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This is where I grew up.

Goods and beauty that belong to all of us

Here begins the land of freedom This is how the artist Sami Weill described the Vanoise park when it was created in 1963

50 years later a law invites all French national parks to adopt a new charter oriented towards sustainable development

But in Vanoise this project raises concerns by the local population

I wanted to delve into the heart of the Vanoise Park to meet people who could help me understand

How to enhance development while respecting the environment is an issue that is causing tension at the heart of the Vanoise National Park where Courchevel and Pralognan la Vanoise lie 01:09

The Vanoise Park is home to thousands of protected species but the environmentalists only consider the 500 ski lifts, the snow cannons and fast growing urbanization.

Yves Paccalet is the director of the park and has a project in mind that is to say, to have a charter signed by twenty ski resorts which shall precisely agree to slowing down their development

Around the Vanoise Park there are nearly 400, 000 beds for tourists. Nowhere in the mountains is there so much concrete- we should stop building up, and we should also stop putting lifts everywhere and try to have a harmonious development

An aquatic centre and soon two luxury hotels, two projects which the mayor of Courchevel does not want to give up

Gilbert Blanc Tailleur- Mayor of Courchevel In the outskirts, in the park periphery, in the heart of the park, nobody ever thought of building but inside our ski resorts they will still not be the ones to tell us how to do it

Pralognan la Vanoise, is a tiny skiing area that the municipality would very much like to expand

Thierry Thomas-Mayor of Pralognan la Vanoise. There are 100 meters of trail that could have been made.Impossible because there is a violet we are not allowed to move.

If you cannot remove a flower when there are thousands in the face of this mountain, in fact, we can not ensure the safety of people.

A charter that mountain advocates would like to see implemented the soonest possible. Over the last 10 years 20% of new dwellings have been built in the valley

Overwhelmed by the questions I first turned to the mountain to reach the heights

My friends and I set off for a ski mountaineering and alpinism crossing of the heart of the park

On the first day we left the Grand Col hut just above the Les Arcs ski resort, heading for the northern slopes of Mount Pourri

We advanced in fresh snow with the feeling of entering a pristine world

But our dream is real In the North face of Mount Pourri, the quite often crevassed Geay glacier resembles a smooth snow slope

Suddenly, as we pass from the shade to the sunny part of the mountain, we are faced with a real Sami Weill illustration

So this is the Grande Casse to the right, but the day is not finished yet

This is because from the top of Mount Pourri we shall climb on the long south ridge which will take us to the dome of la Chasse

Sami Weill used to say: ''Here is the space, the fresh air is here, here is silence''

"The realm of unspoilt dawns and naive animals''

''Everything that we miss in our cities is preserved here''

By everyone We will make it! We are not there,yet

We are cut off from the world, but it's fabulous,an extraordinary mountain range, isn't it Johan?

When crossing such beautiful landscapes one realises the importance of preserving them

It's gorgeous! Let's go!

However, the passage to the sea of clouds suddenly brought us back to reality

It took us a good part of the night to find the Lac de la Plane refuge, lost in the mist

This was a project of Johan's and therefore like all of his projects, this one had a surprise in store above the sea of clouds

And then for a moment we had to go beneath and we spoiled everything

I saw the place of the descent route and it is slightly inclined

-Only slightly?

Johan, we can say that, this is for hopeless mountaineers but when one is so good well there is the choice between the Grande Casse, the Col de Venos, the Grande Casse, its North face

It was almost midday when we set off to reach the Félix Faure refuge

The goal is to make it less sticky, it looks slightly better now.

-You have lost some fat there Yes, some fat

So, to the left of the serac is the couloir of the Italians

To the right of the serac, just to the right is the direct North face

And to the right of the slope there is the Small North Face coming out at the extremity of the Grande Casse crest

And we are going down this little valley there a bit, then we are going back up and move along the entire north face of the Grande Casse to the ridge of the Grande Casse

-Who wants a bit of cheese?

-Just a little-please, Johan

-I'll cut some for you, dear

-Could you please peel off the crust?

There is no crust on your cheese

Johan usually forgets some subtle things and some specific details of the course. It is 6 am and we are there still looking at the serac to see if we can go past or not.It is 3 pm We are a bit confused between the idea of climbing the north face and the idea of going round the refuge, but a decision is imperative Even if the serac welcomes us with open arms we will move slightly to the right Before we left I visited a few people to get further information about national parks Philippe Lheureux, Deputy Director of the Vanoise National Park The 50 year anniversary from the creation of the park was precisely the opportunity for a comprehensive review The Vanoise National Park, created since 1963, worked well, the people, the successive generations were accustomed to the presence of the park and then the 2006 Act, which aims to be innovative, has disturbed the landscape and people's habits Obviously the residents and public actors are concerned about what might be written in a charter, let alone as drafting it with them, but the elected spokesmen of municipal councils disapprove of the charter, but not of the park and here the difference is quite significant The park reflects a national and international image that mostly benefit tourist activities What matters in this charter is what we want to do together and this is a kind of suggestion box So it is not a question of revolutionizing the future, the economy or the choices made by the people of the valleys We are together, we possibly share the place, forced and constrained, but we are trying to be positive about this constraint and say: since we are all together we might as well try to do something positive and see what can unite us Exhausted! Let's take a break! I am quite angry But it was good, it was really good This crossing, will remain engraved in our memory GRENOBLE Joseph Fourier University There is this paradox noted by many authors that protected areas are dedicated to the absence of human beings Philippe Bourdeau- Researcher and Professor at the Institute of Alpine Geography But it is people who create them, people who manage them, people who visit them too, so there is this kind of misunderstanding, in some way, which may originate in the creation of protected areas. The issue is in Vanoise in particular, since it is both a protected area but at the same time shows a very high density of heavy tourist facilities in the outskirts of the park Christmas is coming with the fullness of the great white horizons, all dreams are now permitted on the departing snow trains That is to say, we are faced with an industrial dynamics of skiing, which is cut off from the cultural epic of the democratization of skiing. Today we are faced with an activity of importing tourists and tour operators who are members of industrial tourism chains and for whom the question of territory is actually a an area covered with infrastructure to be made profitable and who think they do not need the territory or the park except to look pretty on postcards with beautiful unspoilt white summits so as to sell real estate around This is why I think people are exacerbated and there is so much tension around the park charter I think there is an issue that would be to gain further in altitude in order to escape the lack of snow at the foot of the mountain and then take steps to manoeuvre vis-à-vis international ski resorts and be able to resize the skiing areas, I think this is the issue,to minimize the constraints linked to protected area management and have both hands free Well, here we go on the dark side of the north face of the Aiguille de la Vanoise. In fact, we begin to understand what a winter expedition is like, when we are on the spot, stumbling on the terrain. There is ice over there I did the same in summer and I found it beautiful, the trail, the climbing route, however the rock, compared with what was done in the winter was not the same The terrain is beautiful but the ridge....This produces a good sound Two pitches? Three pitches Well, the sun has disappeared This is one of the hardest routes I have ever climbed really, we cannot see anything and we are at the top of the Aiguille de la Vanoise. It is quite warm Departure from Félix Faure Refuge at 5:15 Crossing of the Vanoise glaciers, so this morning, it is a beautiful day, but we did not have much luck with the weather Suddenly we are at the Col de l'Aiguille at 800m in altitude down to the refuge At the end of this crossing, I wanted to meet another prominent figure so much respected by climbers in the nearby park of the Ecrins I honestly think it would be really nice if we did not need national parks. No sooner had I said that than I at the same time said we were fortunate to have national parks Fredi Mugnan The Promontoire refuge guardian President of Mountain Wilderness, France In recent decades we have used the land of the mountains for purposes of economic survival and now I sometimes say for money accumulation. For example here at the Meige there was a real project in 1935, to lower the top of the Meige by 17 meters so as to have enough space for a cable car station up there, oh yes. Of course, there were objections but I think it is just because of that, among other things, that Pelvoux Park was created at the time, because the Pelvoux was the highest mountain top in the Massif des Ecrins National Park there 40 years ago. National parks they are intended to protect nature but mainly to protect the relationship of man to nature But why? Because it is all about sharing the wealth of a place, not just drinking coke and eating French fries But I also wanted to listen to somebody who lives in the Vanoise Park everyday -Here again? So I paid another visit to Franc, the keeper of la Dent Parrachée refuge Franc Buisson-keeper of la Dent Parrachée refuge The flag here is not one from a palace, it's my weather forecast, you see if the North is full of clouds, if the sky is blue, if the south looks weird,well i must begin to take in the furniture The national park people have made comments that my prayer flag was a conspicuous sign and they tolerated that but that I had better remove it. And there I do not get it. I feel I have worked for 25 years with the park guardians and for the last 3-4 years I feel I am working with the environment police You see, there are so many stones around the refuge and they carry stones here by helicopter so as not to move those in the park. I respect the work they are doing, but I think it is something that is made for scientists than for ordinary mortals who come here on holiday, the locals, I'm sure 80% of the people who are against the charter have never seen it. But it was a way, if you want, for them to express their discontent On this beautiful August morning I begin the ascent of the Dent Parrachée with the indefatigable Patrick Gabarou I think, knowing some people who live in these valleys all around the Park, that many people in the country are fully aware of the value of nature conservation at the Vanoise Park Thank you, Patrick Many thanks to you Here's why this will not work, just because everyone knows it is a real treasure. It might bring a solution. We need to discuss things I am definitely for the charter but I am also for understanding it first Let's take the time, on the social or relational, level and the desire to work together And if this does not work today or next year, well it will work the year after next However, let's not give up hope and let's above all keep this attitude to seek a win-win outcome, because if there is neither winner nor loser we will be the losers What is the role that these territories have to play for people, what can people draw as their wealth? We have already got an idea of wealth, it is just money Are we ready to listen and move forward together and find the balance between individual interests and a common interest? I just wonder what Sami Weill would have thought of that We should probably look for the answer in the poem he had written about Vanoise

The national park is the large garden of the French people. Do not remove plants especially because stones will grow in their place. It takes many grass stalks to weave a man. Draw from the treasure of the heights but let it shine after you, for all the other people Directed by Nicolas Hairon

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: France
Language: French (France)
Producer: Altitude Films
Views: 109
Posted by: fourioti on Jan 3, 2014

Ski mountaineering adventure at the Vanoise National Park in Savoie, France

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