15th February 2009


* Editorial *

Welcome back …for the February holidays ! I am sure you might be able to have some days to rest in the mountains of the Hautes-Alpes !
You will then see that we had a lot of sun but mainly a huge amount of snow which covers everything thing: mountain, but also houses, trees, roads… You will see the country works in progress for taking the snow off the roads and surprising little snow “hills” grow along the roads and parking spaces!

See you soon for those that I shall see in a few days and for those remained at home, enjoy the pictures !

Cheers, Isabelle


The Durance Valley


Marteau slope at Villeneuve


Backcountry ski at Briançon


Backcountry ski at Briançon

Remparts Slope at Briançon


Pontillas cable car at Villeneuve

All pictures were taken between 6th and 8th February 2009



* Did you know….?*

Water reservoirs for …people? Cattle? Is it possible?

Well probably but what we will be talking are reservoirs to create artificial snow.

These reservoirs are financed by the ski resort to avoid pumping water in the rivers.

Before the creation of those reservoirs, the water was deviated from the bottom of the valley and pumped up to the mountains.
Creating reservoirs has enabled resorts to save energy and rivers are no longer dried out during winter season.

Risoul, a ski resort close to Serre-Chevalier, is pumping water in a phreatic zone close to the Durance and this means it has to be carried up to more than 1 000m higher. This is a high energy consuming activity.

With water reservoirs, as they are situated in the mountains themselves, water has just to come down the hill, gaining natural pressure while the water pumped into the valley needs to be put under pressure when it arrives to the snow cannon.

Picture: reservoir at the arrival of the ‘Casse du Boeuf’ chairlift


I am often asked if any additives are thrown into the reservoirs to prevent water to become ice or if we need any additive to make the artificial snow.

The system is simpler to prevent water to become ice: there is a bubble system (just maybe like the one you might have in your own bath!) which prevents water to stay still and to become ice. The only probability would be that a thin ice cover appears but ice won’t spread to the rest of the water.

Serre -Chevalier is now fully equipped with this kind of reservoirs and some more are scheduled to be added for the coming years.



Season 2008 / 2009


snow depth

15th December

15th January

15th February

15th March

15th April

** @ first ski lift level

70 cm

95 cm

135 cm

- cm

- cm

** @ hight ski lift level

230 cm

215 cm

255 cm

- cm

- cm

Last snow fall

15 december

7 january

12th february



Number of sunny days
(from 1st Jan. 2008)

250 days

14 days

31 days




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