Fans of the 4 Valleys ski area in Switzerland, which encompasses the ski resorts of Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon and Verbier can relax. A dispute between Veysonnaz and Thyon, which had delayed the renegotiation of key contracts, has been resolved – and skiers will be able to enjoy the whole of the ski area as usual on a single lift pass.
The problem went public on June 23 this year, when Téléverbier, the Verbier lift company, launched a ski pass for a new area, Verbier Grand Ski – with no mention of the 4 Valleys. Later, Joel Sciboz, head of tourism in Verbier, confirmed that, “the 4 valleys agreement has come to an end” to widespread consternation in the region. (Read our blog Is This The End Of The 4 Valleys? for more on this.) At the time, Téléverbier blamed the “intransigence” of Téléveysonnaz (the Veysonnaz lift company) for the failure of last-minute talks.
Wiser heads in the region argued that Téléverbier’s move was bound to spark new negotiations, and that there was plenty of time for a resolution after summer. They were right. Yesterday it was announced that a new 18-year contract had been signed for the continuation of the 4 Valleys project, and that “the partners have also committed to strengthening their collaboration. Discussions will continue in the coming months for this purpose.”
We look forward to hearing more about this closer collaboration. And now that good sense has returned to the region, maybe the authorities can revisit the ruinous decision to enforce a £33,000-a-year minimum wage amongst British chalet staff in Switzerland – a move which has effectively ended the British chalet holiday in the country, except at the luxury end of the market.