2 drivers in the daytime team work from 8.30am to 5pm.


Their main mission is to move alllll the snow that skiers and snowboarders have brought down the slope with them during the day, back up to the top again!
Bye bye lumps and bumps and hello smooth flat runs! If you’re looking or modules and jumps, you’ll find them in the snowpark!
Les 2 Alpes’ ski area boasts 425 hectares of ski runs. 

When the weather conditions are good (i.e. not snowing or windy…), up to 70% (or 270 hectares) of the ski area can be groomed.
When it has snowed all night, the evening teams give a hand to those on the morning shift to ensure the blue and green runs are top notch for the first riders of the day!
The evening team is also responsible for working the snow in such a way that it gets the best night frost; this can be seen on the glacier with the corduroy effect on the snow.
In all, some 18,000 hours of piste grooming is carried out every year in Les 2 Alpes.

The groomers make the most of the winter season to maintain the snow on the glacier, in order to prepare the runs for the summer season! This means that ski clubs and ski teams from France, Italy, Korea, Switzerland and Andorra, (to name just a few countries) can continue their slalom and giant slalom training on the highest glacier in Europe!


There are a few important technical facts about the equipment to point out to you too:
- there’s the ‘passe partout’ that’ll go anywhere (AKA the «SOLO») which is used for day to day snow clearing…
- then there’s the winch cat which is used to groom very steep slopes (with a gradient of up to 68%). The winch is linked to the piste groomer’s chassis and can pull up to 4.5 tons, which equates to 1/3 of its own weight (12 tons). The cable can reach up to a length of 1,500 metres!
Pretty impressive don’t you think??

When I asked Jérôme Habauzit why he chose this profession, he replied: «no two sunsets or sunrises are the same: they can be simply stunning and in sharp contrast with what you might see on a bad weather day (white out, fog, wind or snow). I’m the luckiest guy in the world, alone on the glacier, admiring the beauty of my surroundings.»
What a romantic !


Thank you for these amazing photos: we can’t get enough of them! And THANK YOU to the whole team: you’re doing a great job! We’ll think of you next time we catch a glimpse of the minuscule headlamps of the piste groomers in the distance, high up on the mountainside!

Copyright © Jérôme Habauzit

Editor : Franca GRASSIA