Posted: 08 November 2022

What's New This Season - 2022/23?

It’s that time of year and we’ve been taking a look at what’s new in your favourite ski resorts this season.

And it’s great news for those of you are interested in skiing more sustainably, as many resorts are investing in new energy sources and more energy efficient equipment!

Italy

The Cit Roc lift has served Sestriere for 30 years and holds the record for the total number of visitors in the Via Lattea, with over 25 million in its three decades of service.

After serving the resort and its skiers so well over the years, the lift has now been replaced by a new ultra-modern, six-person chairlift.

As the entry point for many skiers to the Via Lattea, it’s good news that this new lift will increase capacity from 2,400 to 2,600 skiers per hour. This will improve access to the Alpette and Sises area, as well as the Kandahar Giovanni Alberto Agnelli, which is used for sporting events, including the Alpine Skiing World Cup in 2022.

As you would expect, this new lift has been designed to reduce the environmental impact by optimising energy consumption. And the design of the stations has been sympathetic to the surrounding landscape, to reduce visual pollution.

The inauguration of the new Cit Roc lift coincides with Sestriere’s 90th year of skiing – happy anniversary Sestriere!

Via Lattea

In exciting news for skiers concerned about the environment, it’s been confirmed that from 2022 onwards, all electricity used by the area will be from renewable sources, such as solar, hydro, geothermal and wind power. This is expected to reduce the emissions created by the ski area by 2,500 tonnes of CO₂ per year.

This is in addition to the renovation of the snowmaking system which started in 2020 which has meant guaranteed high snow capacity and high snow quality, while also making a considerable saving on resources and reducing the environmental impact of snowmaking in the Via Lattea.

France

Lift company Serre Chevalier Vallée Domaine Skiable has been recognised by the EU for its outstanding use of renewable energy.

The company’s EnR project involved an investment of €3.6 million, which included the implementation of 1722m² of photovoltaic panels, two wind turbines and hydroelectric turbines used when snowmaking.

The company is aiming to generate 30% of their electricity requirements internally by 2023 and, excitingly, it seems like they’re on track to hit that deadline!

Compagnie des Alpes

Compagnie des Alpes, the company that runs a variety of French ski resorts including La Plagne, Les Arcs, Serre Chevalier and Megève, has converted its entire fleet of snow groomers from diesel to biofuels as part of its commitment to reach net zero by 2030.

It’s thought that this one action will reduce the resorts’ direct carbon emissions by more than 70%, as snow grooming typically represents up to 90% of a ski resort’s carbon footprint.

The snow groomers will now be powered by hydrogenated vegetable oil produced from waste and no adaptations are needed to allow the snow groomers to run on this type of fuel, meaning that this is an inexpensive change to make but one that will make an incredible difference to the environment.

The Compagnie des Alpes, as part of its commitment to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint, has also been testing an electric piste basher, taking on reforestation projects and promoting travel by train to UK customers.

Les 2 Alpes

Work is continuing on the snow front, which is the departure point for all skiers in Les 2 Alpes. It’s undergoing a complete redevelopment which started in 2021 and is due to be completed in 2024. The aim of the project is to spread out the flow of skiers around the resort accommodation and to enhance the ski-in-ski-out options.

The Vikings sector was redeveloped last winter, including the installation of a new button lift and a magic carpet. This winter, a magic carpet and button lift will be installed on the Champamé sector, providing a better connection for skiers and pedestrians between Les 2 Alpes 1800 and the rest of the resort.

The Vallée Blanche area has also been redeveloped, with a telemix lift replacing the Vallée Blanche chairlift and the installation of the Super Venosc gondola. These have ensured a more comfortable, faster service to the summit at 2,100m, with double the capacity of passengers.

A new green run has also been created between Vallée Blanche and Pied-Moutet to provide greater access to this nearby low-altitude section.

Plus, work has now started on the installation of the new 3S gondola which will replace the Jandri Express.

The new gondola will be the only one of its kind in France and will be much more reliable, as it won’t be so affected by adverse weather.

It will also be more comfortable and will be much quicker, taking passengers from the resort to the summit at 3,200m in just 15 minutes, compared to the current journey time of 40 minutes.

The new 3S gondola will also be able to transport three times the number of passengers – around 4,000 per hour, and only requires 7 pylons compared to the 15 required by the Jandri Express, so it will reduce visual pollution too.

The first phase of the project is due to be completed in December 2024, with the whole project scheduled to be finished by December 2025.

America

The largest snowmaking upgrades in recent resort history have been taking place at Sunday River, with the ultimate aim of doubling the snowmaking capacity in Jordan bowl and beyond.

With one of the largest snowmaking systems in the world, the resort endeavours to be one of the industry leaders when it comes to investing in sustainable equipment. The improvements to the resort’s snowmaking capabilities are part of the wider goal of reducing the resort’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

The improvements include installing a new underground pipe on Spruce Peak, which will feed into the new snowguns on American Express, Risky Business and Grand Rapids.

The new pipeline allows pressurised water to be instantly available which will allow the resort to open terrain more quickly and efficiently at the start of the season, as well as refresh snow throughout the season as and when it is required.

The new 25-horsepower, oscillating fan snowguns are very energy efficient and are able to create much more snow with much less energy.

Andorra

Grandvalira Soldeu-El Tarter has been awarded the Green Light seal by FEDA.

This award recognises the fact that the area is now 100% powered by renewable energy – the first in Andorra.

Power to the ski area is predominantly supplied by a hydroelectric power plant owned by Andorra’s electric utility company, FEDA.

The switch to completely renewable electricity means that the ski area has now slashed its carbon footprint by around 50% and this is not only incredibly good news for the climate, but also for the resort in terms of keeping costs down during the current energy crisis.

The accreditation is valid for 12 months, although the company which manages the area has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so they will be hoping to retain the accreditation in the future, while also inspiring other ski areas to follow suit.

The drive for sustainability has, in part at least, been driven by Andorra’s 2029 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships candidacy, as well as the country’s ambitions to develop a long-term sustainable model that includes minimising environmental impact and promoting social wellbeing.

Spain

Work on two new ski lifts in Sierra Nevada is now about 65% complete. The work, which is expected to cost 21 million euros, represents the largest investment in ski lift renovation in the resort’s recent history.

The new Emile Allais and Veleta II chairlifts, plus a reorganised area for beginners in Borreguiles should be open in time for the coming season.

The works are part of a drive to modernise the resort and make it more sustainable, with more energy efficient facilities.

The two new six-seater chairlifts will be detachable, to replace the two old fixed grip chairlifts and there will be 13 fewer pylons, reducing visual pollution.

The Emile Allais lift is closest to completion, with all the towers, outriggers, pulleys and cables already in place and the arrival and departure buildings almost complete.

The Veleta II lift will be the one that is most different to its predecessor as the lower station will be raised by 455m to make the route shorter.

This will allow the lower area to become less congested and will allow greater accessibility to the green slopes of La Perdiz, Amapola or Pinatas, all of which are suitable for beginners but aren’t used as much as the beginners’ slopes located further down.

For expert skiers, these same slopes can be used to reach the base of the Zayas lift or to access the Laguna de las Yeguas via the Laguna Pass.

Switzerland

The ‘most modern gondola in the world’ opened in the Jungfrau region back in February.

The new Eiger Express is just one element of a huge investment of 470 million Swiss francs in the Jungfrau ski region. It carries skiers from Grindelwald up the mountain to the Eiger Glacier station in just 15 minutes.

The Grindelwald Terminal station is worth a visit itself. The cavernous building houses both a railway and two ski lifts, as well as a chocolate shop, a Chinese noodle restaurant, a supermarket and a ski hire shop!

Plus, both the terminal building and the lift system are carbon neutral. There are three electric transformers which not only keep the lifts running but also help to power the whole village.