SPIE reinforces its “Mountain” service range

Published on 14 January 2020

New “Skyvall” cable car enters service at the Peyragudes ski resort in the Pyrenees


Paris, January 14, 2020 – The Tertiaire division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire, a French subsidiary of SPIE, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, played its part in the commissioning of “Skyvall”, the new cable car connecting Loudenvielle to Peyragudes in the Louron valley, Hautes-Pyrénées. A significant achievement that reinforces its positioning as a local operator in the specific market for “Mountain” activities.

This new, three-kilometre link between the village of Loudenvielle and ski resort of Peyragudes climbs 700 metres above the Louron valley in less than nine minutes. Right from its first year in operation, “Skyvall” will transport 800 people an hour in its 27 gondolas up to the top of the slopes (1600 m). This will lead to a substantial reduction in vehicle traffic in the valley and a fall in CO2 emissions of around 274 tonnes.

The Tertiaire division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire, as the principal contractor for the contracting authority, S.E.M.A.P. (Société d'Économie Mixte d’Aménagement de Peyragudes), carried out the electrical and electronic engineering for the new cable car stations. The work was completed in record time, to put the lift into service swiftly for the end of the summer season.

· At the top station, operations mainly concerned the high voltage power supply for the Skyvall machinery, with the setting up of a 1,250 KVA substation and a 2,000-amp low-voltage master distribution panel supplying power to the variable frequency drive cabinets, an auxiliary cabinet and the power distribution cabinet for the cable car. Additional work included trace heating for the skiers’ access ramps to keep them frost free, the electrical and electronic power supply to the top station, and external lighting.

· At the base station, the work mainly involved the installation of electrical cabinets and various low-current equipment: lighting in the area around the station and boarding points, power supply for lift pass readers, ticket machines, etc.

A specific proposition combining expertise and local presence

The Group’s "Mountain” services are long established within SPIE, having begun in 2003 with installers of “snow factories”, before extending to other types of equipment, both in the Pyrenees and the Alps. “In the Pyrenees, we work with a dedicated team based at a local works office in Arreau (Hautes-Pyrénées), in the immediate vicinity of the main ski resorts; our employees live in the mountains themselves and are completely accustomed to the constraints of this particular environment. This approach is much appreciated by our partners and local officials”, observes Pierre Angélini, Head of Department in the Tertiaire division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire. “Consequently, we benefit from the trust placed in us by businesses in the sector and are seen as reliable, conscientious partners”.

“In the Alps, SPIE’s assistance is regularly sought by specialists in the manufacturing and installation of cable transport systems (chairlifts, cable cars, ski lifts, etc.), most recently in Valmorel and La Plagne for the cabling for two chairlifts”, adds Christophe Lecoeur, Head of Department for Tertiaire Alps. This same department is currently working for SEMER, a subsidiary of the Poma group, on production of the new Grandes Combes chairlift in the Courchevel 1850 ski resort. At the start of October, the SPIE teams installed the whole of the control system part of the ski lift at both the top station and the base station (power distribution, sensors and actuators for the machine).

Strategic development focus

With “Skyvall”, the Tertiaire division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire is confirming its significant stronghold in terms of “Mountain” services. This extends to other installations that sometimes have very particular logistical requirements, to suit sites with the trickiest access and extremely constrained environment, such as mountain restaurants, high altitude refuges, holiday complexes, hotels and accommodation, etc. In the Alps, the SPIE teams regularly work in the residential sector, where the demands are high in terms of quality and finish for chalets, luxury hotels, apartment hotels, etc.

The development prospects for "Mountain” business activities are very good, both in ski resorts and in urban areas. In recent years, many towns have in fact launched urban cable car projects as alternatives to traditional modes of transport. SPIE is part of the action.