After archiving the sad and controversial history of the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track, a €128 million project officially canceled after it was presented as one of the most symbolic installations of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics, the Veneto region is relaunching a new cable. car to be done at the Giau Pass. And environmentalists will rise up. It has been talked about for some time, but until now only as a hypothesis, valued mainly by tourism operators: the connection of the Cinque Torri ski area on the edge of Cortina with the Civetta ski area, the largest in Venice, part of the Dolomiti Superski. 80 km of Civetta slopes and 60 km of Cortina would thus become part of the Superski Dolomiti circuit. For entrepreneurs, the wider the range of slopes, the higher the price of the ski pass. Two ski areas that come together to join the Sellaronda and tour the passes between Veneto, Trentino and Alto Adige. A system that, among other things, would allow you to drive to the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics without a car.
allocated 33 million euros
Now the project is no longer just a hypothesis, but has found its concreteness: it has actually been included in the New Regional Snow Plan, just cleared by the Veneto Region and financed. 33 million euros have been allocated, which will most likely knock on the UNESCO heritage peaks before the Olympics. But that’s not enough. In addition to the cable car, the construction of water reservoirs for artificial snowmaking is also planned, even if the weather conditions are increasingly raising the freezing point.
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According to the Veneto region, the plan to connect two ski areas should be considered a model of sustainable mobility, i.e. an alternative to the car. According to the region, the new Snow Plan follows the road system, precisely in an effort to present the new cable car as an alternative to road mobility.
Explains Federico Canerregional councilor for tourism and cable transport: “The system will most likely be a perch, i.e. a cable car only with arrival and return from Selva di Cadore to Passo Giau, without a ski slope. We have not removed any restrictions with Snow. The plan remains only a planning tool. The project first it got the approval of the engineers, who also spoke from the point of view of sustainability. Now, after securing the funding, we are presenting it to the different mayors. Some have already asked for the plant to be divided into two parts, but we are in favor of starting a unified process, and that’s because to avoid multiplying management costs. In any case, whatever type of plant is built, it can be used all year round. If we want to remove cars from the mountains, this is the way to find alternatives to rubber. Certainly less polluting.”
Mountain and sustainability
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“No” from environmentalists
So is everything ok? In fact, in the previous snow plan, the infrastructure at Passo Giau was rated as “incompatible” precisely because of the risks to the environment and fauna. So what happened? After the minority councilors in the region asked the question, the first alarm came Our Italy. “However, the mere construction of these facilities means significant CO emissions2 – he answers Antonella Caroli, the national president of Italia Nostra – if this intervention were to be carried out, it would mean a disaster for the landscape and for the priceless wealth of biodiversity of the Giau Pass. Because cable cars bring with them ropes, pylons, gigantic arrival and departure stations, roads, excavations and forest cuts. All this for the benefit of consumer tourism and the ski industry, which seeks out areas at ever higher altitudes, uncontaminated and rich in biodiversity, almost all of which are considered particularly protected and therefore theoretically protected by the European Habitats Directive”.
the Natura 2000 network
Italia Nostra reminds that the Giau Pass is an area still well preserved and without buildings of significant influence, in which lies the Sic (site of European importance) Monte Pelmo, Mondeval, Formin, included in the Natura 2000 network. And therefore protected by legislation that ensures the assessment of the effects on environment (Vinca) for works such as the cable car connection that the region wants to create. “The Giau Pass, thanks to its wealth of natural beauty and its inimitable and picturesque landscape, is undoubtedly the most beautiful pass in the Dolomites, so much so that it is a privileged location for the filming of films, for which the Dolomites are the setting for advertisements and the films can be seen all over the world”, recalls the president.
However, there is a “gap” in the legislation that should be eliminated, recalls Italia Nostra, which has repeatedly pointed out the danger of the transformation of the Giau Pass and the need to protect it more effectively. “The declaration of significant public interest issued by the ministerial decree of February 3, 1977, without regulations for use with protection requirements, is insufficient to protect them from the risks of destructive transformations looming over it, caused by the connection of the cable car and related to the construction of the ski terminal, which is part of the Alto Agordino intercity spatial plan and includes cable cars, parking and buildings with a volume of up to 24,500 m3. of nature and the mountain landscape is the duty and responsibility of all bodies that manage public affairs at national, regional and local levels”, concludes Caroli.
Caner: “Inaction leads to depopulation”
Councilor Caner has no doubts: “The cable cars remain an essential step to guarantee the reduction of emissions in the mountains. We have discussed with the Trentino and Alto Adige region in recent weeks how to close some alpine passes with a view to summer. But it cannot be simply banned because people have to continue go to the mountains. The risk of remaining immobile is depopulation and neglect of the territory”.