About our company

All you need to know about SATA



What is SATA?

All information about SATA


SATA, (Société d’Aménagement Touristique de l’Alpe d’Huez) is a semipublic company serving the local tourist development of the Grandes Rousses and Grand Serre mountain ranges.

In the 1930s, the first lifts were built in Alpe d’Huez by Jean Pomagalski.

In 1958, a group of business men and private owners founded a company, buying all the existing lifts which  belonged to individual owners

In 1961, the municipality of Huez acquired 15% of the share capital of the company, and became the majority share holder in 1989.

Today, the SATA is a limited, mixed economy company, with the majority of its share capital owned by the municipality of Huez. The remaining shares are held by banking institutions and small investors.

SATA holds the permit to operate the lifts and slopes for 3 villages.

SATA: 3 certifications

SATA has been ISO-certified 9001 for Quality for several years. In 2010, SATA was also awarded certifications for Environment (ISO 14001) and Safety (OHSAS 18001).
These certifications ensure customer satisfaction and continued improvement, guaranteeing the safety of both users and personnel, respect of the environnement and control of pollution.

SATA: Organisation, professions

At the height of the season, SATA employees approximately 550 people, more than 100 of whom are permanent employees. SATA is the biggest employer in Bourg d’ Oisans.

Overall coordination

SATA is responsible for overall coordination and management. During the ski season, operational management is in charge of ensuring coordination between slopes and lifts.

Lift operation and maintenance

Lift operation

At the head of each of the 4 geographical sectors making up Alpe d’Huez grand domaine ski areas, there is a Decentralised Unit Manager (RUD) assisted by one or more mechanics and electricians. They coordinate operation and perform emergency interventions on the lifts.
The lifts in each sector are operated by drivers, specialised in the lift type (chairlift, cable cars and cableways).
A central technical office based in Alpe d’Huez forms the link between the various sectors. It takes note of any issues concerning the lifts in the various sectors, deals with any technical problems with the lifts and passes on relevant information to the people concerned.

Passes are checked by  the  ”Hands Free” system. This automatic system is supported by staff who can offer their advice to users of the main lifts, and a team of inspectors, responsible for spot checks and informing users in the event of an incident on a lift.

Lift maintenance

Under the responsibility of a technical director, the RUD and his teams maintain and service the lifts immediately after the winter season ends, with support from a team of electricians.

Certain major operations are carried out by sub-contractors.

Various other departments also contribute to maintaining the lifts, including:
· The servicing workshops for the clamps and poles of speed-controlled lifts.
· The warehouse (for the management of spare part supplies).

Slope safety and maintenance

Safety and rescue professionals

Each of the 4 geographical sectors is placed under the responsibility of a supervisor who heads a team of ski patrollers who are all qualified first-aiders (downhill or cross country ski areas).
Some ski patrollers also have specialist skills (explosives, meteorological observer, avalanche dog handler, etc.).
The scope of their mission is broad and includes welcoming and advising users, marking the runs, ensuring the safety and reliability of the ski area.

Regulation professionals 

This department is part of the Alpe d’Huez slope services: regulation, telephone reception, ambulance service and secretarial services.
They receive all the messages from the slopes and surrounding areas and are responsible for passing them on to the relevant people (slope openers, rescue teams, etc.).
They are also responsible for checking and entering data from the rescue datasheets.

Slope grooming professionals

These are the drivers of the caterpillar-tracked grooming machines. Supervised by a manager and team leaders, they groom, mill, shift and spread out the snow using modern, efficient grooming machines.
This work is carried out once the tourists have left the slopes and the team’s working schedules are different from SATA’s other departments: most of the work is done at night.
SATA is a company that works round the clock. The machines are maintained in our workshop and a maintenance team is on standby, ready to intervene at any time.

Snow production professionals

Six employees are in charge of  producing snow during the winter season, and servicing the facilities the rest of the year. As for the grooming professionals, working hours are different, and much is done at night.

Sales department and sales desks

The sales department is in charge of selling SATA products for all 3 resorts.

More than 31 cashiers work the 7 sales desks dotted around the mountain area, supervised by a team leader. The Sales Director manages the department.

General services

This department is responsible for maintaining buildings and outdoor areas, employing a wide variety of professionals: joiners, builders, painters, maintenance technicians, etc. This department also manages the work clothes and equipment for the rest of the company’s employees.

A vehicle maintenance workshop completes the facility.

Administrative services

Administration and accounting

The people working in this department take care of payroll, accounting management, secretarial services, promotion, etc.


The IT team comprises a manager and his assistant. Together, they manage the numerous and complex IT systems, ensuring maintenance and repair as well as the implementation of various software packages.

 Quality and safety

The Quality and Safety team writes, implements and monitors the work and organisation procedures to fulfil the various quality criteria and to ensure staff safety. They are also responsible for the continuous improvement actions associated with the quality system.

The ANIM’ALP association

This association manages night skiing, the snow park and all the fun events on the skiable domain. In summer, it manages the 250km of MTB tracks in Alpe dHuez grand domaine.

It also organises slope entertainment for seminars.


Heavy investments

We invest heavily to improve user comfort, reduce or eliminate waiting times and boost safety – here are just a few examples:

  • A ski lift  with an altitude drop of 200m and a flow of 900 skiers/hour costs about the same as 40 small cars, about €300,000.
  • A fixed speed chairlift with an altitude drop of 300m and a flow of 1,500 skiers/hour costs €1.5 million.
  • A gondola lift with an altitude drop of 500m and a flow of 1,800 skiers/hour costs €6 million.
  • Some of the larger facilities (cable cars, funicular railways) cost the equivalent of an “Airbus A 319″ plane or a high speed train (i.e. more than €15 million).
  • A large caterpillar-tracked grooming machine costs more than €200,000.
  • An average sized snow production facility can cost as much as a gondola lift.