The Morzine Pleney bubble lift was installed in 1934, during a decade that marked serious advancement and innovation in ski lift technology…
Before then, keen skiers relied on actual horsepower and the odd drag lift to pull themselves up the mountain.
Anyone that’s stood in the queue for the Pleney lift during February half term holidays might argue that the old lift hadn’t changed much in the intervening time. In fact, the big ski lift manufacturer POMA replaced it in 1967 and again in 1980. It’s testament to Morzine’s expansion and popularity that a newer, quicker, higher capacity lift is now required.
The old Pleney base station was demolished shortly after the Winter ’13 season. Around the same time, the arrival station at the top of the Pleney was razed to the ground by a freak fire in the early hours of the morning. ‘Helpful’ some locals commented. ‘Convenient’ others speculated.
The base of the Pleney was a major construction site all summer and consequently, there was no access for mountain biking. Many local businesses worried that tourists would avoid the resort if they couldn’t access the Pleney but perhaps because of the resorts other excellent facilities, Morzine seemed as busy as ever, on the streets and in the restaurants at least.
The new lift uses the same route as the old. Eleven new pylons have been installed to carry 54 ten-seater gondolas, increasing the lift’s capacity significantly. While the old lift carried 1700 skiers and snowboarders an hour when running at full steam, the new lift promises to carry 3000 people an hour over a total elevation of 511m to the Pleney plateau at 1446m.
The base station includes a whole new ticket office, meeting area and access point, while the top station allows easier access to the piste for skiers, pedestrians and the disabled. The curved and translucent facades make both stations look very modern indeed.
€12 million should buy an awful lot of ski lift, and locals, business owners and holiday makers alike have been eagerly watching the lift’s progress. The ‘will it or wont it be ready’ question has been on the tips of our tongues for quite some time!