Chamonix confirms new Montenvers gondola

1st June 2021, by Abi Butcher

The Montenvers glacier is shrinking so rapidly Chamonix is moving the gondola

The Montenvers glacier is shrinking so rapidly Chamonix is moving the gondola

The French ski resorts of Chamonix has been forced to reconfigure its world-famous Montenvers-Mer de Glace site as a result of global warming and last week confirmed a huge spend to make skiing the Vallée Blanche much easier.

The €27 million redevelopment at Montenvers will involve the replacement of the existing gondola to make the iconic Vallée Blanche easier to ski, by eliminating the climb out at the end. When opened, the new ski lift will be located “at least” 700m upstream on the glacier, where the ice is deeper. Last year Chamonix said the move would be around 600m — but the glacier is shrinking all the time. Thirty years ago the climb out at the end of the Vallée Blanche involved only three steps, now it is more than 600.

As well as the new gondola, an international glacier and climate interpretation centre will be built: “To help the general public and schools to understand the phenomena linked to global warming”.

Exactly when work will start has not yet been confirmed, but elsewhere in Chamonix, work has begun on the Le Tour-Charamillon gondola which is expected to open in time for the 2022-23 ski season. Site access is being created at the base in Le Tour and top station, while the current gondola continues to operate normally for the next year. The bottom station in the village of Le Tour, 11km from Chamonix town, will be demolished and new lift installation will begin in spring 2022, a year from now.

When the plans were first announced in 2017, there was a public outcry among residents in Le Tour, concerned about safety, noise and visual pollution. As a result, the arrival station will be sited 110m above the existing station and only 10 pylons will be used instead of the current 12.

The new ten-seater gondola will double the flow of people, reaching around 2,000-2,200 skiers per hour, up from 1,000-1,100 people per hour on the current six-person gondola.

To read Where to Ski & Snowboard’s independent review of Chamonix click here

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