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Trip report - Nendaz - focus on lifts.

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Macclesfield...
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Trip report - Nendaz - focus on lifts.

I stayed with a group of friends (all good skiers) for a long weekend at the end of Feb 2012. We stayed in a hotel, which was comfortable and we enjoyed it very much (I have reviewed in the appropriate place). However I feel obliged to comment on the Nendaz lift system specifically and more widely on the 4 Valleys lift system.

I have been skiing for 20 years and skied with a group of guys who have been skiing as long or longer. The lift system in Nendaz took me back to the bad old days where lifts were slow, ill conceived and just very out dated.

The 4 valleys ski terrain is some of the best ski terrain you will find anywhere in the world in my opinion. We didn't have the best snow, but it was ok. With fresh snow the possibilities are incredible. The place is entirely let down by the appalling lift system and infrastructure that surrounds it.

Let me explain in more detail. N.B. If you want very limited skiing and are happy to stay in the Nendaz area itself then you will probably be fine. However this is an example of our experience trying to ski all that the 4 valleys had to offer:

Day 1:

- Gondola to the top of the Nendaz area (only lift out of town and a significant but not ridiculous queue).

- Long button lift to the cable car link - 10-15 minute queue

- Cable car to the top of the link down in to Siviez - 10-15 minute queue

- Start skiing down in to Siviez for the links to Verbier/the rest of the 4 valleys.

Time skiing at that point - maybe 5-10 minutes

Time from getting in the queue in Nendaz - about an hour and 20 minutes!!!

Day 2:

"Let's get the bus to Siviez so we can avoid the crazy lifts"

- Wait 10 minutes for the bus

- Sit on the bus for 15/20 minutes before it leaves

- 20 minutes to Siviez packed in like rush hour on the Northern Line (London underground for those that don't know).

Rinse and repeat - except that as the bus only runs every 30 minutes you have a choice - get on the bus early, get a seat and wait for 15-20 minutes for it to leave OR squeeze on the bus late, stand squashed in a corner with very little to hold on to, dripping with sweat, like everyone else around you.

The 4 valleys has more drag lifts (buttons and T-bars) than any resort I have visited in the last 15 years. It has some of the oldest slowest 2/3 man chairs I ever remember taking, it has some of the most stupid lifts - i.e. lifts that had they gone 50 metres higher you wouldn't have to walk to get to a run.

IF the lift prices reflected the quality of the lift system you wouldn't mind BUT they are up there with some of the most expensive in Europe (think Chamonix etc). If you pay this amount of money you expect some of it to be reinvested in the lift system and supporting infrastructure - sadly this is not the case. Somwehere there is a guy counting his money and laughing at you.

Summary:

Awesome terrain. Abysmal lift system.

Would I go back?:

I would go back for the terrain but I would not stay in Nendaz (Haute-Nendaz) until the connection to the rest of the area has been significantly improved. Nendaz itself is fine with some nice restaurants and bars but that is only part of a ski holiday.

4 replies to this topic
Canton of Valais...
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1. Re: Trip report - Nendaz - focus on lifts.

yes i second that. some friends stayed in nendaz and moved out after 2 days to go to veysonnaz. stayed at the magrapé hotel, on north side extensive view on the valley and on the south side a cable car at your door (really at the door of the hotel). so finally they were super happy.

the reason why you have those ridiculous parallel uber slow skilifts is because veysonnaz/nendaz/thyon where seperated. you had a skipass for each area. one day the penny dropped and they decided to be less sectorial, for goodness sake. it's one of the most frequent questions from regular visitors. why? well because :-) it's part of the folk! local history, isnt it great!?! :-))))

Martigny...
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2. Re: Trip report - Nendaz - focus on lifts.

Nendaz, for a lot of reasons, is not the ideal ski destination.

If you do not want to stay in Verbier (and I know V. is expensive!) take a look at la Tsoumaz. It is tiny so if you want a riotous night life it probably isn't for you! But its télécabine brings you to the top of Savoleyres. From there you ski down to Carrefour and the new high speed Mayenzet lift. Then up to la Chaux and the glacier... Very fast. And even faster back next year because the existing Verbier to Savoleyres 4 person cabine will be replaced with a totally new lift.

Anotehr option would be le Châble. You can get on the télécabine there and go all the way to Ruinettes, connecting easily to either les Attelas or la Chaux and the glacier. I did this the other day and the entire trip took around 40 mins to la Chaux. No waiting at all.

UK
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3. Re: Trip report - Nendaz - focus on lifts.

I have to agree that the lift system is so outdated that it lets the resort down. Good snow can often forgive some of the shortcomings because you ski the link faster than driving -- but you seem to have missed the good snow too. More's the pity because conditions have been particularly good this past season.

It is too late now but having a car in Nendaz makes all the difference. You can drive round to Siviez and get up to Mont Fort relatively quickly or head over to Veysonnaz. True, there are a lot of drag lifts there too but no queues.

On the other side of the domain Verbier's lift system is first class. The contrast with the rest of the 4 Valleys is stark. At least there you get superb quality for an expensive lift ticket.

Martigny...
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for Switzerland
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4. Re: Trip report - Nendaz - focus on lifts.

There is a very good reason as to why Verbier's lift system is top notch and Nendaz' isn't!! Téléverbier has invested a great deal of money every yaer to put in new and up-to-date lifts. Télénendaz is run like a medieval fiefdom and makes no such comparable investment. They cooperate together in the "Quatre Vallées" but they are entirely separate companies!

Next time instead of Nendez, come to Verbier or do as teh poster above suggests and have a car.

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