Snowfarmingà Bessans
© Piste Snowfarming 20 Octobre 2018


Keeping snow under a layer of sawdust to open a piste in the autumn: Bessans has been using snowfarming since 2018.
A technique which allows a piste to be opened this year as early as 5 November 2022.

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…


20,000 m3: the volume of snow stored in Bessans between February and April 2022

4,000: the number of days booked by the professional cross-country skiing and biathlon teams (including the French team) from 7 November to 15 December 2020 in Bessans

30 to 50 cm: the thickness of sawdust covering the snow pile

23%: the estimated melt during the storage period

1 week: the working time to remove the sawdust and prepare the track.

3 km: the minimum length of the run open from 5 November 2022. The snow guns then allow the length of the run to be increased rapidly.

Nos suggestions