Silence has resumed its rights at the foot of the big rocky bars. In this off-season, after the winter snows and before the arrival of summer visitors, a sharp wind sweeps the deserted car parks, where the lifts of the Villard-de-Lans (Isère) ski area start.
The cows again cross the roads to graze on the Vercors plateau. Further down, near the village of 4,500 inhabitants, there is not a cat either at Ludi Parc Frédéric Bertrand. Not a customer has descended at the start of May the toboggan track of the Grenoble Olympics occupying the garden of the former bobsleigher. " The Vercors clientele is aging. I ask myself the question of stopping or continuing ", Says Frédéric Bertrand, in his office decorated with a poster of the Albertville Olympics in which he participated.
He bought two brothers of 91 and 89 years
Part of the answer depends on the intentions of basketball player Tony Parker. The quadruple NBA champion announced Monday, May 13, the purchase of ski lifts serving the 125 kilometers of trails at the station Villard-de-Lans / Corrençon-en-Vercors. He takes over from the Huillier brothers, local fortunes of 91 and 89 years. Former international hockey and Resistance medalists, Daniel and Victor Huillier have always been at the forefront, including the installation of snowmakers in 1982, in this mountain resort that has had three difficult winters in the past five years.
Cross-country skiing tries to bounce in the Vercors
What will it be tomorrow? The basketball player did not say much about his intentions when he came on Monday, May 13, to formalize the acquisition of 76.90% stake in the company lifts (SEVLC) by Infinity Nine Mountains. Candide, he even acknowledged in a burst of laughter never to have skis, the insurance policies of the basketball player forbidding him.
" So what ? Tony Parker is unanimous among athletes. He will bring us his notoriety "Smiles the French founder Robin Duvillard, co-founder of Zecamp, accommodation for top athletes. " Money does not buy everything in the mountains and Tony Parker has the intelligence to partner with two local children Says the skier, who retired internationally in the spring. In this case, a restaurant owner and Guillaume Ruel, freerider and elected of Corrençon-en-Vercors, propelled director of the development of the station, at the age of 30 years. " We need people of this profile to make sure we stay places of tourism ", Greets Michèle Arnaud, president of the White Thrush, famous cross-country ski race organized on the set.
Municipal councils adhere to a vague project
The municipal councils of Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors voted unanimously the purchase. " Tony Parker shares our territory project "Says Chantal Carlioz, Mayor of Villard-de-Lans, who notes that " The story repeats itself " : " The ski resort was founded by large local families to develop the winter season, while the tourism economy was based until then on the climate, the summer. Today, it is about strengthening the 'four seasons' diversification, while remaining a family resort, on a human scale. "
In recent years, the resort has been welcoming participants of the Vélo Vert Festival, the flagship mountain bike event at the end of May. The cyclists precede the summer visitors, who have the choice between golf, ski-wheel, aquatic center, or the cable car joining the splendid sites of excursion.
Going further will probably require new equipment. Infinity Nine Mountains indicates projecting itself to a horizon of six or seven years ". A calendar that corresponds to the land exit of the new tourist unit of a thousand beds that should be subject to public inquiry by the fall. These will be the first real estate projects of importance since the 1970s.
What worry the inhabitants? " For now, the project is vague and consensual "Says Benjamin Trocmé, EELV departmental advisor. Jacques Adenot, President of the Vercors Regional Nature Park, is convinced that "Tony Parker understood the true Vercors, a territory with a strong rural life ". Clarification should be made in the fall.
The art of the rebound around Lyon for Tony Parker
• After 18 years in the NBA, 37-year-old Tony Parker is set to announce in June whether he's going to have a final season with the Charlotte Hornets, his last club. Following the career of the former leader of San Antonio Spurs is partly written, since its acquisition of LDC-Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne in 2014. He intends to make the club, eighteen times champion of France, the standard bearer tricolor basketball.
• At the head of the Jeep Elite (the men's division 1), winner of the 2019 French Cup, Asvel could evolve by 2023 in an Arena with more than 10,000 seats. A project for which the basketball player is getting closer to Jean-Michel Aulas, president of Olympique Lyonnais. Since 2017, Tony Parker is also the majority shareholder of Lyon-Asvel Women, in the title race this year.
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