A clear development strategy
Téléverbier SA has established a 15-year master plan for the ski area, which covers the expected development of the lifts, slopes and snow-making facilities. This plan has been validated following a number of studies.
Once it had been accepted by the 4 communes concerned by our activities (Bagnes, Riddes, Saxon and Orsières), it was modified to anticipate any likely opposition from environmental organisations. Based on our development strategy, it covers all our major projects for the next 15 years and was approved by the governing body in Valais (Conseil d’Etat) in 2013.
Modernization of the lifts
The modernization of the lifts, which started in 2004/2005, is part of the strategy devised by the board of directors and implemented according to our business plan. It includes the following key points:
- Strategic importance: depending on their strategic importance, lifts will either be renovated or the concession agreement will be prolonged.
- Sustainable development must be central to all plans.
- There must be solid key lines to transport skiers to the top of the slopes, via a maximum of two lifts.
- The connections (slopes and lifts) between the ski resorts must be efficient. The remaining priority is the connection between Verbier and Savoleyres-La Tzoumaz.
- An optimal distribution of skiers in the area is crucial for their safety and enjoyment.
- Any lifts which don’t meet the predefined occupancy rates must either be removed or replaced, or their capacity must be increased.
- Climate change must be one of the key considerations in development plans.
- The lifts need to be modern, in order to maintain the brand identity on which Verbiers’ reputation is built.
- Priority must be given to the most profitable lifts.
15-year master plan
Upgrading of the Le Châble–Verbier cable car
After 20 years and almost 60,000 hours in operation, the four-seater cable car connecting Le Châble and Verbier requires substantial renovations to be able to handle its next few years of service. This lift has proven highly popular, especially since it became part of the public transport network.
Here is a quick, non-exhaustive summary of the planned renovations:
- Replacement of the carrier/traction cable
- Replacement of the main motor
- Replacement of the electrical drive system
- Upgrade of mechanics
- Complete service of the line’s rollers
Almost two months of intense work are required to complete these renovations.
Developments in Bruson
Important investments have been planned for 2022 in the Bruson sector, which will greatly improve the quality of the services there. The fixed-clamp La Pasay chairlift, built in 1990, will be replaced by a 6-seater detachable chairlift, thus reducing the time spent on the lift from 11 to less than 5 minutes. As for the La Pasay restaurant, it will undergo a complete transformation.
In addition to this, a new chairlift should be built in Bruson in 2024. Approved in accordance with the Téléverbier ski area (zone) plan, this new lift will link the bottom of the Pissevache slope to the Col du Chargerat. This will expand the Bruson sector and allow skiers to spread out over two main areas.
The project to connect Les Ruinettes and Savoleyres was launched back in 2012 but met with opposition and is still subject to appeals. It comprises a Télémix system, a middle station at Les Planards which will transport customers to a new beginners’ zone, as well as the removal of the old Savoleyres cable car.
We are convinced that this is the best solution for connecting the two sectors and remain hopeful of a positive outcome of the current legal proceedings.
Replacement of the Médran1 cable car
In use since 1984, the 6-seater lift between Les Ruinettes and Verbier needs to be replaced. The capacity and technology of the current cable car no longer correspond to the needs of Téléverbiers’ customers.
During summer 2021, a new 10-seater cable car will be built by Garaventa. It will have twice the capacity of the former cable car. The Médran and Les Ruinettes stations will be given an important make-over and escalators will be added to improve circulation and customer satisfaction. These should be operational by December 2021.
Renewal of the snow-making network
In 1994, the first artificial snow-making system in Verbier was built between the Lac des Vaux and Les Ruinettes. As this line is the backbone of the ski area, it is essential that it is equipped with the latest snow-making technology.
Renovation work on the Lac des Vaux water pumping station and the pipelines will take place during summer 2021. This project, which will be carried out by TechnoAlpin, will help guarantee better snow coverage at the beginning of the winter season.