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French municipality against heli-skiing

Helikopter

Die Heliskiing-Debatte ist im gesamten französischen Alpenraum und darüber hinaus von grosser Aktualität. © PIXELIO / Stephan Wengelinski

In mid-November 2008 the municipal council of Pralognan la Vanoise/F voted unanimously to put a stop to tourist helicopter traffic on its municipal territory in the Chavière/F valley.
In particular it is against the tourist helicopter flights which pick up ski tourists at the Refuge de la Pêche on the edge Vanoise National Park. Winter-sports enthusiasts ski down to the refuge from the nearby ski area and then let themselves be flown back up to the ski area by helicopter after their snack. The municipality wants to prevent this in future and only grant approval to more nature compatible activities, in keeping with the spirit of a national park.
Heli-skiing is in fact prohibited in France. However the Act of 1985 legislates only on the use of helicopters for dropping skiers off, not for picking them up. It is this gap in the law which has been capitalised on in the Chavière valley. The mayor of Pralognan intends to appeal to the region's Préfet and call on the authorities to deal with these abuses.
Source: Montagnes Magazine No. 337, January 2009