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Thursday April 5, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

A row over money led to the lift company closing the lifts this week in an unprecedented move. Talks between the various sides have resolved the issue. UPDATED


After more than two hours of meetings on Thursday the representatives of the lift company, CMA, and the communes of Crans-Montana in Switzerland reached an agreement.  

The ski area reopened on Friday morning.

"The cable cars are opening again this morning after a solution was found yesterday. The ski area of Crans-Montana remains open until April 22nd, 2018. The cable company and the communities found an arrangement for the upcoming 3 years," said the director of Crans-Montana Tourism, Bruno Huggler, to PlanetSKI on Friday morning as the lifts began turning again.

The municipalities and the lift company have reached a settlement, but its full contents will not be revealed in detail before its presentation to the municipal councilors. 

"The state of mind was constructive between the various participants," said a source close to the talks.  

"We are relieved, now it remains to ask our guests to forgive us," said the President of the Icogne municipality, Martial Kamerzin.

The talks were mediated by the economy minister of the Valais canton, Christophe Darbellay.

"We had to find a solution quickly to end the crisis," Christophe Darbellay said after the talks.

People are being offered money back on their lift pass for the lost days.

"REOPENING - APRIL 6, 2018 We confirm the reopening of the ski area! This Friday, April 6th, single price for the ski day: CHF 5.- Free parking! "
said a statement from the resort.

Here at PlanetSKI we suspect it will take more than a CHF5 lift pass and free car parking to placate those people on holiday who have been affected. 

This comment from a local was posted on Facebook:

"Thanks but a 5CHF lift pass does not compensate for the inexcusable actions of CMA and the long lasting damage they have done to our resort.

"They have generated global negative publicity, showing the world how uncommercial they are, their complete lack of respect for visitors, tourists, employees and local businesses... plus the impact on the bid for Sion2026 which would have generated a huge commercial benefit for the resort.

"There are simply no words that can describe the stupidity of their actions this week. "

Crans-Montana re-opensCrans-Montana re-opens

So, what was the row all about?

On Tuesday the president of the company that operates lifts at the Crans-Montana, announced he was stopping the lifts at the end of the day and they would not re-start them on Wednesday.

The season was supposed to continue until April 17th and there is still plenty of snow in the resort after the abundant snow of the winter.

The lift company president, Philippe Magistretti, claimed in an open letter that the commune of Crans-Montana was failing to honour an agreement to pay CHF 800,000 (£590,000) in annual fees to help cover costs.

The resort has said it is disappointed as negotiations were taking place.

"A meeting is actually ongoing today and we all hope that a sustainable solution will be found," said the director of Crans-Montana Tourism, Bruno Huggler, to PlanetSKI on Thursday afternoon ahead of the breakthrough.

"We will do everything to bring the discussion to a sustainable agreement," Bruno added.

Skiers with a vaild pass for Crans-Montana have been able to use it the nearby Anzere ski resort with free shuttle buses on offer.  

The journey time is around 30 minutes.

Crans-Montana has 140kms of slopes while Anzere has 58kms.

Slopes of Crans-MontanaSlopes of Crans-Montana

All the lifts in Crans-Montana were closed except the gondola Arnouvaz, skilift Verdets and chairlift to Cry d'Er.

Crans-Montana Tourism & Congress is organising a solidarity rally this evening.

"Whatever the outcome of today's negotiations, hoteliers, merchants, partners, residents, children of the region and customers are invited. It is not a demonstration against CMA, but a simple act of solidarity to build the future together and show the true identity of crans-Montana," the resort said on Facebook earlier.

Crans-Montana is due to hold some of the snowpsorts event at a possible Sion 2026 Winter Olympics.

There is a referendum on the bid in June and the dispute could harm its prospects of success.

There are always plenty of rows between lift companies, resorts and other interested parties, but here at PlanetSKI we cannot recall a lift company simply closing the system with little warning.

There are ongoing threats to break up the Grandvalira ski area in Andorra in the Pyrenees as we reported back in February:

And in 2014 Verbier threatened to pull out of the 4 Vallees set up but last ditch talks saved the day:

PlanetSKI was in Crans-Montana last January for the European Mountain Travel Summitt.

Bruno Huggler, Crans-MontanaBruno Huggler, Crans-Montana

And for a resort review of Crans-Montana see below as our senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, discovered its slopes.

On piste in Crans-MontanaOn piste in Crans-Montana
















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