Interview with Luc Nicolino: What is PIDA?

PIDA stands for: Avalanche Triggering Intervention Plan.

"It is the securing of avalanche-prone slopes that dominate the slopes, ski lifts, or even residences.

This plan is activated when meteorological forecasts predict snowfall of more than 15cm. It is also necessary to take into account everything that happened before and during the snowfall: winds, temperatures, snowpack evolution. Thanks to all this information, we can determine the avalanche risk level and the precautions to take.

At La Plagne, we identify more than 250 corridors to secure. It should also be noted that a PIDA represents 180 shots in a day, located according to the need.

(On the Arcs / Peisey / Vallandry domain, there are more than 270 firing points to visit for overall domain security)


Flow following an avalanche trigger

At what point do you decide to resort to this manipulation?

"We decide to resort to this manipulation the day before, in the early afternoon, based on the French meteorological forecast bulletin at noon. Indeed, it is necessary to inform all staff, who will start work one hour earlier the next day, plan shuttles, and prepare the devices for triggering avalanches."


Rescuers preparing to carry out a PIDA

What rules must be followed?

"There are several types of rules to follow. The first, and most important, concern the handling of explosives. There are strict protocols to follow to avoid any danger. Then the teams of artillerymen must be rigorous in complying with safety rules specific to moving in snowy mountainous environments: safety equipment (DVA, airbag backpacks), safety distances, reciprocal surveillance..."


 PIDA in preparation

Who can take charge of this intervention?


"The director of operations is the director of slope safety or one of his deputies. In the field, the sector chiefs are responsible for implementing explosive products. They form the PIDA teams composed of artillery pisteurs authorized by the prefecture, distribute explosive products, ensure compliance with instructions, and ensure the closure of restricted areas...

The goal is to be able to offer a secure domain at the normal opening time for the lower parts of the domain and a maximum of slopes around ten o'clock."

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