Finding success in the global marketplace can be a lot like climbing a mountain. So perhaps it’s appropriate that Montagne et Neige (MND Group) is based in the French Alps with its main headquarters in Sainte-Hélène du Lac, since it has scaled the highs of business excellence.
The company also has two other production sites, five international distribution subsidiaries and 28 distributors worldwide. The publicly traded company employs 335 people, has approximately 3,000 customers and is led by CEO and founder Xavier Gallot Lavelle.
Founded more than 20 years ago, MND Group is a world-class skiing facility company that currently serves customers in 49 countries including Canada and the United States. The company provides assistance in every aspect of developing and supporting mountain sites. Whether its mobility, snowmaking, security or moving skiers and visitors, MND Group pretty much has it all covered. The company’s goal is to ensure people have safe, efficient and unique experiences on the mountains.
“MND has been contributing to safety, leisure and mobility for all by offering our clients proven and sustainable solutions based on our experience in the development of mountain sites,” said Martin Francou, business development director with MND Group. “MND has built up a global offer of renowned flagship products that are pioneers in their fields, from snow guns, gas avalanche trigger systems, fixed or detachable gripped lifts, to via ferrata and zip lines.”
Francou says that MND Group originally started in the safety business, but after making a name for themselves in that industry, they branched out and added snowmaking solutions, cable transport solutions and high-adrenaline leisure activities to its services. MND Group currently has four major business lines: Cable Transport Infrastructure (LST), Snow Cover Systems (SUFAG), Security Processes (MBS and TAS) and Leisure Activities (TECHFUN).
“From our recognized experience in the development of mountain sites, we can offer safety, leisure and mobility solutions to our clients whatever their stakes, territory – in the mountains as well as in cities – and customers. In each of our business lines, we design, manufacture, install and maintain systems on a product range from RACS (Remote Avalanche Control System) and dedicated terrain monitoring, snowmaking systems, to leisure facilities and ropeways infrastructures,” said Francou.
LST provides skier transportation at mountain resorts. MND Group provides conveyer belts, ski lifts, chairlifts and gondolas. The company’s most well-known products in this line are the cabins and seats, which are designed by Porsche Design Studio.
MND Group not only ensures people are transported in luxury, but the products include detachable grips which save money for maintenance and the products have fixed-grip technology. Recently, LST and Bartholet, a ropeway manufacturing company from Switzerland, partnered to offer customers a complete technological range of products, local services and more industrial capacity. North America cable projects are managed by MND Group, which offers fixed or detachable installations.
SUFAG provides resorts with all the snow they need. Since the creation of the first fan gun for snowmaking –first invented by Fritz Jacob for Linde AG in 1963, the technology was acquired by SUFAG in 1983 – MND Group has developed 14 more snowmaking products.
MBS secures and develops ski areas, sport venues and recreational areas. TAS works in avalanche risk management and is a world leader in this service. MND Group uses fixed, mobile or removable avalanche control systems such as Gasex, daisyBell, and O’bellX.
TECHFUN includes tubing, ziplines, adventure tours, four-season alpine coasters, footbridges, observation points, adventure parks and much more. In 1993, MND Group began producing products for via ferrata in France, which ensure climbers have a protected climbing route on these popular leisure installations.
Francou says there are other products and services that complement these lines. MND Group provides a mountain supplies line that includes safety equipment for professionals or amateurs. It also offers specific equipment for competitions, leisure and ski schools. MND Group also creates products for trail-marking and it imports bamboo to make poles for marking ski runs.
The company recently changed to manufacturing their own poles from extruded polycarbonate because they noticed a decrease in bamboo availability due to climate change, Francou says. Although bamboo is known for being eco-friendly, MND Group is pleased that their carbon footprint is lower than the imported bamboo that had to be transported to France by boat.
North American market
MND Group’s success has allowed the company to build strong relationships around the world which has opened doors to many tourist destinations.
“North America is a high priority international market for the MND Group,” said Francou. “Our solutions are adapted for this market and we are developing a local structure allowing us to accompany our customers in the long run in this area.”
Due to the company’s rapid expansion and growth, Francou says the company strengthened its financial structure in 2019, and committed to a new strategic plan entitled Succeed Together 2024, which focuses on operational excellence, customer experience and sustainability.
“This translates into the reinforcement of the industrial organization, the deployment of resources as close as possible to the customers – as it is the case in the strategic development area of North America – to support projects locally and offer our latest strategic innovations to the markets,” said Francou.
Looking to the future, Francou says MND Group wants to keep improving and investing in its four business lines. The company is conducting new research and development so it can design new and better products to meet the needs of emerging clients.
“MND Group will always stand behind their pledge – supplying and installing equipment and services that are good in quality, performance and long-lasting. Even in areas where geography and weather conditions are extreme. Meeting these needs will ensure MND Group continues to improve infrastructure and operating conditions, and most importantly, maintain a real partnership with their clients.”