I Love Ski: Can you tell us about your professional career and public life?
Jean-Luc Boch: My name is Jean-Luc Boch, I’m 51 years old and I am mayor of La Plagne Tarentaise, vice-president of international tourism of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and president of France Montagnes.
But above all, I’ve been the founding president of a public works company for 28 years.
It is an atypical career, in which I’ve prioritised above all pragmatism and results. For several years, we’ve been too inclined to want to do it too well, but we’ve forgotten that, sometimes, we have to go to the concrete part, quickly into the essentials. You have to stop going in circles, talking and doing nothing. It’s necessary to act and, today more than ever, the French mountain needs reaction, responsiveness and, especially, solutions to the difficulties it may encounter. Being pragmatic, we have the absolute will to succeed: there is always a solution, there is always a way to achieve your goals.
I Love Ski: What are your motivations? What is it that makes you get up in the morning?
Jean-Luc Boch: Perhaps I’m one of the last gentlemen who believe that today we can unite and work together to give back to the territory where we were born (in my case, the town of Macot-La Plagne) what it has given us. It’s a great luck that I was born, so to speak, in the right place. This opportunity, which I had a long time ago, allowed me to create my company, to live in my territory and have children working in this territory. I believe that the continuity of the snow plan that was established in the 60s has allowed us to develop our tourist and economic activity in winter and summer. We must continue with this work so that our children continue to live in this beautiful territory in which we have been fortunate to have existed for such a long time.
I Love Ski: Which have been your greatest personal and professional achievements?
Jean-Luc Boch: Of course, my greatest achievements are my two children. At a professional level, I have no pretensions. The only thing I can say is that, willingly, I managed to classify the La Plagne resort as a ‘tourist resort’ and it really was something very special for me. Furthermore, the fact of working together, merging municipalities, consolidating our international leadership and positioning La Plagne as the number one in the world has also been very important. But this can never be done to the detriment of the small and medium-sized resorts that surround us. We should never forget that, at some point, even La Plagne began as a small one, which then evolved and grew.
Nowadays, we have to reposition ourselves as an actor among others. The words ‘all together’ and ‘federate’ must be essential in everyone’s mind. And that’s what I promise to do at the level of France Montagnes, so that we understand that we need each other: the small, the medium and the large. And only then will I consider that I have had partial success in my mission, if I can make that understood and known.
I Love Ski: If you had a three wishes list for the French mountain, what would they be?
Jean-Luc Boch: The first wish would be to federate and work together. For me, it’s a priority and it’s really important.
The second one would be to leave everyone’s egos aside. When we work together, we automatically grow and that’s more than enough for me.
The third one, which is derived from the first two, would be to get to the first place worldwide again in terms of skiing, accessibility and customer loyalty. There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing happy families and skiers. When we see happy customers in our mountains, it means that we have done our part.
I Love Ski: You seem confident and always very enthusiastic. How do you see the future of skiing?
Jean-Luc Boch: Today, we know that the “all skiing” concept is over. We are a country that federates and attracts many national and international skiers. It takes a lot of support, because customers are looking for something more; they want ‘après-ski’, fun activities, to live an experience in the mountains, yes, but not only that. We also have many people who come for well-being, for healing, just to relax. And we may have forgotten that, originally, the holidays were made to rest from the exciting life we have every day. When you are an inhabitant of the city, constantly stressed from morning to night, you need a place to be quiet, find yourself and just relax. That’s what the French mountain must offer today.
At France Montagnes, we are working in the preseason with ‘Christmas is magical’ and ‘spring skiing’. And for this, we have tools at our disposal, including the snow cannons that cause so much controversy. We must remember that they make it possible to ensure the start of the season, but also an end of the season. And wherever it goes, no matter what happens, water always comes back to nature.
Let’s stop considering ourselves as people who don’t take nature into account, since, first of all, we live in it 365 days a year! Obviously, we’re not going to put in difficulty and in danger the territory where we were born and which we have the opportunity to frequent every day.