Meet the slope master

Frank Keller
'' Franck Keller - Réallon piste manager
Réallon slope manager ©Franck Keller

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Franck Keller and I'm head of pistes at the Réallon ski resort. I'm also assistant operations manager during the winter season. My career path is somewhat linked to my current activity. In fact, I'm passionate about aeronautics, and more specifically mountain helicopter rescue, which led me to study to become a helicopter mechanic. I didn't stay in this field, however, because to acquire this knowledge, the training had to be done in the city, and I wanted to live in the mountains.

  • first-aid skier ©Franck Keller


    When I arrived in Réallon some twenty years ago, first as an operating agent on a "télécorde" (low-cable ski lift), I quickly took the first-aid ski patrolman exam and was hired as such the following year. This was followed by specializations as an artificer, avalanche dog handler and second-degree ski patrolman. My career as an avalanche dog handler with my partner Faky was excellent for over 10 years. And over the years, I've been entrusted with the position of piste manager, as well as that of deputy operations manager, in collaboration with the technical manager and the operations manager.

Alpine and Nordic trail maintenance Réallon

Tell us about your business?

My main role at Réallon is to ensure the safety and smooth running of both the slopes (Alpine and Nordic) and the lifts. We work with a number of different departments, and we have to link them all up so that we can offer safe, groomed runs. From the smooth running of the ski lifts, to the production of artificial snow, avalanche control and grooming, the provision of equipment and slopes for the entertainment department, exchanges of information on conditions with the ticket office, not forgetting rescue management.

  • Réallon ski resort ©Franck Keller

    Why did you choose Réallon as the location for your business?


    I ended up in Embrun at the age of 15, and had friends on the Puys side as well as in Réallon. Réallon and its human-scale atmosphere made me love the resort, which in turn made me want to get involved.

to maintain and secure the Réallon estate ©Franck Keller


What do you love most about your job?

My passions in this profession have varied over the years and the positions I've held. But one of my guiding principles is that the customer should be happy and satisfied when skiing in our area. Despite all the difficulties we encounter in maintaining and securing the ski area, these must not be perceptible, not even to our customers, who come to ski in safety and create great memories.

safety on the Réallon ski area ©Franck Keller

Ski area safety?


We have a number of important roles to play in ensuring the safety of the ski area:
-Grooming has an important effect on slope safety, with our drivers hiding or breaking ice patches, reloading with snow where there are shortcomings, and smoothing out the various terrain movements created by skiers' passage.
Avalanche triggering is also a major activity during snowfalls. We pre-emptively trigger avalanches on the dominant slopes of the ski runs. Please note that off-piste skiing is not safe, and is the responsibility of the individual skier.
- Signs and markings are also important. To ensure skiers' safety, protective mats are placed at specific points. Signs and markings on the slopes are also important, and the RALENTIR banners are there to warn you of any danger downstream. At every piste junction, look out for other skiers to avoid collisions.
- Anticipation is our watchword, and we must do everything in our power to signal or avert danger.
- Finally, as the person in charge of safety, I must inform you that helmets are a top trend on the slopes right now. We even wear them every day, and thanks to helmets, we don't buy hats anymore!

Réallon ski area ©Franck Keller
  • Fabien Thibault (20)

    What are the ingredients for a good snow?

    So, for artificial snow (snow cannons), take a little water sprayed in micro-droplets, compressed air and cold, and you've got the magic recipe for good artificial snow. As for the snow that comes from the sky, there's no need for human mechanization: the alchemy occurs naturally between the cohesion of a freezing core of water and cold. The disturbances that best feed Réallon are westerly flows. Personally, I love the beautiful snow that falls in flakes, with its magnificent, highly recognizable dendrites.

  • Ripaaa Race

    Your advice for an unforgettable vacation in Réallon

    La Ripaaa ! This word means "to slide" in local dialect. This product consists of a toboggan run from the top of the resort to the snow front on a natural slope dedicated to this activity, 4km and 600 vertical drops, guaranteed fun. See terms and conditions (Réallon-ski.com). Auriga and Saturne to Aigue noire, a combination of beautiful blue runs ideal for families. I also love the Gourniers Nordic ski area, wild and relaxed! What's more, you can get in touch with our entertainment department, which always has a few surprises in store for you, not to mention all the service providers working in the resort, all of whom are available at the Tourist Office. There really is something for everyone!