Verbier plans to open ski lifts - weather permitting
The ski lift operators at Verbier, the mountain resort in the canton of Valais, are planning to reopen lifts this weekend following heavy snowfall in the region.
Unseasonably cold weather combined with snow at lower than usual altitudes has given management the idea of opening some of the runs for skiing on Saturday.
On the Facebook page of Verbier Sport Plus, the management of Téléverbier commits to open the lifts for skiing if more than 1,000 people promise to turn up.
“One single condition: that the weather is not too ugly,” the management says.
The advertised ticket price is 20 francs for the day.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 1,300 visitors to the Facebook site said they “liked” the idea, giving the signal for management to open the lifts if the weather cooperates.
The resort, with a base at 1,500 metres, reported that 10 centimetres of fresh snow fell on the area early Wednesday.
Tourist operators in Switzerland generally are scrambling to deal with one of the worst springs in 30 years, with rain and cool temperatures closing restaurant terraces that usually do a bustling business at this time of year.
Verbier advertises such activities as golf, hiking and mountain biking around now.
But over the weekend snow was recorded at levels as low as 600 metres, while persistent rain has caused flooding in the lake district of Ticino.
Forecasts indicate no immediate improvement in conditions over the next week, with more rain, cool temperatures and little sunshine expected.
Al this would seem to accord with indications from the traditional burning of the “Böög” or bonhomme of winter, in Zurich last month.
In the Sechselaeuten ceremony on April 15th, which is supposed to mark the end of winter, it took 35 minutes and 11 seconds for the head of the Böög to explode.
According to tradition, the faster the bonnhomme burns the warmer the Swiss summer will be.
In 2003, known for its summer heatwave, the Böög’s head exploded after just six minutes.