An enchanting experience for skiers.
In the day mountain lovers chill on panoramic terraces to admire the spectacular views over the mountains. But in the night a whole new landscape, enchanting and misty attracts skiers seeking for experiences. The entire mountain is illuminated and slopes appear like magic paths through the pines, the trees hiding in the shadows in the silence of the night.
When can you go for night skiing?
North American ski resorts often illuminate the whole domain until late at night. Perfect for late-riser, they now enjoy a full day skiing without waking up early in the morning. With more flexible opening times, resorts opening by night improved their services, it is not only about opening later but also giving a whole new enchantment experience for demanding costumers. For instance Jackson Hole in the US is opens until 7 pm, or Crotched Mountain opens until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays! In Brighton, Utah, the park and pipes are even opened during the night. A competition is now taking place between North American resorts to be the one opening later, or the bigger ski areas at night. Do not forget to be well equipped, temperatures drop rapidly when the sun goes down.
In Southern Europe few resorts are opened in the night and it is mostly one slope: la Molina in Spain, or le Collet d’Alevard and les Saisies in France and of course the indoor slopes such as le Snowhall in Eastern France.
However there is no substitute for natural light. Under the condition of clear sky, the full moon diffuses enough light to enlighten the slopes and open the domain for one special night. Last year Nendaz hosted the ‘Moonlit Skiing’, skiers chilling at the resort with mulled wine in the light of the braseros and the shadow of the giant Alp Horns. But even more spectacular is skiing in Northern Europe or Alaska and Canada when the Northern lights illuminate the sky and the land freezes up at the end of fall. The lights red, yellow green and blue dance in the sky, dawns of the north full of legends and magic.
But the traditional torch lit descents keep attracting visitors, the dancing shadows of the processions going down the runs and only lights of the mountains. Last December, the ski school of Montgenèvre in the Hautes-Alpes organized a splendid descent to celebrate the beginning of the year, children holding portable electric torches and supervised by ski instructors:
And activities are also organized in the mountain villages, an unforgettable night in the snow! For instance, in Albiez Resort every Wednesday, luminaires diffuse a gentle night the whole evening, in Peyragudes you can even build your igloo and stay in your Inuk house overnight.
Natural lights and illuminated slopes attract skiers and resorts open longer…
Resorts promote their summer activities providing activities all year long with open air sports such as mountain biking, hiking or even waterparks in summer. But they are also working on their winter offer so snow lovers can ski even longer in winter. Lighting up the domains is a way to open longer, to sell special ski pass, and to attract more people with the dream proposition of shining slopes.
However if shining slopes are a reach enchantment for visitors, it is a real investments for resorts. They have to buy the lighting facilities, secure the slopes during the night and provide all the services until the early morning.
What about lighting facilities?
It is a real challenge for manufacturers, they have to sell a technology producing a diffuse light so skiers can clearly see the lumps and hollows of the slope for a pleasant ride. Using a silent technology with low maintenance is also a requirement as well as material resisting extreme temperatures from the colder in winter to the hotter in summer. Equipping the mountain with such facilities involves investments and logistics.
In fact because mountain are home to natural riches for instance in Scotland Glenshee, the Letch and Cairngorm are located in Cairngorms National Park; flora and fauna are protected and it is necessary to avoid any kind of pollution.
The lights must be silent and environmentally friendly, a challenge for ski resorts trying to find the right balance between energy efficiency and economic growth.