Spectacular pump replacement in La Plagne
A highly unconventional pump replacement was recently carried out in the French ski resort of La Plagne. A defective pump in a reservoir was being replaced - nothing unusual in and of itself. The challenge for the TechnoAlpin France engineers, however, was fitting the new pump without draining the basin first. They wanted to avoid wasting any water in La Plagne, bearing in mind that 132 hectares of snow need to be generated every year to cover the 130 slopes there.
A diver was sent into the water to face up to this special challenge. He removed the damaged pump and installed the new one which was delivered by helicopter. The difficulty was coordinating the movements of the diver and the helicopter. The diver was receiving directions by Interphone while radio contact was maintained with the pilot.
It took the diver over three hours to remove the defective pump. It took the helicopter just four minutes to take away the old pump and bring the new pump. It took another half an hour to install it and then the operation was successfully completed. The whole procedure went off without any hitches and normal snow-making operations were resumed.