OUR WOMEN ON THE TRACK! 2/4

Flocon
Station de ski - Courchevel

They are chefs, freeriders, snow groomer drivers, trackers and business women who form the beating heart of Courchevel. You may meet them during your stay in the mountains. These unique women are the pride of the resort.
Discover a new portrait each week.

This week : PAULINE - SNOW GROOMER DRIVER
Station de ski - Courchevel

Hello Pauline, you've been a snow groomer driver for the 3 Valleys Society for a few years now. 
Can you introduce yourself and tell us how long you've been working in Courchevel?     

I am 27 years old, originally from Angers but I have been in Tarentaise since I was 4 years old and now live in Aime with my partner and son.  
Eight years ago, I did my first season in the S3V's lift service in Courchevel and developed a passion for the machines and trucks so I applied to return to the snow grooming service and had the chance to do a 3-morning internship with the company. 
The following year, I was called in to support the snow grooming team since they were a driver short. I saw the season out as a substitute - but never left!

What is the route to becoming a snow groomer?   
There is no specific training, you learn everything on the job with someone who instructs you as you watch what they do, and they teach you the trade. After 3 years, you receive a certificate as proof of professional qualification, but there is no specific license. So, it's quite open to applicants, but you need to be very patient because places are (normally) scarce. 

Why did you choose this job? 
Primarily to spend time in a mountain environment. When we see the natural beauty which surrounds us... we are a bit like children, constantly amazed, and every day of the season I am delighted to be able to work in this remarkable setting.  
And second, because working with snow is a real passion. I really appreciate everything about it, especially the diversity of the work: from snow blowing to maintaining the slopes, even helping to transport fireworks for a display ... We continually bear in mind that this job requires a lot of attention to detail and we have to be vigilant at all times: we’re always very aware of hikers on the pistes, sledge riders at the foot of the slopes. The job requires constant care and concentration for six hours, which is demanding, especially when the weather is challenging and there's a lot of wind.

How do you divide the areas to be groomed?  
Romain, the snow groom team manager publishes a grooming plan every day. Then the sector leaders decide which area we will work on. Often, we’ll have two machines as well as a winch operator working in one sector. Depending on the size of the slopes, I can do 3 or 4 a night, or maybe just one. For example, the piste at Creux requires 6 hours of work with 2 machines since it is the longest track in Couchevel’s ski area – and it’s very wide.

How do you divide the areas to be groomed?  
Romain, the snow groom team manager publishes a grooming plan every day. Then the sector leaders decide which area we will work on. Often, we’ll have two machines as well as a winch operator working in one sector. Depending on the size of the slopes, I can do 3 or 4 a night, or maybe just one. For example, the piste at Creux requires 6 hours of work with 2 machines since it is the longest track in Couchevel’s ski area – and it’s very wide.

What place would you say is a real must-see in Courchevel?  
The summit of Saulire at sunset and at twilight: with a view over the surrounding peaks, a 360-degree panorama... it’s simply magical!

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