An ever-changing ski resort

4 Questions for Laurent Vaucher, CEO of Téléverbier

Laurent Grabet
Raphaël Surmont
Winter 2022-2023

Founded over 70 years ago, Téléverbier is the largest mechanical lift operating company in French-speaking Switzerland. After a winter marked by Covid, followed by a spectacular revival, the company’s CEO envisions a future that’s both optimistic and realistic.

Can you describe Téléverbier in a few key numbers?
Téléverbier was founded in 1950 and it’s the biggest mechanical lift operating company in French-speaking Switzerland. It oversees the ski resorts in Verbier, La Tzoumaz, and Bruson. We have a total of 36 installations that service 203 km of slopes, a majority of which are equipped with mechanical snow-making systems. Our annual revenue is 60 million Swiss Francs and we have around 600 employees during the winter. We also manage a ski school, a building with a hundred apartments in La Tzoumaz, and one subsidiary company, Services Techniques Alpin (STA), which specialises in lift and snow-groomer maintenance.

Can you summarize last season?
Compared to the one before it, largely ruined because of the pandemic, it was a record winter with more than 1.1 million day-skiers, good snowfall, six consecutive weeks of nice weather between January and March, and no real low season. After the Covid restrictions were lifted, people were eager to get some fresh air on the slopes!

How do you feel about the coming season?
Mostly good. Our resort’s services have been enhanced by the construction of a detachable 6-seater chairlift and a 70-seat restaurant in the Bruson sector, and we have completed the snow-making system on the run from Les Attelas to Verbier. Ticket sales and reservations are strong. That said, we are concerned about the current geopolitical and economic situation, in addition to the announced potential energy restrictions. But we have tried to anticipate every possible scenario to eventually mitigate any unpleasant surprises.

What are your biggest long-term challenges?
We need to constantly modernize the resort, bring in new clients, and shift to year-round tourism. Having new direct trains from Geneva Airport and Fribourg will certainly help, as will having the cable car from Le Châble to Verbier running from 5:15 until midnight.