Sunkid: Solutions for challenges caused by climate change
Climate change poses a great challenge. While we have a general understanding of the changes and their causes, many questions that might help find a solution remain unanswered.
It’s an undeniable fact that the polar caps and glaciers are melting. The process will hardly be stoppable in the short term, which means that we need to adjust to the situation to try and make the best of it. Sunkid products are subject to constant development and adjustment to the new situation to offer best support for mountain railways in this challenge.
The global phenomenon of melting glaciers is not sparing the Tsanfleuron glacier in Switzerland either, which is melting at an average speed of 5 metres per year along its edges, and 50 centimetres at the centre. These and other melting values and speeds forced the people in charge of the Glacier 3000 skiing area to act as troughs form and render access to the slops more difficult. A new ski lift needed to be installed.
The Glacier-3000-Seilbahnen found Borer Lift AG, a Sunkidworld member, to be an ideal partner for this solution.
A removable Sunkid Mega Comfort Star was installed to once again take guests of the skiing area effortlessly to the starting point of the Combe-d’Audon slope, from where they can carve down the black run of 7 kilometres. A special steel structure replaces the conventional anchored concrete foundations to permit temporary use of this small ski lift. Buried in the snow, it can be removed without any residue or irreversible consequential damage to the terrain after the skiing season ends. The metal foundation is quick to install, mobile in its use, and reusable, which saves both time and costs for Glacier-3000-Seilbahnen.
The flexible setup and removal are necessary. No lift would be able to live through the glacier flow, periodic snows in summer, etc.
The small ski lift by Sunkid offers high comfort for customers. This is a priority for Bernhard Tschannen, director of the Glacier-3000-Seilbahnen.
This was a very special project for Borer Lift AG. After all, it is the first Mega Comfort Star installed directly on a glacier. This type of lift was chosen for its many technical innovations that fit use on the glacier ideally. For example, the latest generation of the tried-and-tested Sunkid small ski lift can be smoothly adjusted in height from 1.0 to 5.0 metres, to raise the lift in the evening and optimise the route during the night.
“Construction of this lift posed previously unknown challenges to Borer Lift AG. A construction site at an altitude of 2729 m above sea level is not comparable to one near the valley at all. For one thing, there is no mains grid for power. The lift parts cannot be delivered by truck either but must be brought in by a particularly powerful helicopter. Weather kept interrupting plans. Strong snowfalls, wind, limited sight, and other issues influenced construction work. On top of that, gigantic amounts of snow needed to be moved at the installation site on the glacier to produce an appropriate route. Though all of this required vast flexibility from the team, we were able to rise to this great challenge with outstanding success. We are very proud to have been allowed to implement this exciting project. This is the first Sunkid Mega Comfort Star for flexible and seasonal use on a glacier,” Axel Halder, managing director of Borer Lift AG, summarises.
Fact box Mega Comfort Star Glacier 3000:
Length: approx. 150 m
Height difference: approx. 30 m
Number of platters: 30 pcs.
Ride time: approx. 79 s at a speed of 1.8 m/s
Capacity: approx. 640 p/h
Control line between valley and mountain stations: optical fibre cable