Located at the Gueulaz mountain pass, the Emosson Dam is the most important
infrastructure of the company Emosson SA. It closes the gorge carved by the
Barberine river in the natural rock bolt blocking the Emosson plain.
The first concrete was poured in September 1969, the last in August 1973. The
reservoir was filled the first time on September 10, 1975. The dam with 180m high,
560m long and a reservoir of 327 ha is the second most important water reservoir in
Switzerland. The decor is French-Swiss, because of the origin of its capital, water
catchment areas at the Mont Blanc mountainrange. It has been necessary to change a
border so that the dam is entirely on Swiss territory. Originally, the border would
cut the dam in half. The municipalities concerned have therefore proceded to an
exchange of territories, endorsed in 1963 by the President of the French Republic
Charles de Gaulle and the Swiss authorities.
Today, the Emosson dam is accessible by a road open to the public in summer, passing
alongside the village of Finhaut. The amusement park VerticAlp Emosson takes you
from Châtelard village at the French-Swiss border, along the small mountain village
of Giétroz directly to the top of the Emosson dam. In less than an hour, using three
installations on rails forming an unusual tourist park, you will arrive at 1’965m
above sea level, facing the magnificent panorama of the mythical Mont Blanc.
On site you can hike one of the many trails leading to the dam of Vieux Emosson, the
traces of dinosaurs or simply enjoy the scenery and remarkable natural site.
New pumping/turbining power plant
The Nant de Drance SA company is currently constructing a pumped storage power plant
with a capacity of 900 MW at Emosson. This is the project of the century with nearly
400 workers, ten years of work underground at high altitude, 1.7 million m2 of
excavated rock and 17 km of galleries dug. It is through these galleries that the
caravan of the Tour will be evacuated safely while the Emosson road will be fully
released to the public as soon as the last rider has passed the finish line.