SkiWelt goes green
to stay white
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental
Chemmy Alcott meets the SkiWelt
Snow is produced in the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental using efficient technology from air, water and energy from Tyrolean hydropower. This is the purity principle for snow! With the GPS snow measurement system, every piste is measured to the centimetre in summer and can therefore be prepared precisely. Since its introduction, around 20-25 per cent of resources have been saved every year. The water comes from the snowmaking ponds, consisting of snowmelt and rain. In spring, the snow melts and flows back into nature. This creates a circular economy on the mountain. Ski pro Benni Raich naturally loves the white slopes. But that requires the big piste machines. The synthetic fuel currently used for the snow groomers burns slightly cleaner than conventional fuels. Although GTL Fuel is produced synthetically, it is still based on fossil natural gas. Stefan Grafl, Managing Director of Bergbahnen Westendorf, explains ski star Benni Raich: "In future, we plan to use a diesel substitute made from waste products such as used cooking oil."
SkiWelt has already been honoured several times as the most ecological ski resort in the world thanks to its countless ecological and sustainability projects. The starting point for this is certainly the fact that the entire SkiWelt is powered by 100% green electricity from Tyrolean hydropower. Electricity is saved with the help of 17 reservoirs and only pure drinking water is used for snowmaking. The SkiWelt has also already received some great awards, including solar-powered lifts, a photovoltaic system, electric/electricity charging stations, heating with air heat pumps and much more. Back in 2017, SkiWelt invested over ½ million euros in a snow measurement system, which has been continuously expanded and brings annual savings of around 25% in snowmaking resources throughout SkiWelt. For example, a hut has been heated with the back heat from 2 gondola lifts since 2008.
In 2018/19, the comprehensive GPS-controlled slope management system for slope grooming was expanded by the 71 SkiWelt piste machines: every slope was measured to the centimetre in summer and can therefore be groomed precisely. The result of this snow management is an enormous saving in technically produced snow and energy. This technically produced snow is returned to the natural water cycle when the snow melts.
In harmony with nature
Building colours are agreed upon with help from an environmental expert, so as not to impair the natural beauty of the surroundings. In addition, an ecological building inspector is on-site at every construction project to monitor any environmental impact.
Snowmaking & SkiWelt’s recipe for technically produced snow
The SkiWelt has 1051 snow cannons and 829 lances.
16 reservoirs have a total holding capacity of 3,135,000 m³. They are thus fed by nature, which saves electricity. Incidentally, only pure drinking water is used in snowmaking here.
• The SkiWelt’s professional snowmaking team
• The most technically advanced and efficient snow guns
• Water of drinking water quality from our 16 snowmaking lakes, which fill up automatically in summer
• 100 % green electricity produced by the Tyrolean hydropower company (Tiroler Wasserkraft)
• Suitable temperatures in which the humidity also plays a major role
… and you get manufactured snow, which will eventually melt back into nature’s water cycle. Visit the SkiWelt in spring. The meadows are colourful with a rich variety of rare plants and have always been used by our farmers as pasture for their cattle.
First solar lift in the world – since 2008
A sign of the future: The Brixen “Sonnenlift’ (sun lift) is powered exclusively by solar energy. Boasting a large photovoltaic system, around 12,000 kilowatt-hours are generated per year – it even produces a small surplus, which is fed into the electricity grid.
Another photovoltaic system generating approx. 20,000 kilowatt-hours per year is being installed on the south-facing façade of the new Jochbahn lift (starting 2015/16). Both systems could supply enough energy to power 10 family homes in Brixen im Thale.
Charging station for electric cars
The Brixen ski lift company, Bergbahn Brixen, also has its own electric car, as well as a charging station. Upon purchase of a day ticket guests receive a code, which enables them to charge their electric cars at the charging station for free.
In 2008, a heat recovery system was installed at the top lift station of the SkiWeltbahn 8-MGD (monocable gondola detachable), to support the heating system of the Choralpe mountain restaurant.
Ski lift with intelligent heating: with the help of Vaillant, the Hartkaiserbahn funicular uses the waste heat in the machine room to warm the premises in the lift station and the adjoining restaurant. By utilising the waste heat, approximately 10,000 litres of heating oil is also saved, which in turn results in a saving of 32 tonnes of CO² emissions.
The first cable car station with charging points for your electric car!
Customers, who use the lifts, can recharge their electric cars free of charge while they enjoy a day’s skiing. There are now five BMW charging points in the new car park at the gondola station.
Wow, so ecological and sustainable: The heat for heating the new valley station of the Salvistabahn and the new technical centre comes from an air heat pump and is therefore immensely ecological.
The waste heat from the gondola is used and thus heated without fuels (oil/gas/wood) in an environmentally friendly and emission-free way.
2 charging stations for electric vehicles are located in the parking deck. Upon purchase of a day ticket guests receive a code, which enables them to charge their cars.
Electric company vehicle
The Scheffau ski lift company, Bergbahn Scheffau, has its own electric car.
In order to fill the reservoir efficiently and with minimal energy, meltwater is collected in the Eiberg and Osthang areas.
The Scheffau ski lift company, Bergbahn Scheffau, operates a 5.8 KW photovoltaic solar system at the top lift station of the Brandstadl 4-MGD (monocable gondola detachable)
The play equipment at the summer theme parks is made almost exclusively of natural timber.
Söll uses green heating: the company building has a pellet heating system and the entire bottom lift station has been converted to district heating, which is produced by the local wood chip heating plant.
The entire top lift station of the Hochsöll gondola plus the public toilet facilities and are heated by the waste heat produced by the gondola, with the aid of a heat pump.
As of winter 2017-18, there are two new electric car charging stations right by the bottom lift station in SkiWelt Westendorf.
In 1998, a reservoir was built to supply water for the Westendorf snowmaking system. As one of the first snowmaking reservoirs in Austria, the Kreuzjöchlsee was designed in such an ecological way that many visitors think it is a natural lake.
Alpenrosenbahn bottom lift station
In 2007, a heat recovery system with concrete core activation was incorporated into the new section of the building. The administration building is heated in winter and cooled in summer using the recovered waste heat from the pumping station of the snowmaking system and transformer station. Thanks to this system, we relieve the climate of 27.88 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
In 2008, a heat recovery system was also installed at the top lift station of the Choralmbahn 8-MGD (monocable gondola detachable), which supports the heating system of the Choralpe mountain restaurant.