SkiBike Tour 2014-15 - Champéry & Les Remontées Mécaniques

Posted: Wednesday, 25 March 2015 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Today was a little different from the average tour day, Thierry is on a mission to open up all of the Portes du Soleil to skibikes; some resorts such as Avoriaz, have always been positive, neighbouring Champéry has recently allowed SnowScoots. Our objectives were to meet with the operators of the lift company, do some test rides and show how skibikes can safely use the various types of chairlifts.

Champéry lies in the Val d'Illiez in Switzerland, there are a number of neighbouring ski resorts which all form parts of the Portes du Soleil domain. From Thierry's home in the Aravis mountains it's not that far to Champéry as the crow flies, but the presence of all these big hills, combined with a paucity of motorways, makes for a very long drive of 3 hours each way. At this time of year, with snow and ice free roads, it was plain sailing and sat in the passenger seat, I was able to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Champéry - pristine and with the accuracy of a Swiss watch

The base station at Champéry has a giant cable car leading up to the heart of the ski area, as you would expect of Switzerland everything is pristine and runs with the accuracy of a Swiss watch. We were greeted at the cable car top station by the head of operations, introductions were made and there was some general discussion about the skibikes and a quick safety briefing .

Lift operators and security personnel switching places to take a ride

Equipped with a pair of "try me" Firem VS512 demonstration skibikes, we began a circuit of the resort, with lift operators and security personnel switching places to take a ride with us and monitor loading and unloading the skibikes on the chairlifts. Fortunately for us, Champéry has invested a great deal in modern detachable chairlifts which was a great relief, no rattly old two seater lifts here!

Firem VS512 - Try me skibikes

It will be interesting to see what the decision is at Champéry, I got the impression that there was a genuine interest in skibikes, the operations team took a fair chunk out of their day to thoroughly test and inspect them. They also appeared to be having a blast on them, while they were at it too and let's not forget that this is a World class downhill mountain bike centre in the summer, where a certain Englishman did rather well in a race a few years back.