Didier Louvier, 47 years of age, manager of Alpine Services for Les Contamines Town Council:
For six months of the year, Didier Louvier spends his days along the hiking trails. This local boy isn’t just out enjoying himself! Since 1991, he has worked during the summer season for the town council, in the Alpine Services Department. His role: to ensure that hiking and mountain biking trails are accessible to tourists, well-signposted and offer optimum security.
The work generally begins late April, give or take a few weeks depending on the weather. Once the winter season has ended, Didier, assisted by a colleague, roams the paths and trails to remove the winter signposts (indicating snowshoeing trails for example) and replace them with signposts for walkers/hikers.
“Our challenge is to be ready for the end of June,” explains the head of department, “suffice to say there’s no shortage of work!” In a 4×4 vehicle or on foot Didier covers the local itineraries, repairing damage caused by the snow, clearing trails, mowing down grasses and cutting back the hedgerows. His objective: to offer tourists and walkers a great quality service. “The most rewarding part of my job is to see happy people along the trails” boasts Didier. “It’s a passionate job and essential to love the mountains and the outdoors come rain or shine”.
And Didier loves the mountains! Grandson of a local hotelier (his maternal grandparents ran the Nantborrant hotel), he grew up in le Fayet. At the age of eighteen he worked in metallurgy for a time but didn’t enjoy it. «I needed to be outdoors, in contact with the mountains», explains Didier smiling.
At the age of 21 he came to work the winter in Les Contamines for the ski lift company (SECMH). An opportunity to join the town council team for the summer season then presented itself. Life became seasonal: winter on the ski lifts and summer for the Alpine Services Department at the town hall. In recent years, Didier has become involved within the local community and surrounding towns and villages to work towards the common signposting of all the hiking trails in the Mont Blanc area. However, his objective remains unchanged: to highlight local heritage and take care of the surrounding alpine territory.
Photos : © Zir