Ischgl is heading south and off-piste with the Piz Val Gronda link |

For many years there has been a mighty struggle over the Piz Val Gronda region to the south of the Ischgl ski area.

This alpine jewel has long been eyed by the Ischgl lift company for expansion, whilst objections from alpine and environmental groups have stalled the development. Now though the area is set to be opened up to skiers and snowboarders with the development of the E5 Piz Val Grondabahn for the 2013/14 winter. In terms of adding to the ski area of Ischgl then the impact will actually be reasonably limited – red piste 42 will come in at a fairly paltry 3km but it is the massive off-piste and freeride possibilities that this terrain has to offer that was surely behind this dogged pursuit of the development by the lift company. Already very big, the addition of 3km extra piste length is almost an irrelevance but as Ischgl continues to grow as a Mecca for off-piste action then this new link with further enhanced its burgeoning status. Opponents of unending lift development will have taken this new lift as a significant set-back, this lift really was a line in the sand for many. From the perspective of the Ischgl lift company the lift was designed to have just 2 pylons outside of the base-station and top-station in order to minimise impact on the sensitive ecology of the area. The new area is scheduled to open with the rest of the Ischgl ski region in the latter part of November. Expect to see further fats skis on shoulders around Ischgl this winter as the place grows its off-piste, freeride product.

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