Weather challenging smooth opening of new glacier facilities
A November 16 article in 20 Minuten sounded alarm bells that a warm autumn was threatening the start of Swiss alpine ski season. The piece quotes officials breezingly brushing off concerns by reminding everyone that a lack of snow at this time of year is actually quite common, despite the fact that many ski resorts, including those Graubünden and Verbier, have been unable to open runs or even start snow-making due to the unusually warm conditions. Similarly there has been confusion here in Gstaad over opening dates for the Glacier 3000 ski area, even as dignitaries gathered the day after the article appeared in an 85 km/h gale for the opening ceremonies of the new SFr 18 million facilities funded by Marcel Bach, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, and Jean-Claude Mimran. The only problem; the opening ceremonies hailed the opening of very little...
Although spurred on by the charms of not one but two former Miss Switzerlands, Fiona Hefti and Lauriane Gilliéron, the assembled crowd was disappointed not to be able to ride on the new Alpine Coaster, which may well not open at all this winter after weather-related construction delays. On a more positive note, glacier officials are hoping to get the new snow-making enhanced Oldenegg runs open this weekend to add to the two lifts already open on the top shelf of the glacier. For the very latest information (and it’s changing by the hour), visit www.glacier3000.ch or call 0848 00 300.
UPDATE December 1 23h50: Gstaad.ch is reporting that all runs on the top of the glacier are open, but there is nothing open to the middle stations.
UPDATE December 2 09h40: The Tages Anzeiger is confirming that the Alpine Coaster will not open this winter season. First operation is now expected in the summer season of 2007.
Above: Marcel Bach (left) with Bernie Ecclestone (click to enlarge).