Lift construction has been underway in resorts across the world.

Chris Madoc-Jones' full round up of new lifts can be found in Issue 2 of this season's Ski+board

Scandinavia

Investment in resorts across Finland, Norway and Sweden continued over the summer off the back of a good 2016/17 winter. Kvitfjell in Norway, annual host to FIS Alpine World Cup Downhill races, has grabbed the headlines. An expansion into a whole new area has kicked off with the building of the new Vardan Express six-seater, a 250m long chair to link this to the rest of the ski area and 5km of new pistes. More slopes are due to be built and plots of land are up for sale for luxury ski-in-ski-out developments, all of which looks set to transform this formerly deserted side of the mountain.

Over at Trysil, a new draglift has been built in the children’s zone and a new piste has also been constructed from the top of the Skihytta chair – a six-seater that was new last winter, attracting over 700,000 individual lift rides by skiers and boarders.

Across the border in Sweden, many resorts, such as Åre and Sälen have invested in snowmaking, but the only major lift project is at the resort of Hemavan-Tärnaby. The brand new hybrid six-seat chair and eight-seat gondola lift runs from the town to mid-mountain and looks set to transform the ski experience in 2017/18. It forms the first part of the “Hemavan – Vision 2025” project to revamp the entire resort. A terrain expansion, two new six-seater fast chairlifts, a new draglift and a ski lodge are part of the plans – so look out for even more developments in the next few years and greater interest from UK tour operators as a result.

 

Germany

Although Germany doesn’t top the list of destinations for many British skiers, a huge amount of investment has gone in to the country’s ski areas in recent years. Snowmaking has been vital due to the relatively low altitude of most resorts, but a significant number of fast, powerful lifts have also been built to cope with weekend crowds from cities such as Munich.

The headline this winter is the completion of the iconic Eibseebahn at Garmisch. One of the two main access lifts to the highest mountain in the country – the Zugspitze – has been overhauled in the past two years. Skiers and sightseers alike will benefit year-round.

Two eight-seater fast chairs have been built at a couple of unheralded resorts. First, the new Kohlerhagen chair runs top to bottom at the resort of Willingen, a ski area in the central hills of Germany and only an hour and a half from Dortmund. Second, at Sudelfeld in the foothills of the Alps and an hour from Munich, Germany’s fastest chairlift – and fully equipped with bubbles and heated seats – the Sudelkopfbahn has been built in time for the new season. 

 

Poland

Most of you will have never heard of the resort of Szczyrk in Poland, but this could soon change. In one of the biggest projects of the summer, the Leitner lift company has transformed this small resort. It now includes three state-of-the-art six-seater luxury chairlifts with yellow bubbles and a ten-person gondola. All feature the DirectDrive system patented by Leitner to ensure the smoothest and most efficient running of these powerful lifts.

Russia

The post-Sochi bounce has continued at the Russian resort of Rosa Khutor. After the installation of a two-stage gondola and a fast six-seater chairlift last winter, which opened up two new sections of the mountain, another fast six-pack went in this summer. The new Dafna chairlift adds capacity from below the new gondola’s mid-station, forming an excellent area of tree-lined slopes that are perfect for bad weather. 

 

(c) Alexey Shabanov, photomolotov.ru