The following story should be filed under the category: Don’t Try This At Home, Kids. The March edition of Skieur Mag amongst other reliable sources brought us news of a daring, or is that foolhardy? BASE jump from the Vanoise Express Cable Car that links Les Arcs with La Plagne.
Okay first off, some definitions. A BASE jump is simply a parachute jump from a defined point: Building, Antenna, Span and Earth. Presumably the Vanoise Express counts as a span. Local BASE jumpers (and freeriders) Enak Gavaggio, Laurent Niol who some of you will have seen at last year’s Les Arcs Freeride competition were joined by snowboarder Vivien Dotti.
A few days before the Christmas opening of the cable car the trio climbed onto the station at the La Plagne end and started to traverse across the cables suspended 380 meters above the Peisey-Nancroix valley. The jumpers didn’t go unnoticed and the Gendarmerie were rapidly on the scene to arrest the trio when they finally came back down to earth. With film and video footage confiscated the team were sent on their way with a stern telling off.
The lift company and constructors Poma warned that walking on the cables could damage fibre optic communications linking the two valleys which would require major repairs. Hard to believe this story as the 1800 meters of cables have to withstand severe summer and winter weather as well as carrying the massive double decker cabins. Certainly from a legal point of view should an accident occur the lift company could be liable under the provisions of article 1384 alinea 1 of the French civil code which states that an organisation must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their property including unauthorised access. The lift company say they’ve now taken measures to stop further events of this kind and promise severe sanctions should anyone have a go.