A fine crop of resort news for 2019

24th May 2018, by Chris Gill

Chilly cabin-top rides are coming to the Grande Motte at Tignes (and to Wengen)

Chilly cabin-top rides are coming to the Grande Motte at Tignes (and to Wengen)

Apart from this summer’s Big News – the expansion of the lift and piste network of La Rosière (France) on to a virgin mountainside, explained in this news item – there are lots of major developments elsewhere.

Bear in mind that lift company plans are notoriously changeable, not least because weather can interfere. So can environmental matters – ask Livigno, which thought it had permission to build a new chair-lift on the back of Mottolino, only to have it put on hold after construction had started.

Other news from France

At Argentière near Chamonix the slow Tabé chair-lift serving the blue slopes at mid-mountain is to be replaced by a super-fast six-pack. Up the valley at Le Tour, the access gondola is to be upgraded to a 10-seater.

In Les Arcs, the ancient slow Comborcière chair is to be replaced by a fast quad. Over at La Plagne, the Inversens slow quad chair-lift is being replaced by a new 6-seat detachable chair-lift.

In the 3 Vallées, La Tania is to get a new six-pack from the village, linking with the Bouc Blanc chair and relieving pressure on the village gondola. Over in Méribel, new six-packs will replace the old lifts to Cherferie, creating a third quick route to St-Martin.

At Tignes, the long process of renovation of the cable-car on the Grande Motte glacier will be completed by installation new cabins with open-air platforms on top – which means it won’t be operating this summer. Over in Val, the dear old 4-seat gondola out of la Daille is to be replaced by a super-fast 10-seat gondola.

News from Austrian resorts

The top station of Hochgurgl’s Kirchenkarbahn, soon to be demoted to mid-station status

A couple of developments In Austria are opening up new slopes, too.

A 10-seat gondola is being built up to Mayrhofen’s Penken slopes from the hamlet of Mösl, several km up a side-valley to the north of the mountain. It makes little sense as an alternative access lift, so it is presumably going to serve some skiing on what is a quite steep and shady mountainside.

At Hochgurgl, the slopes on skier’s right of the area are to be extended upwards by the construction of the 1km-long second stage of the Kirchenkar gondola. Down at Obergurgl, the Festkogl gondola at the entrance to the village is to be replaced by a 10-seat gondola. While further down the Ötztal, the quality of life in the elevated satellite village of Hochsölden should be improved this year when the Rotkogl double chair lift (which runs from a point below the village to a point above it) is replaced by a 10 seat gondola.

In Lech, a new six-seat detachable chair-lift is to be built from Oberlech to Grubenalp, giving access to the Rotschrofen chair-lift. This double chair-lift is also slated for replacement by a six-pack, but the timing is less clear. Two other antique double chairs in the area are also due for replacement – amazingly, by 8-seat gondolas: the Schlosskopf at the far end of Lech village, and the Zugerberg out of Zug.

The bottom stage of the gondola into the slopes of Zell am See at Viehofen in the next-door Saalbach valley is planned for completion this year, making it possible for Saalbach-based skiers to ski Zell. You’ll still need a short bus-ride to the Saalbach lifts on the way back.

The long-standing queue problem at the valley lift station in Bad Hofgastein should be sorted out this year – the Schlossalmbahn funicular and cable-car are to be replaced by a 10-seat gondola.

News from Swiss resorts

The link between Andermatt and Sedrun is being completed, at last

The link between famously snowy Andermatt and Sedrun to the east should be completed this year with construction of a new 10-seat gondola from Oberalppass, on the fringe of the Sedrun skiing, to Schneehüenerstock, the high-point of Andermatt’s Gütsch sector of slopes. The run down to Oberalppass will become a piste (it operated as an unprepared itinerary last season).

Across the mountain from Crans-Montana, the satellite village of Aminona, which lost its gondola link into the skiing in 2014, is to be restored to ski resort status with a new 2km gondola which may be built this year.

At Zermatt, the huge 4km 3-cable gondola (with 28-seat cabins) being built from Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn, under construction since 2016, is expected to be completed. It will to operate in parallel with the existing cable-car.

In the Jungfrau area, Wengen is replacing the Männlichen cable car cabins, and the new ones will have open-air platforms on the top that you can stand on when weather permits. On the other side of Männlichen, replacement of the ancient and unbearably slow gondola from Grindelwald has been repeatedly delayed; it will still be in service next winter, but a replacement travelling at almost twice the speed will be built in 2019.

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