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©valdisere-00033624|Tristan Shu

Sustainable development in the ski resort

Find out how we have engaged with a global logic of sustainable development through multiple measures implemented, and with more to come, such as an environment observatory, electric urban travel and green energy sources. After becoming the largest linked-up ski area to obtain the Green Globe seal of approval in 2016, Val d’Isère is engaging with a global sustainable development approach involving all of the resort’s operators.

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©Green Snowflake logo

Tignes - Val d'Isère A 'flocon vert' region

The Flocon Vert  label was awarded to Tignes and Val d’Isère on 25 November 2022 during the International Mountain Professions Festival organised in Chambéry. The region’s certification by the Mountain Riders association follows a detailed audit and rewards the commitment of both resorts to protect their unique environment and adopt a sustainable development approach. Inspired by best practices in environmental, social and economic transition, the label is awarded on the basis of 20 sustainable development criteria, such as support for local initiatives, soft mobility measures, recycling, energy management and respect for biodiversity. With the help of the Vie Val d’Is association among others, Val d’Isère is committed to soft mobility and transport issues, the energy transition, and sustainable initiatives.

The Lost Village a forest immersion

Created in 2021, the ‘Lost Village’ is a free outdoor play and relaxation area located deep in the Etroits larch forest at an elevation of 2,000 metres. In both winter and summer, you can have fun in the trees on the suspended walkways leading from cabin to cabin and to the eagles’ nest. With the approval and support of the National Forestry Office and the ski area management company, this eco-designed facility is built exclusively with larchwood sourced in the Alps, to guarantee its durability.

La Daille cable car

Carrying up to 2,500 passengers per hour, the cable car has improved the flow of skiers and made it possible to remove the chairlifts and ski tows previously installed in this sector. This means there are fewer pylons (40 less) and that La Daille benefits from a more natural landscape.

HVO-fuelled snow groomers

The ski area management company’s 19 snow groomers and the 12 operated by the Val d’Isère cable car company now run on HVO biofuel, in compliance with the commitments undertaken by the Compagnie des Alpes. This diesel substitute comes from entirely renewable sources as it is produced from used vegetable fats and oils (no palm oil), reducing CO2 emissions by 90% and fine particles by 65%.

The ongoing urban transport transformation

Electric shuttle buses

The start of the 2022-2023 winter season was marked by the arrival of 2 French-made IVECO electric buses. These shuttles are a first step to the renewal of the ValBus fleet, following a trial carried out in Val d’Isère in December 2021. This evolution has reduced by 90% greenhouse gases generated by the free shuttle service. The decision was made as part of an initiative by the Compagnie des Alpes – of which the Val d’Isère cable car company is a subsidiary – to become Carbon Neutral by 2030.

Another 4 electric buses joined the fleet for the winter 2023-2024 season and by 2025 the village and its hamlets will be served by a total of 15 electric shuttles.

A fuel that’s gentler to the environment

A first step was accomplished in 2019 when the Valbus fleet began running on GTL, (Gas-To-Liquids), thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. The rest of the shuttle fleet is to operate on synthetic HVO biofuel (hydrotreated vegetable oil produced from waste and reducing carbon emissions by 90% and fine-particle emissions by 65%.

 

Getting skiers involved in the eco-responsible approach

The Marmottes chairlift pylons in the Bellevard sector are helping spread awareness on eco-responsible behaviour. A succession of 10 canvas sheets have been installed on the pylons with test-your-knowledge questions to get us thinking about our own impact on the environment. Did you know that, in nature, it takes 2 years for a cigarette butt to disintegrate, 200 to 500 years for a drink can, and some 4,000 years for a glass bottle?

Snowmaking facilities

Heavy investment has made Val d’Isère’s snowmaking facilities among the most efficient in Europe. Snow cannons on the OK slope were entirely replaced in autumn 2019, for a cost of 1.5 million euros. The aim was to reduce the volume of air and water used in order to allow the new facilities to produce more snow in a shorter time. Cutting-edge snow cannons now produce twice as much snow as models from twenty years ago, using only half the amount of water.

Green energy

In 2012, the Val d’Isère cable car company signed a green electricity contract to power the ski lifts and snow cannons. 208 solar panels are now installed on the façade (compared to 82 in 2021) and roof (126 in 2022) of the Olympique cable car top station. This represents a surface area of 156m² on the façade and 246m² on the roof.

The Environment Observatory

In 2014, the Val d’Isère cable car company entered a fauna and flora observation programme for the ski area, proof of its commitment to the preservation of sensitive habitats and protected species, and its environmental approach to the integration of new projects and infrastructure. Ecologists patrol the ski area to identify all the species present and the zones to be protected. Since 2016, the company has joined forces with the Vanoise National Park, the ski area management company and the Val d’Isère council in measures to save the black grouse by creating protected areas in off-piste sectors such as the Cairn forest, the Cognon woods and Les Gardes.

Black grouse count

In the scope of a partnership agreement to protect the black grouse in the Val d’Isère ski area, signed between the Vanoise National Park, Val d’Isère council and the companies that manage the ski area and the cable cars, around fifteen people helped to count black grouse on 3 May 2023. The results are very encouraging, as the initiative recorded 34 cocks and 5 hens, the highest number since the initiative was first launched, in 2005.

Tangible measures

Here are two examples of tangible measures conducted by the Environment Observatory and the Val d’Isère cable car company: 1. Quantification of red alpine catchfly recolonisation following work on the Solaise gondola lift. Result > just a few years on, this plant species has returned to its former numbers.  2. Every year, a landscaper from Karum comes to Val d’Isère to monitor and study the parts of the ski area that can be regrassed (like Datcha in summer 2021).

 

The Col de l'Iseran is open   The Col de l'Iseran is open  
☀️Summer season: June 29th to September 1st, 2024 ❄️ Winter season: November 30th, 2024 to May 4th, 2025
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