Espace Diamant Laissez Passez

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A further twist in the tale is the lift pass system. One would expect to be able to buy an Espace Diamant pass and ski from one end of the domain to the other without stopping. To this end the resorts have been busily equipping with hands free systems. Only it all starts to get a bit confused. The Evasion Mt Blanc area (Megève, St Gervais, Les Contamines, Combloux) are using a Skidata system. Crest-Voland and Saisies already have a Skidata system. Curiously these two resorts have now joined Notre Dame de Bellecombe and Flumet (the new Diamant Blanc zone) in purchasing an ALFI system at a cost of 500,000 €. Skidata and ALFI are completely incompatible. This has forced Praz sur Arly to make a choice and they have opted for the same system as their big neighbours at Megève, namely Skidata. So at a time when the resorts are supposed to be linking up from this winter Praz sur Arly is no longer part of the Val’Arly ski area. Skiers wishing to cross from the Haute Savoie to Savoie will have to pay an extra 5 € at the Flumet lift pass office. With so much recent investment it seems the Lilliputians of the two Savoies are in no hurry to change their systems. The Espace Diamant has been cut in two before it is even off the drawing board. Maybe these hyper-domains really are more about marketing rather than skiing and the mountains?

A bigger obstacle may come from the State. The project was due to be considered by a commission specializing in UTNs on the 30th September, 2004. However it was withdrawn at the last minute. It seemed that there was some serious opposition, not just from environmental groups but also from some locals, politicians and members of the administration. A petition by Mountain Wilderness had gathered 2,500 signatures against the plan. On the 25th of September a meeting of the Pro Mont-Blanc group denounced the major impact a continuous ski area would have on the environment and called on the UTN commission and the préfet to oppose the plan. It seems that diamonds are not everyone’s best friend.


  • La Neige Empoisonée, Daniel Arnaud
  • Montagnes Magazine, November 2004
  • Libération, 18th December, 2003
  • Snow Business, Emmanuel Carcano
  • Montroc Avalanche, David George, American Avalanche Association, Fall 2003
  • Désaccord entre la CDA et les élus savoyards, report from TV France 3, Nov 12, 2004.

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