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Verbier confirms split of 4 Vallées
Tuesday June 24, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

On Monday PlanetSKI reported that Verbier was not offering a 4 Vallées lift pass due to disagreements among the partner areas. There is still a small chance a resolution may be found but more bad news about the size of the new Verbier ski area.

There was further disappointment on Wednesday for those that enjoy the off piste skiing and snowboarding that Verbier has to offer.

The new area, Verbier Grand Ski, includes all the skiing above the resort, however there has been confusion about whether Siviez will be included.

It is a key lift to ski the off piste that Verbier is world famous for as it means the backside of Mont Fort can be skied.

The lift takes people back into the Verbier area.

On Monday the resort issued a map with Siviez not included. 

We reported that it was out of the new area but then on Tuesday the resort issued a press statement to UK media saying the Siviez lift would be included.

Now we have been issued an official correction; Siviez will NOT be included.

It is a huge blow for the resort though we assume people will be able to buy a single-use pass to get back to Verbier.

The ending of the 4 Vallees ski area came out of the blue for many people: locals, holidaymakers, Verbier regulars, British tour operators and senior figures within both the UK and Swiss snowsports industry.

The premier resort in Switzerland has been unable to reach agreement on its long-standing joint lift pass with neighbouring Nendaz, Thyon and Veysonnaz.

Many of the resort's business partners had no idea a split was imminent and received confirmation in a brief email.

Together the 4 Vallées is the biggest ski area in Switzerland and one of the biggest in the Alps; it claims 412km of slopes.

The new area available, 'Verbier Grand Ski', that does not include the other areas is half that size.

See here for the PlanetSKI news story from yesterday as we broke the news with details of the split.

We understand the row is with Téléveysonnaz over how to divide up revenue for the sales of lift passes.

According to people we have spoken to it may well be part of a negotiating ploy but today, Tuesday, the resort confirmed the split was likely to happen and negotiations had broken down.

However here at PlanetSKI we understand the various parties are still in daily contact.

"The 4 Vallées ski area that includes the neighbouring Swiss resorts of Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon is no longer covered in a one area lift pass for winter 2014/15," the resort said in a prepared statement.

It went on to give some details of the negotiations and laid the blame at the door of one of the partners, Veysonnaz.

"After months of talks and negotiations between the four participating lift companies, the current 4 Vallées agreement will not continue due to Téléveysonnaz pulling out of the agreement 18 months ago," it added.

"Verbier therefore had no option and has had to offer a new lift pass 'Verbier Grand Ski' covering the whole of its own resort including access to Mont-Fort and all the famous grand ski itineraries including Mont-Gelé, Vallon d'Arbi and the Col des Mines," it continued.

The lift company, Téléveysonnaz, has hit back.

It says it is suprisied by the actions of Verbier.

The head of Téléveysonnaz, Jean-Marie Fournier, is quoted in the Swiss press as saying Verbier has behaved "irresponsible" and that it will be "damaging commercially."

It is a huge blow for the resort though we assume people will be able to buy a single-use pass.

If people want to go to the other three resorts they will be able to buy a supplementary lift pass but a price has not been agreed.

Verbier Grand SkiVerbier Grand Ski










We understand the cost of the pass for the new 'Verbier Grand Ski' area will be approximaltey the same as the old 4 Vallées pass.

This will not please people who have already asked why they have to pay the same for a ski area half the size of the old one. 

"What is not good, is that they want to charge the same price for a lift ticket," said one PlanetSKI reader over on our Facebook page.

However it may be priced in such a way that if there is a resolution to the current stalemate then the pass for 'Verbier Grand Ski' is simply transferred to across to become the 4 Vallées pass.

The 4 Vallées The 4 Vallées











Some believe that the small resorts will suffer more than Verbier, but the resort will lose a large amount of terrain.

"In an age where ski resorts are expanding their llnked ski areas and putting aside old mountain rivalires it seems odd in the extreme that the resorts of the 4 Vallées can't sort themselves out," said one industry insider to PlanetSKI. "It seems to be a lose, lose situation for everyone."

The Verbier tourist office has hinted that a resolution might be found. 

However despite the season being many months away brochures have to be printed and many business arrangements have to be made. 

Time is actually in short supply.

"We regret this situation but we understand that Téléverbier has tried everything to negotiate the renewal of an agreement with reasonable terms. There are still some months to go until the winter season starts and negotiations might resume this summer. We will see if the situation has changed by the autumn," said a spokesman for the Verbier tourist office, Pierre-Andre Gremaud.

We understand there is an imminent deadline for negotiations and we expect talks will go on behind the scenes to try to resolve the situation.

A Facebook page entitled 'Sauvons Les 4 Vallées' has been set up. 

So far 3,683 people have 'Liked' it and there are many comments on it.

Here at PlanetSKI we can see no real beneficiaries from the current situation and one big loser.

The customer - the person who just want to go skiing across one of the finest areas in The Alps, Les 4 Vallées.

We will keep you updated on developments here at PlanetSKI.

 Les 4 Vallées. Les 4 Vallées.












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