A Lost Ski Area with a 3S Gondola

Abandoned towers for a Doppelmayr detachable quad at the Vall Fosca Mountain Resort in Spain.   Photo Credit:  Alfonso Pedrero Muñoz on Panoramio.
Abandoned towers for a Doppelmayr detachable quad at the Vall Fosca Mountain Resort in Spain. Photo Credit: Alfonso Pedrero Muñoz on Panoramio.

There are closed ski resorts with old, abandoned lifts rotting away all over the world.  But a remote mountain in Spain takes the lost ski area to a new level with tens of millions of dollars of half-completed lifts (including a 3S gondola) that never opened.  Doppelmayr partially built three lifts at the Vall Fosca Mountain Resort and abandoned them after the developer went bankrupt at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.  It’s a fascinating story of boom and bust all too common in the ski industry.

An abandoned 3S gondola terminal on the side of the road at the Vall Fosca Mountain Resort in Spain.  Photo source: http://monaxmontagne.blogspot.fr/2012/08/du-tourmalet-la-vall-fosca.html
An abandoned 3S gondola terminal on the side of a road at the Vall Fosca Mountain Resort in Spain. Photo credit.

Construction began back in 2006 and the resort was scheduled to open for the 2008-09 ski season.  The plan included a €230 million pedestrian village with 965 homes at 4,000 feet.  A 3S gondola was to connect the village to a new ski resort with four chairlifts.  At the time, only Val d’Isere and Kitzbuhel had Doppelmayr’s tri-cable gondola technology and Vall Fosca was destined to have the first 3S outside of the Alps.  That title ended up going to Whistler-Blackcomb.

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