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Saturday August 13, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

It seems odd that Italy doesn't have a single heated chairlift. They're liberally scattered around the other alpine nations, but are they necessary?

The new lift will be in Val Gardena in the Dolomites.

It will cost €8m and replaces a 30-year-old button lift Gran Paradiso on Piz Sella.

The new lift can carry 2,200 people per hour, compared with the old button lift's 900 people per hour capacity.

The 1km long lift will take 3 minutes 21 seconds and rise 231m in altitude.

It is longer than the old lift so will take skiers and boarders to Passo Sella as well as provide a direct connection to the Sellaronda route.

PlanetSKI last skied the area back in 2015 - see here for our report from the time.

The first heated chairlifts in the Alps were rolled out in 2004.

On 26th December 2004 Lech and Schröcken in Austria became the first resorts to have heated seats when five Doppelmayr detachable chairlifts started turning.

They have since spread across the world - Canada installed its first one at Sunshine Village last season, the Teepee Town lift as we reported at the time.

Teepee Town liftSunshine Village, Banff, Canada















Some question whether heated seats are actually needed - there are claims that they waste energy and are simply a gimmick.

Others say they offer welcome warmth on a cold day.

In fact they don't use much energy or offer much warmth.

They are charged as the lift enter the station as the chair is disconnected from the main cable and given a power charge.

As soon as the chair goes uphill and gets reconnected to the cable the re-charging process ends.

The seat is therefore warm as the ride starts but soon cools off.

What do you think? Are heated lifts a welcome bonus on a cold day or a gimmick? Feel free to comment over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.

The new lift in Val Gardena will also have blue hoods.

Orange used to be the colour of choice for lift companies that wanted to stand out and they have been going multi-coloured for a while as we reported a few years ago.

There are aslo red and yellow ones, but the fashion now seems to be blue.

Here is one of the new blue lifts in the Swiss resort of Adelboden.

Blue is the colourBlue is the colour

















PlanetSKI will be skiing in the Dolomites next winter.

We were there last season but sadly the skiing was all on artificial snow. Fortunately the area has one of the best systems for snowmaking in the Alps as we reported here.

But lets hope they don't need to turn it on next season. Wink

Val GardenaVal Gardena













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