Mega ski areas and lots of high tech – new features for winter 15/16

09/29/2015 - Selina Sauerland

What awaits winter sport fans in the Alps this season? A lot! Massive ski area unions have been formed, modern cable cars installed and many events will be taking place. Especially, winter sport hotspot Austria has been working hard this summer. This is a SnowTrex update on the most important news from the most popular ski regions in the Alps.

Ground-breaking for “TirolS”, from l to r: Anton Niederwieser (CEO Bergbahnen Fieberbrunn GmbH), Josef Kröll (CEO Hinterglemmer Bergbahnen GmbH), Martin Trixl (CEO Bergbahnen Fieberbrunn GmbH), Helmut Thomas (CEO Saalbacher Bergbahnen GmbH), Rudolf Eberl (CEO Leoganger Bergbahnen Gmbh) © Skicirkcus – Daniel Roos

Probably the largest innovation in the Alps this winter is the new 10-person cable car “TirolS” – a long desired mutual project of the local tourism associations, the lift operators and the resorts: the cable car now connects the Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm Leogang with neighbouring Fieberbrunn in the Pillersee Valley. The new, single-cable gondola runs between the valley station Reckmoos-Süd to the middle station of the Hörndlingergraben, and then continues further up to the Reiterkogel, right into the centre of the Skicircus. This will grant direct access to the also new, red piste “Vierstadlalm”, which is 3.5 km long and can be covered with artificial snow. The new Skicircus-Fieberbrunn has therefore enlarged its coverage, and according to professional measurements by Christoph Schrahe and his team (from the consultancy company “Montenius Consult”) the newly formed union now offers a total of 270 kilometres of piste. This is worth a quality seal! Schrahe explains: “To award the seal, we measure the length of the runs, based on ideal middle line – a line that runs along the piste in equal distance from the left and right piste edge.” According to this quality seal, the newly created region is even larger than the “SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental”. The largest union under this seal however offers 280 kilometres of total piste coverage.

Event Tips:

  • The “BergFestival” in Saalbach from 04 – 06/12/2105 brings together all kinds of music genres and forms a brilliant line-up, including e.g. Sportfreunde Stiller, Fettes Brot, The Subways, Moop Mama and Turbostaat.
  • Further top events include for instance, the motor sledge race “Snow Mobile” (03 – 06/12/2015), “Rave on Snow” (10 – 13/12/2015) with over 70 DJs and live acts, and one stop of the “Freeride World Tour” which takes place in Fieberbrunn (06/03/2016).

World‘s fastest chair lift in Brixen

In Brixen there soon will be the world‘s fastest 8-person chairlift operating for the SkiWelt. The new “Joch” lift is 2 kilometres long and therefore double the length of the previous lift, but needs less time to cover the distance (6 metres per second). Accompanying the new lift, there is also the new “Joch” piste.

Hyper-modern Hartkaiser lift in Ellmau

The former Hartkaiser cable car in Ellmau has been turned into a hyper-modern 10-person gondola station. Cabins with heated seats and wifi, as well as an especially long access area with an additional 8 metres are only a few of the comfort services available here. The mountain station is a real explorer’s paradise for children with a kid’s restaurant, child-care service, ski school with kid’s activities and a ski depot. There have been changes in the valley, too: a completely new infrastructure awaits guests here, offering a ski depot, sports shop, restaurant, après ski bar and an underground parking garage with 150 parking space.

Child-friendly Schernthann lift in Hopfgarten

A special attraction with regards to lift comfort awaits winter sports guests in Hopfgarten: the new 6-person chairlift “Schernthann” offers heated seats, comfortable cushioning, sky-blue weather protection hoods and automatically closing safety bars, as well as an automatic access system. This can detect when children are trying to get on the lift and will raise the floor slightly to make access easier for them. More security and more comfort are the focus points here.

Event Tips: The International FIS Night Slalom in Westendorf takes place on 21/01/2016 and is already a cult event and known to be the warm-up for the famous Hahnenkamm race.

The local action mountain Penken in the Alpine hotspot Mayrhofen, will be presenting a further highlight of comfort: the new “Penken” lift. This modern lift offers especially comfortable gondolas with benches, wifi, extra entrance for children’s ski school and depot areas at the mountain and valley stations. Further, it is known to be one of the fastest cable cars in general. In only 8.2 minutes, guests are transported up the Penken. As part of the mobility project “Zukunft Mayrhofen” (Future Mayrhofen), the cable car is one of a number of new assets, which also include a new train station and a revised ski bus network within the area.

Event Tips:

  • The new “Penken” lift officially starts operating on 19/12/2015. At the same time, the legendary “Rise & Fall” festival will be taking place, with some spectacular contests and parties.
  • From 04 – 09/04/2016 many popular DJs will be coming together again for the traditional “Snowbombing” event. The line-up is still a secret, but it is already known that top acts such as Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, Skrillex, Kasabian or Basement Jaxx will be hard to beat.

The snow society in Kitzbühel can look forward to even more comfort this winter: the new 8-person chairlift “Brunn” offers seats covered in real leather! Seat heating and weather protection hoods add to already high comfort standards. The new lift ascends to the Hahnenkamm/Pengelstein and therefore directly into the centre of the ski area. Further, three new pistes, one of each level (blue, red and black) have been added to the piste range.

Event Tips: Winter highlight in Kitzbühel is the annual Hahnenkamm race, which will be taking place from 19 – 24/01/2016 at the local mountain “Hahnenkamm”, which includes the legendary “Streif” piste. Numerous parties and side events fringe the programme.

The Zillertal Arena is having a new valley run in Zell this winter! In future, a valley descent will be possible from the Übergangsjoch at 2,500 metres, right down to Rohrberg at Zell. The total length of this piste sums up to 8.4 kilometres and covers an altitude difference of 1,920 metres. This pistes is however recommended only to the more experienced skiers, as it is the black extension to the red sports decent with a decline of up to 50 percent. It runs from the middle station, via the Wiesenalm, covering a distance of 2.2 kilometres, right into the valley. Further down, there is a ski bridge crossing two roads and passing through a small forest.


  • One of the four tour stops of the “Zillertal Välley Rälley” takes place in the snowpark in Gerlos (23 – 24/01/2016). This event brings together contests, coaching and board tests for freestylers and snowboarders.
  • A social media highlight for all friends of selfie photos can be found at the “Karspitz” lift in Zell: a Facebook gondola. In this special cabin lift, guests can take photos with a firmly installed camera and share these directly on Facebook or view them in the photo galley of the Zillertal Arena Facebook page.
  • NEW: “Arena Champions”. This special challenge enables all (valid) lift pass holders to gather points at each of 10 stations throughout the ski area and therefore become the “Arena Champion”.
  • A further new feature is the “Arena News Show“: via a video stream, guests receive a daily update on weather conditions and local events, and throughout the week, there are also interviews and reports directly from the ski area.

After two years of planning and preparation, including the relocation of 12,000 trees, finally it has been completed: from December 2015, Les 2 Alpes has a brand new valley run to offer. Up until now, there has only been a challenging black run and the crowded connection piste as valley returns. The wonderfully wide, blue piste “Jandri 1” is a real treat for all Les 2 Alpes fans. If offers a valley descent for beginners and pros alike and takes the riders down, right back into the valley.

Event Tips: As in previous years, Les 2 Alpes will be the venue for a number of great party events again this year, including the season opening festival “Pow(d)er Week” (05 – 12/12/2015), the party event “Snowzone” (05 – 12/03/2016) and the student battle event “UniChamp” (12 – 19/03/2016).

The newest highlight of the Ötztal, precisely in Hochgurgl, offers a worldwide unique concept. The “Top Mountain Cross Point” fulfils three duties: it is the valley station of the new “Kirchenkar” gondola with a restaurant inside, it is the toll station for the Timmelsjoch mountain pass road, and it is also the highest-located motorbike museum in Europe with the “Mountain Motorcycle Museum”. This modern, multifunctional complex has been architecturally designed to look like a snowdrift.

Event Tips: The building is ready, but the services are becoming available bit by bit. The lift and the restaurant will be opening with a great event on 27/11/2015. The motorbike museum will be available to visit from 08/04/2016, and the toll station will take up operation (depending on the snow conditions) from mid June 2016.

In the heart of the largest ski area of South Tyrol, the mountain museum project inaugurated by extreme mountaineer Reinhold Messner, has now reached its literal peak. On the high plateau of the Plan de Corones at 2,275 metres altitude, the sixth and last of the “Messner Mountain Museums”, the “MMM Corones”, opened in July 2015. The main theme of this modern building, designed by star architect Zaha Hadid, focuses on the master discipline of mountaineering: traditional Alpinism and extreme rock climbing.

Marc Behrmann, Head of Contracting for TravelTrex GmbH

“As tour operator for winter sports holidays, we want to offer our customers the best-possible ski trips in attractive destinations. At the same time, customer demands on the standard of the ski areas are rising. We are therefore very glad to see infrastructural progress in the ski areas, such as the interconnection of two major ski areas via the new “TirolS” lift. Such innovations add to our product quality and enable us to offer our customers high-class winter holidays.”

For further information and printable images, or if you require help with research, please contact:

TravelTrex GmbH Selina Sauerland Phone: +44 20 336 533 13


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  • Tuesday, 29. September 2015
  • author: Selina Sauerland
  • category: Press
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