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between crowds and protection of the environment, the resort of Flaine on a ridge line

This time the countdown is on. In 2025, at the very end of its snow front, at the foot of one of its chairlifts, Flaine (Haute-Savoie) should welcome the arrival station of the local valley lift. The Funiflaine should allow, by cable from the bottom of the valley, to reach the station, built straddling the municipalities of Magland and Arâches-la-Frasse, in nineteen minutes, when forty are needed by road , interminable, especially in the event of snow.

The project divides. « Solution for the future » for Christophe Boujon, the director of the French Ski School, who praises its usefulness for vacationers as well as for his instructors from the valley. First step before other changes, for Patrice Bonnaz, director of the intercommunal union of Flaine: “If the Funiflaine works well, why not also regulate the main roads? « , he says.

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The idea: to facilitate accessibility for day skiers and encourage week-long holidaymakers to come by train, from the train station closest to their home. How? ‘Or’ What ? By relying on the small SNCF station of Magland, 600 meters from the departure of the Funiflaine and accessible from Paris via a connection, but also on the Léman Express, which connects Switzerland – and in particular Geneva – to Magland. With, in addition, the hope of the return of the night trains.

« Skiing remains a desired activity »

On the other hand, on the side of the Flainoise Association, which brings together residents and holidaymakers, we are less enthusiastic about the project. « The Funiflaine is strictly useless », slices its president, Régis Lardennois, for whom the service is more oriented towards tourism and the very questionable route. The only objective of the authorities is to “Bring thousands of more skiers back to the resort. What interest, when in high season, the resort is already saturated? « 

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With a total cost of 88.5 million euros excluding taxes, including 58 million in public funding, the Funiflaine illustrates the fact that public policies continue to focus on skiing locally. « The economic model without skiing, that doesn’t work », considers Pierre Claessen, director of the tourist office. According to its figures, the altitude station experienced an increase in its attendance for twelve consecutive winters before the health crisis linked to Covid-19, and « Skiing remains a desired activity ».

Flaine was a pioneer in the field of snow cannons in the 1970s

« We are not yet in the process of launching the big change in activity », confirms Patrice Bonnaz, reinforced by the geography of the resort. Because the day when there will be no more natural snow in Flaine, whose summit rises to 2,500 meters, then there will already be no more in most of the Haut-Savoyard resorts, we are reassured. up there.

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