Altiservice: the French mountain sector is in its peak, with new emerging management modes. Its objective is clear and precise: to support the activity of ski resorts and support the economic activity in the valleys of its mountains.
The French Pyrenees chain has numerous types of ski resort and winter sports management. In the Atlantic Pyrenees, the ski resorts of Gourette and La Pierre Saint Martin are managed by the PEAS (Public Establishment of Altitude Stations). It’s a section of the Department Council. If we go a little further to the east, the management of Superbagnères, Le Mourtis and Bourg d’Oueil was recently granted to the Council of the Department of Haute-Garonne.
On the other hand, there exists a mixed management such as the one on the Piau Engaly or Peyragudes ski resort, which has private and public capital.
Since 1990 for the first time, and 2005 for the second time, the Altiservice group runs the ski resorts of Saint Lary and Font Romeu-Pyrenees 2000 as a Public Service Delegation (PSD). This way of handling the stations by a private partner has been identified as a privatization of the stations. But in this situation it is not the case, since the community still has its full control.
Yves Rougier, CEO of the Altiservice Group, explains that «a delegation, such as Altiservice, invests in the name of the community (City Hall of Saint-Lary Soulan). It is the delegation who runs with the risks. At the end of the contract, the community is faced with the situation that the investments made have been for the better. This is a virtuous circle since the process is performed with the collaboration of all sectors of the territory, the Tourist Office, or with the economic actors of the valley.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO IMPROVE THE TERRITORY AND INCOME GENERATED BY THE SKI STATIONS
We optimize the expenses of the station and optimize the resources in all our ski resorts. The economy of scale allows us to generate new investments and maintain the long-term local economy“.
Altiservice – Their capacity of investment is significant for the ski resorts
In order to explain his statements, Yves Rougier tells that since the arrival of Altiservice in Saint-Lary in 2001, more than 80 million euros financed by Altiservice have been invested in the resort. In Font-Romeu / Pyrenees 2000, the figure amounts to almost 50 million euros since 2005.
«We are confident in the future of skiing, but we are also realistic in relation to climate change.
THE SKI INDUSTRY NEEDS NEW INVESTMENTS, PARTICULARLY IN INNOVATORS.
The highest invoicing in our ski resorts can be found in the Christmas holidays and February. It is essential that all the activities are operational during the Christmas holidays and that the products are available for those specific dates. Hence the importance of obtaining snow.
In Italy or Austria, the coverage rate of artificial snow in its slopes is around 70%: our goal is to follow this direction ».
When we ask Yves Rougier about the future methods of management in the ski resorts, he replies that “in his view, ski lifts can be an interesting alternative in a time that city halls, communities and taxpayers can no longer finance the structural deficit. As a group, in Altiservice, we know that the ski resorts of the Pyrenees can be beneficial, because they create jobs. This is the situations that can be found in Saint Lary and in Font Romeu Pyrénées 2000. We consider that, as a company committed with the territories, our role is, whenever the stations allow it, to invest and administer on behalf of the town councils and respecting the agreements of the contract that links us with them.
Altiservice and Cambre d’Aze
We are also a group committed socially and territorially. For example, since this fall, we have leaded the ski resort Cambre d’Aze, both in its method of management of the station and in its commercialization, helping them with the experience that we have acquired managing other stations. In relation to purchases, for example, we have very favourable purchase contracts that we offer to the associated stations, which reduces expenses in operations and investment. We provide experience in management, marketing, technology, human resources and security.
This last point is the number 1 priority for Altiservice, and the results proves this statement: we are the operator with the least number of accidents at work in the Pyrenees and the Alps. The safety of our employees and our customers is clearly our first priority ».
Sharing experience and pooling resources: Altiservice proposes a future solution for the ski resorts
While some ski resorts show an image, often false, of deficit of organization in the Pyrenees, the Altiservice group is confident in the future of skiing: «we support the organization of ski resorts and work daily to ensure that this image of decay disappear. With Saint-Lary and Font Romeu / Pyrénées 2000, we are improving the product working all together. While Altiservice invests in the ski area, the municipality can develop other infrastructures in its territory. These are the kind of ski resorts that participate in the development of mountain territories and villages. It should not be forgotten that 1 euro spent on ski lifts generates a total of 7 euros spent on the territory and suppliers.
When we take stock of the general economic situation, the result is completely favourable for all the Pyrenees stations, including those considered as “small”, Altiservice stands by the large and small stations (in the form of PSD, provision of services or interested authorities) “.
Mirova : a group’s strategy to continue developing the stations
With the arrival of MIROVA, up to 80% in the capital of Altiservice (and in the case of Engie 20% of the shares), the group’s strategy is to continue developing the stations currently managed by our group, but also we intend to study another way of managing stations in the form of PSD or other ways of management that always support the territory.
THERE IS A GROUP OF STATIONS WITH WHICH WE ARE NEGOTIATING IN THE PYRENEES AND IN THE ALPS.
We are an integrated company that commercialize, operates, group together, brings experience and this allows us to diversify and compensate the seasonality of skiing. For example, we have been selected for the maintenance of the new Toulouse cable car, a structure that will work throughout the year.
THANKS TO OUR EXPERIENCE, WE ARE INVESTING IN SUSTAINABLE AND URBAN MOBILITY PROJECTS, LIKE CRÉTEIL OR AJACCIO.
Of course, we work with the initiatives carried out by the provinces and regions. We are always ready to take care of the management of the stations in their territory”
The Font Romeu – Pyrénées 2000 and Saint Lary ski resorts will be open on November 30.
The ski resort of Cambre d’Aze will open on December 6.