200 kilometres of ski slopes: New plans to unite three Swiss ski resorts
A new mega ski resort with over 200 kilometres of pristine ski slopes could be possible, under new plans to connect the ski areas of Engelberg, Melchsee-Frutt and Hasliberg together using ski lifts and public transport. The new plans would lead to more tourists in the winter, as well as more revenue for each resort.
New ski lifts to be installed to unite the three skiing areas
Currently, the resorts of Engelberg and Melchsee-Frutt, Canton Obwalden, are separated by three mountains, Graustock, Jochstock and Rotsandnollen. Despite being only 10 kilometres apart, as the crow flies, the journey from one to the other is over an hour by car, and impossible by rail.
The new plans would see a new ski lift system installed to combine the three resorts together into a mega-resort with over 200 kilometres of ski runs for locals and tourists to use. Current estimates put the project at a cost of 50 to 80 million Swiss francs, with former government official for Obwalden, Niklaus Bleiker, emphasising the new lifts would be built outside environmental zones and alpine lakes.
Perfect mixture of amateur, experienced and family ski slopes
According to the plan, the resort would benefit from having a wide range of different slopes on offer. Engelberg is suited to highly skilled alpine skiers, while Melchsee-Frutt is a resort designed for families and Hasliberg benefits from consistent amounts of sun. Current estimates suggest that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the expansion would bring in 7,1 million Swiss francs a year.
The project is not without criticism, with activist group Pro Frutt-Engstlenalp saying they will fight the plans “in all its forms.” They claim the new connection would “destroy what tourists look for, namely quiet and unspoilt landscape.” Concluding their response, they said that, considering global warming, it was wrong to rely on winter tourism to support the economy of Swiss cantons.