Val d’Isère, one of the Alps’ premier resorts, is set to get even better with the redevelopment of one of its main mountain bases. 16 million Euros has been invested in a two-year project to completely redevelop the Tête de Solaise area of the mountain, which is scheduled for completion in time for the 2016/17 ski season.
Work began in May 2015 to completely reshape the area and replace the existing infrastructure with a new high-speed gondola, day lodge, beginners’ ski area and tubing facility.
©Val d'Isere Telepheriques / toutela3d.com
One of the main improvements is the replacement of the old Solaise Express chairlift with a 10 person gondola that will increase capacity by 40%. Fitted with 91 cabins, the new lift will be able to carry 3,600 passengers per hour, whisking them from the Front de Neige base area at 1850m to the top of Solaise at 2550m, in just 7 minutes. Passengers will also have the choice of either loading their skis or snowboard into exterior baskets, or carrying them onboard, thus making loading more efficient. And to make the journey that bit more luxurious, each cabin will have heated seats and wifi.
The area at the top of the gondola will boast a brand new day lodge with café, toilets, and picnic area, offering stunning views of the surrounding area that can either be enjoyed from its floor-to-ceiling windows or spacious sun terrace.
Another big change is the creation of a large beginners’ ski area where both adults and children can learn the ropes in a safe and unintimidating environment, without having to worry about other slope-users flying past. The overhaul has involved reducing the slope gradient from 16% to 7%, and replacing the old ‘Terrace’ button lift with a huge, covered magic carpet, which is much more beginner-friendly. There will also be a dedicated kids’ ski and play area with a mini magic carpet that’s perfect for transporting little ones safely to the top of the slope.
Another supersized, covered magic carpet accesses a fantastic new tubing facility, which is certain to prove popular with adults and children alike.
With a redevelopment of this scale, minimising the impact on the environment was imperative, and every effort has been made to ensure this. The overall infrastructure has been reduced from 8 lift stations and 34 pylons to just 2 lift stations and 16 pylons, and the machinery for the gondola has been buried underground to reduce noise pollution. For every tree that’s been cut down, another five have been planted, and a species of wild flower that grew on the site of the day lodge have been dug up and replanted nearby.
The new development will make Solaise one of the mountain’s main focal points, and the improvements will undoubtedly enhance the experience of anyone using the facilities, whether you’re a beginner skier, parent, or just using the lift and day lodge.
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Posted on Thursday 23 Jun 2016