According to an article in 20 Minutes the resorts of les Diablerets and Château-d’Œx will propose a 160 million CHF project to link up their ski areas. Traditionally Swiss ski areas have been linked by bus services rather than the French model of high altitude lifts.
However the Isenau ift may dissapear. A group “Save the Isenau” has already collected 2400 signatures against the removal of this lift which serves an area of chalets. A new lift will link les Diablerets village with Glacier 3000. Campaign group Mountain Wilderness says that some of the proposed lifts will run through wilderness areas or avalanche zones.
I wouldn’t hold your breath. People were warning the G3000 project was risky with problems from severe weather and that’s been the pattern over the last few years with the area going bust back in 2005. It’s not managed many open days this season and there were serious technical problems after the last storm leaving it closed for weeks. A bunch of local ski instructors doing their revalidation were trapped up there before Christmas. If it was my pocket money I’d not be spending it build a lift linking it to the village.
The Isenau area is quite nice but the lift is too old and the license won’t be renewed after this winter. Even if it does get replaced it’s got some issues, most notably that there’s only draglifts up there and tourists don’t like them. It’s not well sited either, there’s a distance between the Isenau lift and the Mazots lift linking to the Villars area. Replacing that lift would commit them to refreshing the drags as well so it would get pricey.
As for linking to Château-d’Œx, that’s a long way away. The direct lines are over Chatillon and Pic Chaussy and I can’t see there being any alpine skiing on the north slopes, the avalanche control problems would rule that out I think and present some problems with building the lift although that’s probably not insurmountable. But it remans a long, long way.
You might bridge Diablerets to Les Mosses then onto Lecherette and then Monts-Chevreuils or Lecherette via Etivaz to the Braye sector at Château-d’Œx but the Monts-Chevreuils lift shut 10 years ago although it’s still there as did the Pic Chaussy one with the top station finally being dynamited a couple of years ago.
What you’d find once you’d stepped of the new lift at Château-d’Œx is a bit questionable as well, the lift company have produced another plan (according to the press) where they’re abandoning skiing in the Braye sector to reopen Monts-Chevreuils.
They seem to have spent at least four years discussing this with vague commitments to marketing the region but there’s no concrete sign on the ground that is happening. They might have done that for a few francs and a bit of planning before planning to spend a few hundred million they’ve not got.
With all this talk of linking resorts (see post on Les Contamines - St Gervais) I can’t help thinking lift companies would be better spending their money on up grading existing lifts rather than spreading environmental damage far and wide. In particular the Les Contamines proposal seems to cause major damage to what is a spectacular ridge walk. The ski areas concerned are already large and rather than advertising huge piste milages, I’d be much more interested in fast, comfortable, efficient (in Austria they heat the chair lift seats too) lifts for piste skiing days.
I can’t help but think that there’s more to alpine tourism than ski lifts whether that’s summer or winer. Very few of our guests use the lifts and I don’t use lifts when I’m with clients; buses, trains and the odd taxi are all better value than a lift. Last week we used a free resort bus and the post bus for 7.- chf. The postbus being a case in point as it was to get back from Les Moulins which is the old base station of Monts-Chevreuils.
I’m not saying we should get rid of lifts wholesale but I’ll be using the Isenau area much more next winter if there are no operating lifts there. I could live without ski lifts in the Col des Mosses as well, the skiing is OK but the nordic, snowshoeing & ski touring are all excellent & much better.
One of their schemes is to link Leysin with Villars which looks practical but I’m not quite sure we’d do any more business as a result whereas I can see any number of ways of spending 160 million francs that would give us more business.
I wonder about the cost, the distances are huge. From Les Diablerets to Château-d’Œx is about 14km in a straight line or 11km from the Col du Pillon base to the top of the Braye sector. Leysin-Villars looks better, it’s about 4km with a rise of about 700m although there’s a 600m drop in the middle but, by way of context, that’s double the distance and drop of the Vanoise Express.
Unfortunatly Alpine tourism is “ski lifts” I wouldn’t want to guess the percentage of people who visit the Alps in the winter as tourists and don’t use ski lifts, but I would be very surprised if it was more than 1 percent.
Agree with the comments above that improving the current lifts rather than builidng new lifts makes much more sense.
It might be 1% in a French mega resort or 1% of English visitors to the alpes but for Swiss or French visitors you’d be way, way off. I can say that over 90% of our guests and clients don’t use lifts either summer or winter. Even in the winter the small number using the lift aren’t all skiing.
Which underlines the choice being faced with these projects, they can spend 200 million francs trying to compete with Verbier or Val d’Isere and, I think, ultimately failing as there’s not the altitude, Or, they can develop resources to be used all year round.
The reason we’re based in Leysin and not any number of big name ski stations is that with the possible exception of Zermatt we do business 12 months a year and there’s only about 20% difference between our busiest months (October & January) and the quietest. So, if you had a business in in the Vaudoise area what would you chose? 2 months of some extra skiers or supporting your 12 months of business? If you rely on skiers you’re looking at a few busy weeks around Christmas, most of Feb and maybe Easter if it’s early enough or it’s a high altitude station.
And there’s nothing odd about our businesses, I can go to the supermarket in the village, go to the bank or chose between half a dozen different cuisines between restaurants any week of the year. That wouldn’t work in Les Arcs or Avoriaz
Yes, that raises another point I was going to make. Part of the reason that people here aren’t using the ski lifts for non-ski activities is cost. That’s probably got three main drivers, first, randonneurs are fairly conservative and a fairly sizeable proportion won’t pay on principle. Second, the exchange rate means people are looking for expenses they can avoid. And third, they’re too expensive even for Swiss.
If 200 million is spent on new lifts that’s going on lift pass prices in the end. I’ve just come from Glacier 3000 where there were loads of Japanese as usual but a summer hiker would pay 78 chf for a trip up there, there’s a trek we do up there which is actually really great but it’s too expensive for people by the time they’ve paid me to add another 78 chf. That’s a clear signal about what would happen with a new lift or two, my clients would be priced off it and I’d elect to do routes using the postbus or a taxi.
From my point of view, it’s an easy sell to start in a layby in the middle of nowhere, finishing in a remote village, finding a cake shop and getting the bus or taxi, I can do it cheaper than the lift and market the fact we’re off the beaten track. Nothing says “on the beaten track” like a ski lift.
50%? Sounds about right, is that overall or just French? It’s an average, it’ll be lower in places like Avoriaz and much higher elsewhere. We had some French here this week, CAF members, doing the GR5 in the summer, own raquettes, daughter doing the PDG, that’s our standard guest really.
interesting, I got a note about that meeting and didn’t realise that was quite the agenda, I assumed the Isenau issue would come up.
The “Vision Alpes vaudoises 2020” is proposing, or considering at the least, new lifts and links though, it’s in the presentations the canton gave. I doubt it’ll get off the ground.
If the region wants more tourists the tourists offices need to do more about it, it’s easy for them right now, the money just rolls in and they don’t need to do much. They won’t do much without money changing hands and we can pay other marketing channels who present detailed breakdowns of what they’re doing. I can’t really justify the time and expense involved in doing deals with every tourist office in the region so we have to use other channels.
And what region are we in? The Region du Leman think we’re part of that
By region do you ski-lift company region ?
I know one of the old lift companies was called Region du Leman.
Problem is, the money isn’t rolling in anymore.
There has been a shake-up of the tourist office in Les Diablerets, with the old staff being fired. Not surprising, they didn’t do much and had a pretty poor ‘customer skills’.
On a national basis, I know CH has diverted advertising $ from the UK to Asia. Seen a handful of Chinese (I assume) folks wondering round.
Isenau basically makes no profit, covers it costs, but nothing left for investment.
There’s quite a few rumours flying around about what’s been going on in the background. I’ve heard the chap who owns the lift company has got pretty annoyed with the Commune for blocking all the other development ideas that have been put forward in the last few years.
Even heard an idea to get the Isenau lift classified as a heritage site, which would give it protected status (same as the steamers down on the Lake)
I’d heard there was a little excitement at the Diablerets TO In summer they carried our material and in the winter they refuse without paying them. I thought they’re promoting the area with the money they’re already being paid. I can give Google 200 chf and they’ll let me pick the keywords, where they appear and tell me in detail who clicked on them. If I ask any of the local TO where they are promoting us, who sees our material, where promotions for the area appear, what trade shows they attend and what they’re doing apart from being the office they can’t tell me.
We see this from other side as well, we’ve the B&B and generate a lot of tourist tax revenue part of which funds the TO, from that standpoint I think they should communicate to potential guests the facilities and services on offer.
I think LD are being particularly silly with the our winter stuff When Isenau closes, as it almost certainly will, they need to major on activities like winter snowshoeing. TO’s in three other places are so keen to promote this not only are they not trying to extract 200 chf from me but they’re paying me to run sessions and open days for their promotion.
I see LD have been assimilated and their website is now the same as everywhere else, broken and circular links included. Great way to stand out We’ve got guys doing the 3D staying here this weekend, try finding the event on the official website
Its hardly like you’d know 3D was going on even walking round LD.
Seen little trailer parked by the bridge to the Commune with a smallish billboard on the back, and a shop window near the Police station - no explanation of what the event was though - daft
Few years back the Post Office held a nordic ski race up at Lake Retaud and round Retaud area - they pisted surprising good route round the area.
Ferried folks up from the Col du Pillon in 4x4 Sprinter minibuses.
Access to the area from the Col du Pillon is excellent - just need better buses (the ski bus is naff - 2hrs lunch break and unreliable)
The official website is a joke - not like its difficult to do websites these days.
«une vraie démolition, dépourvue de toute analyse sur l’ensemble du travail qui a été fait. Surtout que les rapports ne sont pas terminés et que les montants en jeu ne sont pour l’heure pas connus» --- well, quite