During a local council meeting last week, officials have unanimously adopted an agreement of the linking of the five municipalities of Le Freney, Auris, Mont-de-Lans, Venosc & Huez. With this agreement the Alpe d'Huez - Les Deux Alpes liaison is to be brought back under the spotlight.
The five Oisan municipalities have agreed to donate a maximum of 20,000 Euros each towards the research and developement of the liasoon project. The studies in snow cover, feasibility and technical requirements are to commence in June 2012.The cross-valley project between the two Oisans ski resorts of Alpe d'Huez and Les Deux Alpes is by no means a new project, the project was originally discussed back in 2004. The project has been to'ing-and-fro'ing ever since - back in 2006 the project was rejected during a council meeting yet in 2009 news sources claimed the project would be open in 2012.
Only 3km separates the south-west facing slopes of les Grandes Buffes to the east of Auris from the Mont de Lans chair lift. The opening of the massive Vanoise Express cable car in 2004 lent credibility to the idea that the Romanche Valley could also be spanned, linking these two giants of Dauphiné skiing.
The skiing argument for hyper-domains is clear. To cross the the valley between Les Arcs and La Plagne the Vanoise Express has to be relatively low lying. Skiing the furthest reaches of the domain takes most of the day with a good part of it spent on ski lifts. It is the marketing argument that is important. Following the launch, the new lift generated 4.5M€ in revenue and turned the formerly outlying Peisey-Vallandry into a boom town with a 15% increase in turnover. Lying on the crossroads of the two resorts it attracted both ClubMed and MGM, something that Bernard Chapuis of les Arcs lift company (SMA-STAG) has said was a significant factor in the resort’s recent success.
Paradiski also helped the Compagnie des Alpes (CDA), the group that controls both resorts, to increase profits by a staggering 40% in 2004 and attracted high-spending foreign guests to the area’s shops and restaurants. However the recent picture is more mixed. Turnover has stagnated with a 3% increase from 2004 to 2006 although the last two winters have been difficult in the Tarentaise. Les Arcs has also reaped the most benefit from the new link.
Les Deux Alpes is the most recent addition to CDA Group's ski areas (December 2009). Generating more than 10% of the Group's Ski Area sales, Deux-Alpes on its own is the fourth biggest contributor to business behind the three connected areas of Paradiski, Espace Killy and Trois Vallées. The ski resort accounts for some 1.3 million skier-days.