Black Grouse and Ptarmigan live all year round in the ski area. They are so-called umbrella species “species whose home range is large enough that their protection ensures that of other species belonging to the same community”.
Indeed, they were selected as bioindicators at the time of creation of the GMDS environmental observatory.
In winter, these species find refuge in powder snow areas, which are also popular with skiers and snowshoers.
The populations of these birds are threatened and decreasing in France. Disturbance in winter is one of the reasons, among others, for their dwindling numbers in the Alps. In winter, they rely on their reserves to survive. If they are disturbed too often, they expend their energy unnecessarily, which can result in more frequent mortality: some will not see spring, others, weakened, will be more susceptible to disease and predators.
Aware that its activity can pose a threat to these species, the Grand Massif is committed to protecting zones which are essential to their life cycle. The sharing of open spaces between ski area users and the wildlife that lives there is a priority.
For several years now, areas of tranquillity have been marked out at the beginning of the winter and identified by flags and signs showing images of the birds in the Giffre ski area and the Vernant bowl in Flaine. From winter 2022-2023, new areas of tranquillity will be marked out in the Flaine ski area. All of these zones will be indicated on the piste map.
These actions are the result of collaboration between the ski area and various technical partners: FDC74, OFB, ONF, ISETA, ASTERS and are carried out with the valuable technical support of the Grand Massif piste department