Monterosa and Zermatt-Cervinia - connection coming to fruition?
As reported by the daily Aosta Sera, regional president Antonio Fosson, regional transport advisor Luigi Bertschy, environmental advisor Albert Chatrian met in the regional capital, Aosta, with the president of the [Zermatt] municipal council(?resortId=39) and the CEO of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG. The purpose of the meeting is to settle for an agreement between the municipalities and the companies to build a cable car linking Frachey in the Ayas Valley to the Cime Bianche area in Cervinia. The investment, which has been repeatedly blocked by environmentalist protests, later on hit by bureaucratic and administrative problems, finally has a chance to come to fruition. The approval of the project by the municipalities (Italian comune) is the first positive signal in many years regarding the construction of the lift.
Monterosa Ski is now 3 interconnected valleys offering more than 120 km of trails at altitudes of 1212-3275 m a.s.l. It is also a mecca for freeride, where from Punta Indren we can taste off-piste riding in beautiful natural settings. Lying in the Aosta Valley, Champoluc, Frachey, Gressoney and Alagna in Piedmont is still a relatively unknown ski region, which tempts with excellent conditions at reasonable prices. We wrote about the resort some time ago and are eager to return to it.
The resort's border in Cervinia and Valtournenche is located just 5 km in a straight line from Frachey. Joint on Plateau Rosa with Switzerland's Zermatt, it forms the highest resort in Western Europe offering year-round ascents at the foot of the Matterhorn. Altitudes of 1620-3899 m a.s.l. allow for unparalleled skiing conditions and natural snow, but the inaccessible location has its hefty price. Nearly 400 km of slopes on 3 glaciers already make the area one of the most extensive in Europe. A merger with the Ayas Valley would create the world's third largest interconnected ski area, and the inclusion of more valleys in the resort would considerably expand the currently underwhelming (in Italy) accommodation base.
As we learned from Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, Cervino S.p.A., operator of the Italian part of the resort, is in charge of the project. After years of financial problems, the company seems to be functioning better and better - as evidenced by the recently replaced cable car on Plateau Rosa (3550 m a.s.l.), new chairlifts (under the Matterhorn itself) or the acquisition of the Valtournenche resort. There is still a lot of work to be done, but Switzerland's Zermatt seems to be setting the pace - after the opening of the spectacular 3-S cable car on the Klein Matterhorn, this year work begins on the continuation of the project and the connection to Plateau Rosa.
Read also our review of the Zermatt-Cervinia resorts and Monterosa Ski. The former, as every year, is almost in full swing offering its doors until May 5. The lifts in Gressoney, along with the slopes, will be open until April 28 and May 1 due to the national holidays. After that, the winter season will unfortunately have to be considered closed.