Silvio Martinod is responsible for piste maintenance, including the purchase and maintenance of service vehicles at the ski resort of La Plagne in Savoie, France. Silvio leads a team of 60 people in winter (mainly drivers) and 7 in summer. Frédéric Olivier is the main driver of the resort’s Valtra T214 Direct, which gets to work at high altitudes.
The Valtra T214 Direct was purchased in 2016. In winter the tractor is used to prepare all the cross-country pistes and to transport snow if there is a shortage. For this purpose it is equipped with a snow plough at the front and a snow cutter with furrowers at the back. In summer the Valtra is used to rehabilitate the slopes – including stone picking, crushing and levelling – and to transport soil, compost and rocks.
The tractor is especially versatile as it can be equipped with caterpillar tracks in winter and agricultural wheels in summer, making it the only machinery at the resort that runs all year round. Since its purchase the tractor has already performed 750 hours of work.
In 2017 the resort ordered a new tractor from their local dealer, Serge Monod Equipement. This machine will be equipped with options including TwinTrac reverse drive, a Skyview forestry cab, LED lights and other features.
Excellent versatility and dealer service
The fleet director is satisfied with his dealer Serge Monod Equipement based in Francin in Savoie, as well as with the Valtra brand. “When I buy a machine, above all I buy after-sales service. Purchasing a machine is nothing; everything is about the service you get afterwards. Valtra is also well known and recognised, so I trust Serge,” Silvio Martinod confirms.
Several reasons prompted Silvio to choose the Valtra T214 Direct – in particular, its versatility. It can perform piste grooming work in winter thanks to its caterpillar tracks, as well as transport work in summer when equipped with tyres. The tractor’s factory warranty is not valid when using caterpillar tracks.
“It’s a very comfortable vehicle to drive. With this machine I feel more at ease when I leave the roads, which wasn’t the case with the trucks I used before,” driver Frédéric Olivier adds.
The highlights for Olivier are the tractor’s comfort, visibility, soundproofing and ease of handling. Equipped with all the “winter” options, such as wide area windscreen wipers and heated windows and mirrors, as well as effective heating, the tractor is well suited to cold winter temperatures.
The resort’s goal is to preserve the mountain with machines that cause minimal damage, dust and noise. Silvio is also looking forward to testing various other implements with his Valtra. •
La Plagne, Savoie, France
- Staff: 730 employees in winter, 150 in summer
- Usable: area 500 ha of ski slopes
- Machinery: Valtra T214 Direct equipped with caterpillar tracks in winter and wheels in summer, plus trucks, tracked vehicles, quad bikes and snowmobiles.
- Types of work: Construction of cross-country ski pistes, snow transport for winter work. Stone removal and crushing, transport, levelling of cross-country ski pistes.