A major fire at the cable car mid-station above Argentière in the Chamonix Valley in France has caused serious damage to the two main lifts serving the famous Grands Montets region less than three months before the start of the 2018-19 ski season.
The fire began in the early afternoon and spread very quickly throughout all the buildings of the station. It broke out during roof repair work being carried out by a specialist sub-contractor, nobody was injured. However it has caused severe damage to the infrastructures of the two cable-cars above and below the station.
“Of the eight cables which equip the two sections of the cable-car, five gave way as a result of the heat generated by the fire causing one cabin at the top of the Grands Montets to plunge onto the glacier below, the second cabin being immobilized on its bearer cables,” a statement from the resort’s lift company said, continuing, “As far as the lower section between Argentière & Lognan is concerned, one cabin is retained by its bearer cable & the other by the tractor cable.”
It is unclear how long it will take to repair the two lifts but the damage is so severe it seems unlikely that the lifts will be able to function this winter. Investigation work is currently underway ahead of reconstruction work.
However despite being deprived of its two cable-cars, one of which provides the access to the area’s higher slopes, the Grands Montets ski area will be open for the winter season with access via the Plan Joran gondola, ski on the Lognan plateau with the new chair-lift giving access to the new beginners’ zone as well as all the trails accessible from the Bochard gondola and the Herse and Retour Pendant chair-lifts.
In the longer term, the resort’s statement says that,
“The teams at the Grands Montets with the backing of all the staff of the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, will make every effort to permit visitors & partners to access the two cables car of the Grands Montets ski area as soon as possible.”