Plan for world’s largest ski area between France and Italy

The mayors of Briançon and Montgenèvre have proposed building a lift between Serre Chevalier with the Milky Way in Italy to create the largest linked ski domain in the world. The Milky Way offers 400 km of piste, 140 ski slopes, 93 lifts and 1 board park and is linked to the French ski area of Montgenèvre via Sestrières. Serre Chevalier would add another 250km of runs spread over the ski areas of Briançon, Chantemerle, Villeneuve la Salle and le Monetier les Bains.

The plan would be to build a lift from Briançon to Montgenèvre. Local politicians are hoping that funding will be found if the Hautes-Alpes wins the right to stage the 2018 Winter Olympics. Guy Hermitte, mayor of Montgenèvre also has lofty ambitions. This winter the area added a further 10km of slopes served by two Télémix (mixed gondola/chair) ski lifts. He wants to extend the ski area to the summit of the 3100 meter Mont Chaberton. Something that will meet fierce resistance from environmental groups and back-country enthusiasts. Hermitte says he will back Alain Bayrou’s (mayor of Briançon) idea provided that planning permission is granted for new apartments. The resort has just opened the luxury le Hameau de l’Obélisque, an ski-in/out area of three star apartments, hotels and a spa complex.

Some commentators are sceptical about the plans. They claim that it is an old dream and a delusion of grandeur by local politicians. They point out that Briançon has serious financial problems which are in part due to a misconceived project to link the Prorel ski domain with Puy Saint Andre. The slopes were south facing and lacked snow. The 4 million euros ski lift was removed and sold to les Deux Alpes for a fraction of the cost of the investment.

However looking at the map this new linkup has some merit. Just 4km separates Briancon from the ski lifts under the summit of Chateau Jouan. The slopes on the Briancon side are north-west facing and an old military road could provide a return on skis to the town although the idea seems to be to install a gondola type link much like at Orelle in the Maurienne with skiers returning by lift.

Further Information

Posted by davidof on Wednesday, 28 January, 2009 at 05:06 PM

How do we define the “largest” interconnect in the world? Is it total acreage covered by the lift, total length of pistes in km or miles, total number of lifts interconnected, etc.?
What I mean by that question is how will that new interconnect stack-up against Les 3 Vallees, Le Portes du Soleil, Ski Dolomiti, L’espace Killy, etc?
This would be an interesting discussion…

Posted by  on  Tuesday, 03 February, 2009  at 03:47 PM
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