Verbier upgrades Médran gondola

4th May 2021, by Abi Butcher

The new Médran 1 gondola will transport twice as many skiers as its predecessor

The new Médran 1 gondola will transport twice as many skiers as its predecessor

Having successfully completed a winter operating under the cloak of coronavirus, Verbier is forging ahead with improvement projects over the summer, pressing ahead with new lift plans and infrastructure upgrades.

Whereas ski areas in France, Austria and Italy are quoting losses of billions after being forced to close to all but locals over the winter of 2020-21, turnover in the Swiss resort of Verbier was down by just 13 per cent following the coronavirus winter, a profit of CHF 1.5 million. There was a 20 per cent drop in skier days, reported Téléverbier, the lift company for the popular ski resort — but investment in making Verbier Covid-compliant took a toll on profits.

Despite, Téléverbier is going ahead with planned improvements. This includes the replacement of the Médran I gondola which links Verbier to Les Ruinettes, which will be replaced with a new 10-seat gondola that will double its capacity and “flow”, helping to ease the huge queues that can build at Médran at busy periods. The previous lift was built in 1984 and has become outdated. Escalators will also be installed at the base to remove the need for people to walk up the stairs.

The water-pumping station that feeds the artificial snowmaking system between Lac des Vaux and Les Ruinettes, the core of Verbier’s slopes, is also being upgraded this summer to enable to resort to guarantee skiing from early December with better snow cover early on.

Téléverbier is also pressing on with obtaining permission to upgrade the Pasay chairlift in Bruson, built in 1990, to a six-man detachable chair that will half the journey time from 11 minutes to six. The restaurant at La Pasay will also be transformed. Also in Bruson, new territory will be developed permitting the connection between La Pissevach and the col du Chargerat, and the creation of Le Chargerat lift. Both of these are planned for 2022.

The long-discussed “télémix” (chairlift and gondola) connection between Les Ruinettes and Savoleyres, with a mid-station in Les Planards, is still under appeal and Téléverbier says “we remain hopeful that the judicial issues can be smoothed out”.

To read Where to Ski & Snowboard‘s independent review of Verbier, click here.

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