Discover how the bubbles work!

Chalets du Gypse is located just across the Biolley piste from the Saint Martin 1 bubble / lift which runs from St Martin de Belleville to the mid station

In 2018 there were occasional open evenings for the public to see (after the lift had closed) how it operated

In 2019 this seems to have been extended to become a weekly occurrence – on Thursday nights

Sign up (for free) at the ski pass office in St Martin de Belleville or Les Menuires

Sign advertising the lift open evening at St Martin 1 ski lift
Sign advertising the lift open evening at St Martin 1 ski lift

As the sign says “It’s free!” – it really is

During the free tour you will get to:

Go up on the bubble (you don’t need a lift pass) just about the time it closes
Get a tour of the control station at the top – not a big tour as it’s a little room
Climb up into the mechanics of the lift where how it works and all the safety features are explained
Free Vin Chaud (back at the bottom) at the end of the tour

The Saint Martin de Belleville bubble

So, after signing up – you will receive an email containing your ticket

On the evening, meet up at approx 16:30 by the lift and one of the lift attendants will guide you where to go (i.e. into the bubble)

You then get to travel – for free – up to the mid station in one of the Saint Martin de Belleville bubbles (or oeufs as the French know them) like the one shown above

Climbing up into the lift mechanism

When you arrive at the top, and have had a short tour / description of the control booth (and maybe the garage where the sick / broken bubbles / chair lifts are stored / repaired) you will be guided up the ladder into the guts of the lift mechanism

Inside the workings of the St Martin ski lift

Once inside – don’t worry the ladder is very sturdy – you will be told about:

How the and why the bubbles are disconnected from the cable as they enter the station, and re-connected to the cable as they leave the station

You will have all the safety / braking mechanism explained and can ask any questions you may have about the lift (how many bubbles, how much they weigh, how fast they travel etc)

Walk around to follow a bubble as it enters the station (at high speed), is slowed down, disconnected from the cable, has the doors opened, then sped up, reconnected to the cable and launched out of the station

In case you wondered – this is what holds the bubble on the cable!

This mechanism holds the bubble on the cable

After catching the lift back down, you get to have a nice glass (plastic cup) of Vin Chaud and ask any other questions that you thought of (or maybe the alcohol just gave you the nerve to ask what you may have considered a stupid one!)

Our visit took approx 2 hours including the journey up and back and the wine

It is really worth a visit – you will never look at a ski lift in the same way again!

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