Snowfarmingà Bessans


Conserving snow under a layer of sawdust to allow a slope to be opened in autumn: in Bessans, this snowfarming technique was introduced in 2018 to give you a chance to enjoy those skiing pleasures before everyone else!

Preserving snow

from one winter to the next

A technique that allows snow to be used from one winter to the next, by insulating it from the surrounding air and the summer sun with a clever mixture of sawdust.

L’astuce ?

Only manmade snow is stored!

It is easier to compact for optimum conservation.

In Bessans, between February and April 2020, more than 10,000 m3 of snow were stored near the biathlon stadium. This shaded location was chosen for its naturally cold environment and because it is close to the sector where the snow will be re-used. The site was tried and tested as a storage site in 2018 when the snowfarming process was launched, after being under study for more than 10 years at Bessans, in Haute Maurienne Vanoise!

So since 2018, Bessans has been among the earliest-opening ski resorts in France, with a cross-country trail of at least 2km already accessible in autumn. Cross-country fans, skate-skiers and biathletes, take note, along with anyone else keen to get back on their skis as soon as possible, even for last winter’s snow!

Key figures…


•  10,700 m3: volume of snow stored in Bessans from February to April 2020

•  1,400: number of days reserved in Bessans by bi-athlete teams in November 2020

•  120: number of skiers present for the opening day of the season in November 2019

•  30 cm: thickness of the sawdust layer covering the piles of snow

•  20 to 30%: percentage of snow estimated to melt during the storage period

•  5 days: time required to remove the sawdust, spread the snow and prepare the trail

•  2 km: minimum length of the trail to be opened on 7th November 2020. The snow cannons then allow it to be lengthened quickly.

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