New Mayentzet Chairlift in Verbier

, February 6, 2012

This season Verbier, Switzerland has increased the speed of access to the main part of the mountain, Ruinettes. The previous slower 4-seater chairlift at Mayentzet and the following (even slower) 2-seater chairlift at La Combe has now been replaced with a single, high-speed 6-seater chairlift.

Téléverbier, the company who controls the Verbier lift system, say they hope that the new chairlift will encourage skiing from early November through to late April.

The lift is accessible for locals who have settled further up the mountain as well as by bus to Carrefour, only 200 meters away. A paypoint station has also been installed so riders don’t need to go all the way to the main station, Medran, to get a ski-pass! This should help ease those early morning queues, seen so regularly and feared by all on a powder day.

The lift can carry 2,400 people per hour and has a bubble housing so that users may be protected from strong winds on a particularly cold day.

The new bottom station

During powder days over the new year, this high-speed lift has almost revolutionised tree skiing in Verbier. Previously, you would be unable to ski into the forest below the mid-station, Ruinettes, as it was impossible to make the 2-seater chairlift to get back up the mountain. Tree skiing there would have previously meant taking the slow combination of the two existing chairlifts (as well as queuing twice, losing valuable powder time), or, even worse, one would have to ski all the way down to Medran, where queues can take up to 2 hours during busy periods.

The Mayentzet is both reliable and fast. During heavy snowfall, when nothing above Ruinettes opened due to avalanche danger, it regularly opened in tandem with the main lift meaning that the ski traffic was conveniently split between them. Its high speed meant the queues were short and the recycle time to the top was minimal, just enough time to get your breath back before finding a new line through the trees to shred.

So, a happy ending then?

Not quite. For whatever reason, the Mayentzet has replaced the standard footrests that are familiar on chairlifts worldwide with smaller, triangular footrests that simply don’t work if you are a snowboarder or are using fatter, powder skis. This can make what is usually a relaxing ride on a chairlift quite tiring as you try to balance your board/skis on the footrest.

Changes to the lift system

It is nonetheless a great addition to the Verbier lift system and has definitely helped to further the possibilities one can ski, especially during powder days when much of the mountain is closed.

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