Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Les Diablerets Launches Own Currency For The Renewal of Isenau's Gondola.

Since December 1, 2016, 50,000 Isenau coins– each worth CHF10 ($10) - have started to circulate in the local economy of the the mountain village of Les Diablerets alongside the Swiss franc. The "Fondation pour la défense des intérêts du domaine d'Isenau" launched the currency to help finance a replacement for the aging four-seater bubble lift in the Isenau area above the village. It was originally built in 1953. The foundation also wants to raise wider awareness about the future of the sunny south-facing mountain area, which is a favourite with beginners and families in winter, and hikers and mountain bikers in summer.
Residents and visitors in the mountain resort can invest in their cause by paying for local products and public services with Isenau money.Replacing the distinctive bubble lift has turned into a highly symbolic emotional battle for the small ski resort, whose population grows in winter from 1,400 to 10,000 thanks to many Swiss, British, French and Scandinavians visitors.
The fight to save Isenau has been going on for over six years, ever since canton Vaud established a moratorium on public funding for ski projects.In 2011, it was proposed to scrap the Isenau area largely for financial reasons, but locals fought back and in 2013 finally got Isenau’s renewal registered in the Vaudois Alps cantonal development plan.
But saving the lift and mountain area came with conditions: the merging of Les Diablerets tourist office with the one in neighbouring Villars as well as their ski lift companies, and for the local community to put their hands into their own pockets for the new cable car.
The foundation hopes the currency scheme will raise CHF 250,000 by April, 30th when it ends. The money will reimburse a municipal loan that forms part of the CHF 4 million the foundation is seeking from private donors. The lift company is responsible for the remaining CHF 9.5 million.
While the fundraising looks like it is on target, the Vaud government and parliament must still give a final green-light. And locals are concerned that a separate Les Diablerets ski lift project, suggested for the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games, could scupper the Isenau lift at the last minute.

The Project:
  • 38 cable cars with 8 seats each
  • 13 pylons of 15 to 30 metres hight (instead of 25 actually)
  • 1200 people per hour at a speed 6m/sec.
  • Travel time of 6,30 minuts
  • A new departure station 
  • an arrival station moved and modernized to provide easy access to the slopes and useful facilities.

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