THE LARCH FOREST
The larch, the tree of lightRisoul is a resort full of light. The larch has got it right, as it needs bright light to thrive. Here the sunshine helps 900 000 of these southern trees to grow and brightens up the whole of the Guil valley with a unique sparkle. It shines on the skiers glimmering on the slopes and after the ski area has closed keeps on lighting up the bottom of the slopes and the basking holidaymakers.
The larch likes having its roots in a cool place and its head in the sun and is particularly at home in Risoul, a mountain community located from 900m up to a height of 2750 m . The larch is the only European conifer to lose its needles in winter, after the red hues of the autumn. In spring the young shoots clothe the larch in a tender green and the cycle starts all over again with the forest changing colour each season.
Larch is an essential feature of life in Risoul. The locals still use it as timber for building as you can see on the facades of chalets and small buildings in the resort.
Concerned with preserving this wealth from the forest for which it is famous, Risoul in partnership with the l’Office Nationale des Forêt (Forestry commission) has been striving to maintain and protect it since the construction of the ski resort.
The Guillestrois larch, especially that from Risoul, is renowned for its rotproof qualities. That is why the Venetians used it widely in the 6th century to construct their now famous city. Today the Guillestrois larch is used exclusively for local construction.