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Morzine news: The Pleney gondola's days are up...

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It’s been rumour for a long time amongst locals that the Pleney cable car in Morzine is up for slaughter, its days numbered. Having had a number of issues in recent years including problems with the cable at the start of summer 2012, which caused it to be closed for the early part of the season, it isn’t exactly surprising to hear the news confirmed.

No more sudden stops or 'frayed cables'. Will you miss the Pleney gondola? Photo © James Bowden

No more sudden stops or ‘frayed cables’. Will you miss the Pleney gondola?
Photo © James Bowden

We had the official word through from the Morzine tourist office a couple of weeks ago that the Pleney’s time is up; for summer 2013 the lift will be closed and the town will work on installing a modern, faster and, we think it’s fair to say, safer lift ready for next year. Locals were initially up in arms about the lift closing for the summer, but upon reflection it can only be a good thing that the weary cabins and prone-to-breakdown operating systems be retired.

This is the news from the tourist office: 

The Pléney gondola will be replaced with new lift equipment for winter 2013/14. This key new lift will provide improved capacity and better access to the winter ski area and for summer mountain biking in Morzine. Ground level access to the top and bottom lift stations will make for quicker access and ease of use.

As we await the opening of this new lift, and due to the scale of the works involved, the Pléney gondola will be closed for the 2013 summer season.

To ensure MTB activities, the local councils and the lift companies of Morzine-Avoriaz and Les Gets, will put in place the following solutions: 

·        Early opening, from the 15th of June 2013, of the Super Morzine gondola and the “Zore” chairlift.  From the 28th of June, an earlier opening time of 08:30am and a 50% increase in the flow-rate will ensure free-flowing traffic.

·        A bus service adapted for carrying Mountain Bikes will be run daily between the resorts of Morzine and Les Gets from the 28th of June to the 1st of September 2013 (dates inclusive).  This bus service will be reserved for those with a Portes du Soleil lift pass. 

·        The Mountain Bike tracks between the resorts of Morzine and Les Gets will be marked out, signposted and maintained. 

Further steps are also being examined to safeguard Mountain Biking in the Pléney area, and improve the flow capacity of the lift links between Morzine and Les Gets, by way of the the ”Crusaz” and “Mouilles” chairlifts.  More information will follow on this subject as soon as possible. 

Reminder of lift opening dates: 

·        Morzine: Every day from the 15th of June to the 1st of September. 

·        Portes du Soleil:  The lift links will open for the Pass’Portes du Soleil VTT, on the 28th of June, and will run until the 1st of September 2013; allowing access to the 23 lifts open this summer and linking the 12 resorts of the Franco-Swiss area. 

Everyone involved in the resorts of Morzine is working tirelessly to make sure that mountain biking, which is vital to our local tourist economy, goes ahead this summer. 

All other infrastructure in the resort of Morzine will run as normal for the summer 2013 season. 

So there we have it, the classic cable car is out and in will go a modern, efficient replacement. But what do the local riders and businesses think? We spoke to several to find out their opinions:

Alex Evans, local mountain biker, trail builder and hashtag addict: 

The #Pleney lift closing the summer is like a double-edged sword.

We’ve got the issue of there being no Pleney lift – which when looked at through one-dimensional glasses could be seen as a problem, but there are benefits that will come from this closure.

The Super Morzine side is going to be open in June. This means that people can ride the great tracks up there. It will also show how much desire there is for this side of the town to be open during June, rather than just for two months. This could have a knock-on effect of the SERMA (#Avoriaz) opening in June for the rest of forever.

Also, and this is a great positive, the mountain will be able to #recover. It is a tired mountain and a summer of non-use means that the ground will soften up, #brakingbumps will disappear and the mountain will be tidier. All those #sneaky straight lines on the tracks will become overgrown, enhancing the #rideability of the mountain.

Of course the biggest bonus is that there will be a brand spanking new fast, safe, reliable lift going in that will benefit everyone come summer 2014.

So the bottom line is that yes it is a pain (more like an injection than an amputation), but it will be for the better come next summer (much like an injection rather than an amputation).

That’s what I think anyway.

#Alex.

Jill and Jono from Riders Refuge Morzine: 

There is alot of negativity going round both in Morzine and across the internet regarding the Pleney cable car being closed this summer but the new lift will be beneficial for Morzine both in the summer and the winter. Having seen the plans it will be more bike friendly so we have to play the long game.

The Super Morzine will open daily from 15th June and we will be making every effort to get our guests to Les Gets so they can make the most of the whole Portes Du Soleil area, as we suspect will all the other companies in town. 

If you are one of the many Brits choose to holiday in the unofficial home of Alpine mountain biking, we’d like to know what you think to the news and if you think it will affect your holiday plans for summer 2013.

Let us know in the comments box below.

  1. Dan

    Having been stung by the ‘unexpected’ closure of the Pleney Gondola in 2012, I think this can only be a good thing. I can probably say this so easily because we’re not making our summer pilgrimage to Morzine this summer, so it doesn’t really affect us. The reality is that they need to update ageing machinery and the only time to do it is summer. Short term pain for long term gain. And talk of pain – last year when we found the gondola was closed, we decided ‘it’s not far to Les Gets – let’s ride it’. On downhill bikes, with full armour. In the drizzle. Jesus. We paid.

    1. James McKnight

      Oh dear, that’s a good old ride on big bikes. The adventure’s in the long uphill slog I guess.

      I’m quite confident that they’ll get transport to Les Gets sorted myself and in the long run the town will have a much better facility than the tired old dear (Pleney) so although I was a bit gutted to hear this news I can’t wait to see a new lift, it’s a long overdue upgrade.

  2. K

    this is not the news i wanted to hear for my first trip out riding.

  3. Kenton

    Can only be a god thing long term but should they not have built a second link out of morzine towards les gets first? I seem to remember there is a gondola right next to it that could have been used. I assume that’s closed too.

  4. Andrew

    Having been on that lift when it’s been emergency stopped run after run, I’ll be glad to see the back of it. Im good with lifts, but that one scared the shit out of me.There is so much awesome riding in the area anyway, a day trip to lesgets will be cool in a bus or whatever.

    Well done morzine for doing it now before somebody got really hurt in it.

  5. Jj

    There was an accident with some ski instructors on pleney last winter. I think they broke a leg but could have been worse. It’s sad there won’t be pleney laps this summer but next summer we will be able to do them twice as quick and it will sort out some natural track maintenance which nobody does on the public tracks.hope Avoriaz fixes up linderets a bit better than last year

  6. Toby+Bellman

    So busses for the passporte? Is that what it means by lift links?

  7. Elliot Goodrich

    the passporte normally runs the other way, so the super morzine/zore is more important anyway, les gets will be a little cut off though, word is that the crusaz and mouille lifts will be running before 10:30 for MTB, so get up to les gets early, put some laps in and then head back down the hill to finish the pass porte if you’re doing that!

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