Work begins on Andermatt lift

14th July 2015, by Abi Butcher

Andermatt ambassador and former Olympic skier Bernhard Russi opening the work

Andermatt ambassador and former Olympic skier Bernhard Russi opening the work

Work has finally begun on the lifts in Andermatt in the Swiss Alps. The ground-breaking for the new chair on Gemsstock is being hailed as the very start of the project to link with nearby Sedrun — despite the fact that this lift is firmly Andermatt.

We first reported back in 2007 that Andermatt had plans for a luxury new development. In 2013, we visited the sleepy resort to look at the new Chedi Andermatt (as work in progress) and hear and see first-hand how the link between Andermatt and Sedrun would be constructed.

On Friday, 10 July, construction on the first lift, a six-man covered chair on the Gemsstock, finally began after a long and very complex process. The final approval for the Gurschen-Gurschengrat six-man chair was issued on 8 July by the Federal Office of Transport, following confirmation on 28 May from the Swiss Federal Administrative Court that no objection to the construction permit of 28 May 2015 by the Federal Office of Transport (FOT).

The six-man covered chair is just over 900m in length and will cost nearly CHF7 million (about £4.7m) to build and will be open this coming ski season. It will carry 1,590 people per hour and will replace the two older lifts at Gurschenalp, a two-seat chair and a T-bar.

The ski area expansion is part of a CHF1.8 billion development project by Egyptian property tycoon Samih Sawiris that will transform Andermatt, creating around 37km of new pistes, 490 apartments, 25 luxury chalets, six hotels and an 18-hole golf course. The overall project to merge the Andermatt and Sedrun ski areas includes the construction of a total of 14 lifts, 10 in the first stage (four new lifts, five replacements and one conversion) and four in the second stage (three new and one replacement) starting 2019/2020. Snowmaking systems, slopes and restaurants will be expanded at the same time.

Provided no objection to the other granted permits is received, new snowmaking for the Gurschen-Andermatt valley run and snowmaking systems in the Tiarms-Calmut area and at Oberalp Pass should be in place for winter season 2015/16. In addition, the Alpsu ski lift at Oberalp Pass will be replaced by a six-man covered chairlift on the Calmut.

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