Ski resort of Céüse threatens closure
Céüse, for a long time known as the ski resort of Gap, is on the brink of closure today. Last night the staff were told that this tiny ski resort of just 35 km of runs would not reopen this winter. The reason, a dispute between the new operator and the communities of Sigoyer and Pelleautier over water resources.
Snow making at the heart of the dispute
After a decade in the doldrums Céüse (Céüze) was put up for sale last year. Transmontagne, the ski area of les Sybelles in the Maurienne and local man Jean Michel Garcin all put in bids. M. Garcin is the former president of the ski lift company of Saint Chaffrey (Serre Chevalier 1350) and had fond memories of Céüse where his parents ran a restaurant. M. Garcin established the SIVU linking local communities Manteyer and La Roche des Arnauds and this took over running the resort for 2006. It was seen by many locals as a white knight. The Conseil Général has even promissed 2 million euros of investment over three years.
Last winter the resort doubled its turnover, admittedly this was compared to the difficult winter of 2004/5. The lifts were open from Christmas to the end of March. The SIVU planned to install snow canons and build a new chair lift to access the top of the domain. The area also needs 200 000 € of investment to bring the runs up to modern safety requirements. However the SIVU has said that it will not invest this money until it resolves its dispute over water.
Proponents of the snow canon project say it is modest, just two runs and the area is rich in water resources. The plan is to pump water from below ground at a point near the bottom of the Marsaillais drag lift. This water currently drains into an area at the opposite side from Sigoyer and Pelleautier.
Sigoyer and Pelleautier say that the snow canon project will affect the level of the water table and their supply. Many resorts have started with modest projects only to cover a large proportion of the ski area with snow canons. Disputes about water are becoming increasingly common in the Alps. The village of Vaulnaveys-le-Haut in the Isère is in dispute with Chamrousse over that resort’s plans to increase the coverage of artificial snow making. The mayor of Chamrousse says that there is an agreement with Vaulnaveys to supply 200.000 m3 per year but that in fact the community takes double that volume due to leaks in its water pipes. The SIVU at Céüse is similarly dismissive of Sigoyer and Pelleautier claims, saying that they have built two much housing recently without ensuring an adequate water supply.
The Hautes-Alpes are fertile ground for local political rivalries. A decade of disputes at Serre-Chevalier brought that resort to the edge of bankruptcy until major investment and an effective take over by the Compagnie des Alpes. Risoul and Vars are also locked in battle and there is talk of a Compagnie des Alpes takeover in Risoul if the current operator leaves the resort. Transmontagne or even Remy-Loisirs would be more likely candidates.
The Hautes-Alpes Préfet has commissioned a study on the impact the proposed snow canons will have and is expected to give his response by the end of September. Céüse is worried that a public inquiry to discuss a modification to the resort including a reservoir could last until January 2007. Too late, claim the SIVU which has now threatened closure. The drama is reminiscent of the crisis facing Saint Pierre de Chartreuse in the spring. Saint Pierre similarly threatened to pull the plug unless it got 4 million euros in funding. It remains to be seen which side will blink first at Céüse.
SIVU: Syndicat Intercommunal à Vocation Unique, a legal structure that links two or more communes for a single purpose
Posted by davidof
on Wednesday, 20 September, 2006 at 06:24 PM
Some good news, with snow on the ground Roger Para thinks he will be able to run the ski lifts at Ceuze for Christmas 2007. There is also an end in sight to the water dispute with the mayors of Pelleautier and le Sigoyer with a project for a smaller reservoir to feed snow canons at the bottom of the runs.
Posted by davidof
on Wednesday, 19 December, 2007 at 10:09 PM
Ceuse is reopening tomorrow (26th December) thanks to the good snow conditions in the southern alps and financing from the regional council. We are not sure what the long term outlook is but this is good news for skiers in Gap.
Posted by davidof
on Friday, 26 December, 2008 at 12:13 AM
Whenever any plumbing issue arises, we usually do not care about it much. Almost all of the homeowners take the plumbing system of their house for granted. We think that everything is fine going on inside but suddenly some problem arises and we are not able to deal with it in time. So if you want to hire the best plumber even if you are in emergency then you will have to work for it too. You can’t just hire anyone without trusting. Such people might not work at their best and but they might charge you high for the services too.
Posted by on Sunday, 18 August, 2013 at 09:46 AM
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