In April 2017, following rumours from as far back as 2009, it was announced that a new cable car would be built, starting from the centre of Morzine, travelling up the Ardoisieres Valley and joining the Prodains 3S cable car to take skiers and snowboarders all the way up to Avoriaz. If you’re not familiar with the plans you can read about them here.
Over a year and a half later, we’ve not heard much in the way of official announcements, but this summer has seen some quiet council meetings pass, almost under the radar, which appear to be starting the proceedings towards a finalised project plan.
These meetings were first brought to our attention by the ADHMA, the Association pour le Developpement Harmonieux de Morzine Avoriaz. The ADHMA is a group made up of local residents, business owners and even ex-council members, who believe that while an improved link between the Morzine and Avoriaz ski areas is necessary, it’s not worth changing the face of the village to do it. After all, Morzine has a reputation as a year-round town rather than a resort and a large cable car stretching from the top of Rue du Bourg to Avoriaz, 100m off the ground in some places (to put this into perspective, the Super Morzine suspension bridge is around 35m off the valley floor), would somewhat augment the view we’ve come to know and love. Then there’s the issue of whether it’s safe to build in the Ardoisieres valley, next to a protected area and on potentially unstable cliffs, and how the €147 million project is being paid for.
What the ADHMA propose is, instead of building a new lift, to first look for a way of improving the link that won’t disrupt the aesthetics of Morzine, won’t cost the earth and won’t subject residents to lengthy building processes. Their main concern is that we don’t actually know enough about the EMA project to be able to make an informed decision as to whether it’ll be good for the town or not.
However, there are a number of people who think differently. Many local business owners and residents agree that Morzine needs the new lift and that the project will inject some new life into Rue du Bourg, encouraging visitors to keep coming to Morzine instead of holidaying in higher resorts. From the Mairie’s perspective, the new link reduce the number of busses needed in town throughout the winter, as well as car traffic, parking issues and bus overcrowding, the aim being to be able to travel from Morzine to Avoriaz in around ten minutes. It will also allow people to travel easily between Morzine and Avoriaz at night.
From what we’re aware of, the latest proposal for the project won’t be changing too much of the town as we know it. Aside from two new parking structures and the gondola station, not much else is set to change, in contrast to previous plans which included turning the Carrefour car park into a commercial centre.
So what do we know about the project currently? Nothing has been officially confirmed but word from the Mairie is that we can expect an announcement soon, following the results of current studies being carried out in order to confirm the next step of the project.
Watch this space for the latest updates, and in the meantime you can follow the ADHMA on Facebook, check out their website, and even join their initiative for a more harmonious Morzine-Avoriaz link. You can also view the proposed EMA plans on the Mairie website.