Skiers and snowboarders are looking forward to winter, and the ski areas have been working hard not to disappoint them: for the upcoming season 2014/15 there has been lots going on to improve the lifts and pistes, and therefore to offer visitors easier access and more comfort for enjoying time in the snow. Here are the newest improvements within the Alps.
Lift with heated seats at the Hintertux Glacier
The lift stations in Tux have focussed entirely on enhancing in comfort. With the new 4-seater chair lift Tuxerjoch there is now the first lift on the glacier with heated seats. Further, the connection between the Sonnenbergalm and the lift to the Tuxerjoch has been improved and facilitated. Covered escalators now run comfortably to the lift station. In the ski area Rastkogel (which belongs to the “Ski & Gletschwerwelt Zillertal 3000” the 6-seater Lämmerbichl lift and the chair lift Wanglspitz are now fitted with weather-proof hoods and heating, as well.
Ski tunnel at the Kaunertal Glacier
Piste riders can now also enjoy freeride descents. The variant run “Wiesejaggl” has been connected to the pistes via the approx. 140 m long, illuminated ski tunnel “Wiesejaggl”. Ideal access to the pistes is ensured via a 12 m wide skier’s bridge which now crosses the glacier road. The new black run “Number 6” starts at the mountains station Karlesjoch lift, covers a length of 2.2 km and ends at the valley station Ochsenalm II.
Ice grotto at Stubai Glacier
On the Stubai glacier there is a new attraction for the whole family. At the mountain station “Eisgrat”, just approx. 30 m below the piste, there is a new ice grotto which informs its visitors about glaciers and their phenomena. Further, families can look forward to a new fun-slope. On the 1,000 m long parcours on the Eisjochferner kids can try themselves out on waves, jumps and steep curves. All the time they are watched over by the local mascots “Mini B.” and “B.BIG”.
News from the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental
In Austria’s largest, interconnected ski area the 8-person Aualm lift is the new technical highlight, located in Scheffau. The previous 4-seater lift was one of the most frequently used within the SkiWelt, and has therefore been replaced. With this new lift the waiting times are supposed to be cut down during the rush hours and the ride is considerably more comfortable. The implementation has cost 10 million Euros, including a moving walkway access area, heated seats, weather-proof hoods and child-safe, self-locking safety bars. Further, the “Hexenkinderland” in Söll has been enlarged by a further practice lift for the little ones, and in the “SkiWelt Brixen” a new, red piste of 1.2 km length is now available, including snow canons. The run extends from the valley station of the Holzalm lift at 1,440 m altitude right down to the Gasthof Nieding at 1,215 m altitude. The mountain panorama restaurant Bergkaiser in Ellmau-Going has been renovated and a new restaurant with 200 places has been added to the complex.
New gondola at the Jakobshorn
In Davos-Klosters a major project is being realised. The first section of the Jakobshorn lift is being replaced by a new cabin lift and the valley station has been turned into a huge cubistic building. The project has summed up to 23 million Swiss Francs, but now enables 100 people to be transported up via the gondola. Therefore the transportation capacity has been doubled. The stretch between the valley and mountain station (which has also been refurbished) covers 1,035 m.
3-S lift in Ischgl
The previous 4-person feeder lift for the ski area Ischgl/Idalp is not sufficient any more for the number of visitors it has to carry. Therefore the new “3-S” gondola has been installed in its place. This new lift sets up a record for Ischgl: the Pardatschgrat lift covers 1,251 m difference in altitude and therefore the largest stretch for cabin lift of this type. The lower part of the lift has been completely dismantled and replaced by the more stable gondola, which now runs directly to the Pardatschgrat without a middle station.
Panorama lift in Montafon
The new Panorama lift in Silvretta Montafon runs between Kapell and Grasjoch at 2,400 m altitude, and therefore accesses the most well-known “HochjochTotale” – the longest valley run in Vorlarlberg. The 8-person cabin lift covers 2,370 m length and is the longest lift system in Vorarlberg, and also one of the quickest. The ascent only takes 8 minutes. At the valley station you can enjoy a 360° view of the surrounding 200 mountain peaks. The investment for this project was 12.5 million Euros.
New ski area union in the Alta Pusteria
From this winter the pistes of the Sexten Dolomites from Vierschach to Sexten will be fully connected. The gap between the originally separate areas of Helm and Rotwand is now closed by the two 8-person gondolas “Drei-Zinnen” and “Stiergarten”. The valley station is located directly next to the already existing Signaue lift, where the two buildings are connected via a pedestrian bridge. The before-mentioned new Stiergarten lift is located on the Sexten-Helm piste. Both lifts run together on the Stiergarten at 2,092 m altitude, and also enable access to two additional pistes: the “Drei-Zinnen” piste with 2.3 km length and the Stiergarten with 1.3 km length, therefore offering a total of approx. 5 km of new runs.
Rosim lift in Sulden at the Ortler
With the opening of the new Rosim lift in Sulden the ski carousel Ortler-Ronda closes the circle. The 10-person cabin lift ascends to the ski area Kanzel, where you can find the new mountain restaurant Kanzel and the children’s area Cevedale. The now newly accessible panorama piste covers 2.5 km in length and 550 m altitude difference and runs to the valley station of the gondola. The new implementations and connection of pistes have been develop to further enhance the project of making Sulden a car-free resort.
Kammerkör lift in Waidring/Steinplatte
The Tyrolean ski village Waidring in the ski area Steinplatte has replaced the old 3-person chair lift from the 1980’s with the modern 6-person Kammerkör lift, including weather-proof hoods and seat heating. The new valley station is now located approx. 900 m further north, towards Schwarzlofer at approx. 1,250 m altitude. At the top, at 1,660 m altitude, the new mountain station awaits with the “Panoramastadl” restaurant.
Lift modernisation in the 3 Vallées
Within the major lift pass union of the Trois Vallées there has been a lot of preparation going on for winter 14/15. In Val Thorens the 4-person chair lifts “Plan de l’Eau” and “Portette” have been replaced by 6-seaters. Also in Courchevel there is now also more space on the two new 6-person chair lifts “La Fôret” and “Aiguille du Fruit”. Further, there is a new freeride piste called Liberty Ride, covering a stretch of 1.3 km of unprepared snow.
Fun competition in Ötztal
In Sölden all skiers and snowboarders are invited to take part in the fun competition “Adrenalin Cup 2014/15”. In ten different disciplines the contestants can sum up points. Everyone can participate and measure up with the others in e.g. giant slalom, photo safari, mogul pistes, winter hiking and ski jumping. The points are noted on the “AdrenalinePass” which can be bought as an extension to the lift pass, per day or per week. The more disciplines are challenged, the better. At the end of the season, the best individual wins the contest.
New lifts in Austria and in Slovakia
Many ski areas are upgrading and are replacing smaller chair lifts with larger ones. The “Wasserkar” in Sölden for instance, is being refurbished to a 6-seater. Another such lift is also being installed in Damüls. In the Slovakian village Štrbské Pleso there is also a lot of modernisation going on: in the local ski area the completely new 6-seater lift “Interski” is going into operation this season. The lift runs from the valley station to the middle station of the “Furkota” lift at 1,565 m altitude. This enables comfortable access to the blue and red valley runs.
Preview for 2015
Big plans are in store for the Pillersee valley. According to media releases the lift stations Fieberbrunn and the Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm are planning on forming a new lift pass union. Originally 40 km of piste and 11 lifts are then going to be stocked up to 240 km of runs and 66 lifts. A new gondola, costing 18 million Euros, is to be the connection line between the two areas. Once the TVB (tourism agency), the lift operators and the villages have agreed on the financing, the building is to commence in summer 2015, as to be opened in December 2015. The Skicircus is thinking even larger: in 2016/17 they are planning to connect to Zell am See/Kaprun, as well.
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