Deconfined After saving the winter season, weighed down by the lack of snow, the Mark stein sled resumed service on Wednesday while respecting barrier gestures. An economic emergency for the resort.
The Mark stein station has taken on a few colors this Wednesday, with the sled reopening to the public. Closed since the start of containment, this attraction had already made it possible to survive economically this winter, marked by a lack of snow and only 41 days of operation. That’s half an average year, said Thomas Cron, Mark stein operations manager.
Despite its modest rails and rustic air, the sled made it possible to save some employees from technological unemployment this winter. Not very greedy in operating costs, it is also very profitable. And with the radiant sun that the weather has given us since March, we could almost have recovered our health thanks to the spring, loose Thomas Cron, a little bitter. But we understand what happened, he concludes, without naming either the Covid or the containment. He looks to the future today—a lot on the right rails of deconfinement.
A test last weekend
This reopening to the public had become an economic necessity for the station, which had been shut down for more than two months and awaiting responses from the prefecture and the Regional Health Agency (ARS) on the measures to be put in place. No one was able to categorize us; it was not for lack of asking the authorities. So we did a test with a few locals this weekend by setting up a battery of physical distancing measures, even if it means being a little zealous, says Thomas Cron.
The central point of this device is the disinfection of the sleds, which pass under a gantry after each use: a virucidal liquid is sprayed, which makes them usable again without risk. The spiral queue, another safe hot spot, has been completely overhauled. People will wait in single file along the facility to avoid crossing paths and mingling. As a result, only one sled will launch at a time. Hydro alcoholic gel dispensers have been placed along the line so that the public can disinfect their hands. We think we have found a good compromise, promises Thomas Cron.
However, sledding will not save the season. As elsewhere, snow remains the white gold of the mountain. The figures speak for themselves: In winter, the resort supports 20 employees. In summer, there are only 7 of us, thanks to the sled. Ten if we count the three employees of the bike-park, which is an autonomous structure, notes Thomas Cron. Between summer and winter, the activity simply doubles. But the transition is underway at the Mark stein, assures Thomas Cron, happy all the same to anchor employees in our territory thanks to the sled, which makes it possible to hire on permanent contracts, all year round.