New Swiss piste tunnels under glacier

Come December, Swiss resort Glacier 3000 will open a piste that tunnels under the glacier, reviving one of the steepest slopes in the Alps.

The Pierres Pointes run closed in 1999 when the Pillon cable car came into action and access became difficult. The 3km run has a 41° pitch (88%) slope on its upper section.

To bring back the black run, Glacier 3000 is currently working on a tunnel 265 metres long and 2.5 metres wide by which skiers can traverse before starting on the 3km (approx. 2 miles) run down to the valley dropping 1000m of vertical.

Estimated at CHF 2.5 million, the tunnel should be open at start of the 2022-2023 season.

Is this a novelty ski run or is it climate forward thinking for a ski resort in troubling times?

A decade ago the ice lay 15 metres thick. Glacier 3000 director Bernhardt Tschannen recalls how the glacier has gone through tough times:

“Fifteen years ago, we asked ourselves whether we should continue with skiing. And we decided to invest to increase the appeal of our offer.”

“Skiing will continue, with or without a glacier, but we are going through an intensive transition phase, with clarity that does extend beyond 2 to 5 years, during which we have to adapt a lot. We are currently thinking about the 2030 vision; our assumptions are not yet ready to be announced, but we intend to transform or replace structures, not add to them.”

Coverage of this novel ski run comes at a time where glacier resorts are suffering worse than ever from the effects of climate change. Ice is melting at accelerated speeds during a summer of heatwaves and just one glacier resort, Hintertux, remains open for business out of many that usually boast 365-days of skiing. (Read more about glacier closures in the Alps).