Chamonix ski Resort Environmental Clean Up

The pristine Vallee Blanche, Chamonix ski resort.

Compagnie du Mont Blanc, the operators of the Chamonix ski resort have proudly issued a press release about the clean up work of being conducted on the mountains.

As visitors to a ski resort, we see the pristine pure white mountain views and enjoy the freshly groomed courdroy slopes. What we don't appreciate is the amount of work it takes to keep a ski resort that way and do not even give a second thought to work of cleaning up decades of thoughtless disposal of construction waste.

All congratulations goes to Compagnie du Mont Blanc, the resort's operator for their work in the environmental clean up that's been quietly happening in the background for the past few years.

Chamonix ski resort
removal of on-piste construction waste

excavator at work. Clean up of Chamonix Ski Resort disused infrastructure

Let's not be coy, we were all at fault. Until a few decades or so ago, no one would've thought twice, anywhere in the world, to dump rubbish in the oceans; it was the norm for industry to pour waste materials into rivers; just as it was ok to dump construction waste into crevasses or simply burn inflamable waste on-site.

Of course, now it is just not OK. Such behaviour today is regarded as environmental vandalism and it's not tolerated.

The Chamonix Ski Resort has gone several steps further - they're not just doing what's considered the norm these days in handling and recycling waste but are also correcting the mistakes of the past.

To limit the impact of the past,

  • The old cables that were simply buried under Grand Montets have been dug out and removed. That was 40 tonnes of cables brought off the mountain.
  • Dismantled obsolete sites including the old hang gliding launch pad at Les Grands Montets
  • Removed off the mountain, the no longer used Bochard Catex
  • Removed the staunchions and plyons which was the old Plan Praz ski lift
  • Dismantled and removed the 1974 suspension cable from the north face of the Aiguille du Midi
  • Cleaned up the Mer de Glace
  • Recycled old ballast during the renovation of the Montenvers track ways
  • Repaired these areas by re-grassing the pistes with a special blend of grass seeds appropriate for the Chamonix valley

Emerick Desvaux the Co-Works Manager at the Aiguille du Midi shares that the operation in removing the cables was particularly delicate.

"The cable was 3100m long and weighed 50 tons. Cutting it ran the risk of it whiplashing up the mountain, damaging installations on its way such as the present 2nd section cable, the footbridge and the lift terrace...

...The solution was to pin the cable to the cliff using anchor rings every 50cm which absorbed the choc when the cable was severed in two. The lower half was chopped up into 40m long segments, heliported down the mountain and recycled..."

Congratulations Chamonix!

What an amazing story! That's just as impressive as the engineering feat to create the structures at the Midi.

Given the klaxon of ever more profits, I find it noteworthy that a company would spend money and invest resources in cleaning up areas of the mountains which won't immediately present an economic return. 

Compagnie du Mont Blanc have already invested 1.2m euros to do exactly that. And that's besides the usual recycling of 350 tons of annual waste.

Well done Chamonix ski resort!

Go here to read more and to give Compagnie du Mont Blanc a comment of appreciation.

P.S. I like this news about more environmental efforts at Chamonix:

  • For more of the light touch on the environment, there'll be an experiment with dry toilets, compost from which will be distributed in summer with the grass  reseeding project.


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