Gastein / Austria: Innovative Investment Plan
Modern architecture based on the plans of Saalfelden architects Innerhofer oder Innerhofer makes sure that the new Stubnerkogel lift – Gasteiner Bergbahnen AG’s top investment in the current year – is put into perspective. A positive development in tourism in the Gasteinertal Valley allows a challenging investment program to the amount of around Euro 16.5 million that has been passed unanimously by the management board for 2009. In the last three years alone the incredible sum of Gasteiner Bergbahnen AG’s investment volume reached 45 million Euro.
The new Stubnerkogel lift
The cable-car is for the main part technically equivalent to the Sender lift which was newly constructed last year and is a single stage carrier in two sections with cabins to seat 8 persons and access even with the ground. It is 2.6 kilometres long and covers a difference in altitude of 1,136 metres. Lift capacity will be increased from the current 2,375 persons per hour to 2,800 persons. The investment costs for the Stubnerkogel lift are around Euro 14.3 million.
Near the valley station is a moving stairway that meets up to today’s demands on quality. Building permission pursuant to environmental and cable ropeway laws was granted in autumn of last year. Work began on dismantling the old facility at the end of the winter season. During the coming months the Stubnerkogel lift will be newly constructed so that it is completed ready for operation next winter season.
Bad Gastein has shown a very positive development in room nights during recent years. Back in the 80’s Bad Gastein boasted around 590,000 room nights in winter which dropped to 500,000 in winter 1997. There has been a continual increase since that time so that meanwhile just under 700,000 room nights per winter season are achieved. In addition, the provision of further accommodation is definitely planned. The Stubnerkogel lift is the key facility in Gastein’s ‛core skiing territory’ Stubnerkogel – Angertal - Schlossalm. The number of ascents on the first section of the lift during a normal winter is between 300,000 and 400,000 and on the second section between 400,000 and 600,000. It is the only feeder lift from Bad Gastein to the core skiing territory.
The Stubnerkogel lift was built in 1987 and is in operation in summer as well as winter. Due to its age and the type of construction some spare parts are no longer available. Although the lift is well cared for and serviced, there would be increased risk of breakdown.
Over the past years preventative maintenance measures and replacement of some mechanical and electrical components were carried out but were however successful to only a limited extent. During the last winters there were failures for technical reasons. The alterations and installation work required for repairs was carried out ultimately during the night in order to disrupt operations as little as possible.
During the past months three alternative solutions were examined in cooperation with Ingenieurbüro Salzmann and Doppelmayr, and finally the decision was made in favour of a new state-of the-art cable car, incorporating the existing buildings. This option however calls for adaptation of the existing building constructions.
As the Stubnerkogel is exposed to wind, great importance is also attached in this option to the reduction of vulnerability to wind. This is, for example, achieved through reduced height and a change in the position of the supporting pillars - particularly in the sections where the lift enters the stations, higher roller rims, heavier cabins providing better behaviour under windy conditions as well as the use of the latest technology, such as automatic monitoring of the rope position.
Attractive hanging bridge
As a special ‛bonus’, a hanging bridge around 140 m long is being built from the summit station of the Stubnerkogel lift to the Sender, providing a trail for a balancing act.
At the northern end a footbridge leads from the existing hiking trail to the hanging bridge, which is anchored to the solid rock. At the southern end there is a connection to the terrace of the existing summit restaurant. The floor covering (grid) and the rails (Maccaferri mesh) will be transparent and aesthetically appealing to give a ‛light’ construction that does not interfere with the terrain and allows those on foot to experience the altitude difference first hand.
The new hanging bridge will be opened at the same time as the newly erected Stubnerkogel lift at the start of the winter season.
A sum of around Euro 1.2 million has been allocated for further extension of the snow-making facilities:
• Snow-making facilities Angertal II
On the west side (direction of Angertal Ski Center) additional snow-making facilities were installed for the downhill runs (Sender and Möser runs) opened last year.
The considerable improvement in snow-making within the vicinity of the Stubnerkogel means that the slopes there can be optimally used and the stream of skiers within the Skischaukel Schlossalm – Angertal – Stubnerkogel can be spread over a larger area.
• Snow-making facilities Stubnerkogel
Provided that all necessary approval is obtained for the snow-making facility on the east side of the Stubnerkogel, it can be assumed that the field pipeline from Bucheben pump station to Bellevue Alm will be laid this year.
• Stubnerkogel – Angertal
In the core skiing area Schlossalm – Angertal – Stubnerkogel there are up to 12,000 winter sports enthusiasts on peak days. It is our goal to achieve better distribution of the stream of skiers within the Skischaukel network and to improve ‛the convergence’ of the skiing mountains Stubnerkogel and Schlossalm.
The new ‘blue’ ski run (Möser run) that was built last year will be completed from the middle station of the Sender lift to Angertal Ski Center on the Stubnerkogel side. This gives beginners the opportunity to ‛venture’ from the main practice area towards the mountain for the first time.
Construction of the run which began last year – correction of the bottleneck in the area south of the Goldberg lift middle station – will be completed this year, providing a significant improvement in quality on the slopes.
At Angertal Ski Center work will be completed on securing the banks along the Lafenbach stream and the necessary routes will be laid. The layout of the practice area on the Judau field will be finished and the arrangement of the conveyors (magic carpet) will be optimized.