New Lifts in Switzerland for 2015/6 Ski Season

The new ski season is only a few weeks away, and a lot has been happening over the summer in many winter sports resorts. Despite the strong Swiss Franc, many Swiss resorts are banking on attracting new winter tourists and retaining their existing customer base through improved and extended lift systems. Market research has suggested that continued investment is the only way for Swiss resorts to compete effectively and retain the premium reputation they hold, and many resorts are embarking on medium-term projects to reduce lift queues and introduce faster lifts.

Here are some of the new lifts you can expect in Switzerland for the 2015-2016 Ski Season:

Adelboden

New high-speed 4-man chairlift Höchstbahn replacing two older lifts to connect Chünisbärgli and Silleren. A new run between the two with snow cannon has also been implemented.

Andermatt
A high-speed 6-man lift at Gurschenalp on Gemsstock replaces two old lifts on the mountain. Lifts to Sedrun planned but not yet in construction and are likely a couple of seasons away.

Engelberg
The two-stage Engelberg-Trubsee-Stand gondola has been replaced with a new Titlis Xpress, cutting the journey time by half.

Flims/Laax
A new 10-person gondola will run from Alp Sogn Martin up to La Siala, extending the runs available in the area.

Lenzerheide
There is a new 8-person gondola, designed by Porsche, at Churwalden-Heidbeul replacing the old chairlift. There is also a new 4-man chair between Parpan and Obertor connecting the Rothorn to Piz Danis, a really useful new link.

Riederalp – Aletsch Arena
A new 6/8 seater hybrid lift has been installed at Moosfluh.

Scuol
There is a brand new 6-seater chair at Prui-Clünas.

St-Luc/Chandolin
One of my favourite resorts, in Val d’Annivers, will have a new high-speed 6-seat chairlift at La Foret.

St Moritz
On Corvatsch there is a new Mandra chairlift replacing that tedious but unavoidable drag at Murtel. A really great addition to this fabulous mountain.

Toggenburg
A new 10-seater gondola is under construction ready for the new season at Stöfeli.

Zermatt
There is a new 6-person chairlift at Hirli in the Schwarzee area replacing the veteran T-bar and extending the length of both the lift and the runs.

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The Cutest Village Ski Resorts

Zermatt
The Daily Telegraph has just identified what it thinks are the 15 cutest village ski resorts, and I have to disagree with their choice. For instance, Zermatt “cute”? Hardly. Car-free, rocking, beautiful, busy… but cute? And hardly a village. In my opinion most of the cutest villages have limited pistes and antiquated lifts – which is maybe how they tend to stay cute.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s my list of villages in Switzerland that are both cute and have access to plenty of the white stuff, in no particular order (click on the links for more info):

Adelboden
Adelboden
Gstaad
Gstaad
Mürren
Muerren
Wengen
Wengen
Andermatt
Andermatt
Stoos
Stoos
Briel (Brigels)
Brigels
Celerina
Celerina
Klosters
Klosters
Lenzerheide
Lenzerheide
Pontresina
Pontresina
Samnaun
Samnaun
Silvaplana
Silvaplana
Les Diablerets
Les Diablerets
Champéry
Champery
Saas-Fee
Saas-Fee
St Luc/Chandolin
St Luc
Grimentz
Grimentz

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Brig

The main ski and snowboard area near Brig is Belalp, although Rothwald and Rosswald each provide about 25km of additional piste. As well as 60km of piste at Belalp, from the Hohstock at 3112m you go through a 160m long tunnel out to a fabulous area for freeriding. The resorts can all be reached quite quickly by bus from the town. In addition a number of the major resorts in Switzerland are within an hour of Brig by public transport.

Ski Area Brig
Resorts Belalp, Blatten b. Naters, Rosswald, Rothwald
Ski Region Valais
Piste (km) 60
Top run (m) 3100
Bottom (m) 1501
Max Drop 1599
Snow’n’Rail Y
Black (km) 20
Red (km) 34
Blue (km) 20
Lifts (#/hr) 9870
My Rating 4
Alpine 3
SnowPark 3
Nordic 5
Hiking 2
Family 4
Apres Ski 4
Free Ride Y
Snow making Y
Fun park Y
Snow park
Half pipes
Spa

In Brief

Brig Station
Brig Station

Brig is an elegant small town at the start of the Simplon pass, high up in the Rhone Valley. The town has excellent rail and bus links to a number of winter sports destinations including the Aletsch Arena (e.g. via Fiesch), Belalp, Goms, Saas-Fee, Andermatt, Lauchernalp and Zermatt. There is also a thermal spa nearby, but it is only open in summer – however the wonderful spas at Leukerbad are only one hour away.

The nearest significant ski area to Brig is Belalp, reached by cable car from the pretty village of Blatten b. Naters. Blatten (not to be confused with another Valais village in the Lötschental of the same name) has regular buses from Brig station that cover the breathtaking 8km journey in less than half an hour.

Belalp is a small jewel of a ski area, with two bowls under the Hohstock (3226m) and Sparrhorn (3020m) providing acres of  relatively safe and accessible off-piste as well as perfectly groomed pistes to suit all abilities. See the separate post on Belalp for more details.

Useful links:
Aletsch Arena,
Belalp,
Brig,
Rosswald.

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Longest Runs

 

Resort Start End Length(km) Drop (m)
Zermatt Klein Matterhorn Zermatt 17 2185
Mürren Schilthorn – Piz Gloria Lauterbrunnen 16 2170
Davos Weissfluhjoch Küblis 14 2014
Gstaad – Saanenland Glacier 3000 Reusch 14 1680
Andermatt Gemsstock Andermatt 14 1519
Wiler (Lötschental) Hockenhorngrat Wiler 13 1692
Saas-Grund Hohsaas Saas-Grund 13 1640
Grindelwald Lauberhorn Grindelwald 13 1370
Evolène Le Mont Rouge Lannaz 13 1273
Engelberg Klein Titlis Engelberg 12 2028
Naters (Belalp Blatten) Hohstock Blatten 12 1790
Fiesch Eggishorn Dorf Lax 12 1770
Flims Laax Falera La Siala Flims 12 1710
Disentis Péz Ault Disentis 12 1594
Wildhaus Gamsalp Grabs 12 1526
Scuol Bergstation Salaniva Sent/Scuol 12 1460
Crans – Montana Plaine Morte Barzettes 12 1273
Grindelwald Männlichen Grindelwald Grund 12 1450
Samnaun   Ischgl Dorf 11 1472
Savognin Piz Martegnas Savognin 11 1470
St-Luc Bella Tola Saint-Luc 11 1371
Lenzerheide Rothorngipfel Lenzerheide Dorf 11 1361
Verbier Mont-Fort Verbier 10 1814
Zermatt Stockhorn Zermatt 10 1759
Zermatt Rothorn Zermatt 10 1457
Grindelwald Oberjoch Gindelwald 10 1438
Meiringen Glogghüs Hohfluh 10 1382
Grimentz Lona Bergstation Grimentz 10 1300
Leukerbad Sattel-Torrenthorn Leukerbad 10 1290
Bergün – Bravuogn Piz Darlux Talstation / Bergün 10 1120
Saas-Fee Mittelallalin Saas-Fee 9 1700
Vals Dachberg Vals 9 1689
Unterwasser Chäserrugg Unterwasser 9 1352
Veysonnaz Greppon blanc Veysonnaz 9 1300
Wiler (Lötschental) Hockenhorngrat Lauchernalp 9 1143
Klosters Skilift Madrisa Bergstation Klosters Dorf Talstation 8.5 1478

Source: http://www.myswitzerland.com

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