What will be new in Meribel for Winter 2012/ 2013?Two new lifts and re-shaped pistes
Méribel’s ski area will see several major improvements over the summer, including the building of two new gondola lifts and re-shaping of two main access pistes.
In Méribel-Mottaret, a new Plattières lift will be erected, replacing the existing 28-year-old Plattières 1 and 2 gondolas. This single lift will be completed by December 2012 and will be the first ten-seat gondola in the 3 Vallées. The replacement lift will carry up to 40% more passengers, transporting up to 2,800 people per hour. Passengers will be whisked up 734m in just nine minutes, compared with a previous journey time of 22 minutes. The lower lift station will be in a slightly different position, on the opposite side of the plateau. The existing Plattières 3 gondola will continue running as before. The total investment by lift company S3V is 17.2 million Euros
Improvements will also be made to the blue Martre piste, one of the main access runs into Mottaret. The steepest section of Martre, below the former Plattieres mid-station, will be re-shaped and the incline made more gentle. The descent will thus be easier for less-experienced skiers and the snow shouldl remain in better condition. Re-shaping the 60m section is expected to cost a further 2 million Euros. The beginner Ourson rope tow at the foot of Mottaret’s slopes is also being replaced by a more up-to-date ‘magic carpet’ lift at a cost of 70,000 Euros.
In Méribel, the second phase of replacing the Saulire gondola lift will be completed (Saulire Express 2 was installed in 2011). This summer, the Saulire Express 1 lift will be built and the lower lift station will be redesigned with a new entrance ramp to the front. The completed Saulire Express will have a vertical rise of 1,265m and will reach the Saulire in just 12 minutes, compared with a previous journey time of over 20 minutes. This new lift has eight-seat cabins, and will carry 2,400 people per hour – a carrying capacity which could increase to 2,800 in future if required. The total investment is almost 20 million Euros.
The main Méribel access piste to the Chaudanne area, the Traversée bourbon, will be made easier. This narrow blue run will be made broader and gentler at the bottom, thanks to extra space being created by the removal of pylons supporting the previous Saulire lift.
Other major piste works in the Méribel valley include a re-shaping of the Grand Duc blue run, which is being upgraded for the 2015 Finals of the Ski World Cup Finals. A tunnel will be added where the piste crosses the Gelinotte run, and two sections will be re-shaped.
So, next winter will see fewer lifts queues, faster ascents and no bottlenecks on the main runs back into the resort.