As of December 2021, the Kaunertal Glacier has a brand-new gondola in operation: the Weißseejochbahn.
Starting from the middle station of the Ochsenalmbahn (2,494m) and leading up to the Weißseejoch at 3,044 meters, the new gondola opens up a wide swath of new pistes and freeride terrain in Kaunertal. Read on for the full press release.
After around six months of construction, the new Weißseejoch lift on the Kaunertal Glacier will go into operation on December 17, 2021 during a free ski day. The new lift leads from the middle station of the Ochsenalm lift (2,494 m) to the Weißseejoch (3,044 m). This means that there are now three lifts on the Kaunertal Glacier that take guests barrier-free to over 3,000 meters above sea level. As an absolute world first, the Weißseejoch lift uses a particularly space-saving, specially developed storage system.
Kaunertal, on December 15, 2021. On Friday, December 17, 2021, the new Weißseejochbahn on the Kaunertal Glacier will start operation during a free ski day. The lift leads from the middle station of the Ochsenalmbahn (2,494 m) to the Weißseejoch (3,044 m) directly to the Austrian-Italian state border. Via a new piste, guests of the Kaunertal Glacier return to the middle station of the Ochsenalm lift. In addition to the Karlesjochbahn and the Falginjochbahn, there are now three lifts on the Kaunertal Glacier that take guests barrier-free to over 3,000 meters above sea level. In addition, winter sports enthusiasts have access to around 50 kilometers of slopes.
"With the realization of the Weißseejochbahn, a project that was already included in the development concept 40 years ago by Eugen Larcher, the main initiator of the Kaunertal Glacier Railways and tourism pioneer, is now being realized," says Beate Rubatscher-Larcher, Managing Director of the Kaunertal Gletscherbahnen.
The new Weißseejochbahn opens up a broad new swath of terrain that previously was only accessible by touring or hiking.
Sustainability in focus
The Kaunertal Nature Park and Glacier Region stands for sustainable and nature-oriented year-round tourism, for which it recently received the "Best Tourism Villages" sustainability seal. "For Kaunertaler Gletscherbahnen, it is a principle of action to use progress and technology intelligently in order to conserve resources, leave as small a footprint as possible ecologically and thus create a sustainable recreation area," adds Rubatscher-Larcher.
The new gondola expands Kaunertal´s offer for freeriders: more fresh powder for the taking!
Storage system as a world first
For example, it was possible to save around one third of the cubic capacity of the Weißseejochbahn valley station by using a garage system that is unique in the world. The cabins of the 10-EUB lift are arranged in the station building using an ingenious guidance system in such a way that the access and lounge areas for ski guests can also be used for gondola storage. "Compared to conventional station buildings, we need much less space this way. This allows us to make significant savings in terms of space and cubage," says a delighted Franz Wackernell, Operations Manager of the Kaunertal Gletscherbahnen. The idea for the storage system goes back to principal shareholder Hans Rubatscher. It was developed and implemented by the Leitner company.
The Weißseejochbahn is also equipped with an energy-efficient direct drive. In 2022, the building envelope will be equipped with a photovoltaic system that can cover around 40 percent of the lift's energy requirements. The remaining energy comes from hydropower. Like all facilities on the Kaunertal Glacier, the Weißseejochbahn is also designed to be barrier-free.
"The construction of the new lift will make the range of lifts and slopes in the existing ski area much more attractive and this will strengthen Kaunertal as a winter sports region. Through the interaction of the glacier ski area and the nature park region, we are a year-round vacation destination that also creates year-round jobs," explains Armin Falkner of the TVB Tiroler Oberland. "Through the path that the Kaunertal has taken, all players in the valley ensure sustainable growth from their own resources and thus a living and economic space in a high mountain valley. We have 48% of our municipal area under nature conservation, 2% is permanently settleable and 0.8% is used as a ski resort area,” adds Kaunertal Mayor Josef Raich.
The new Weißseejochbahn officially goes into operation during a free ski day on Friday, December 17, 2021. Note: Action applies to all who are not in possession of a valid lift ticket for the Kaunertal Glacier.
Facts about the Weißseejochbahn (3,044 m):
- 10-seater gondola lift (10 EUB), 33 cabins
- 12 supports
- 2,000 meters length
- 550 meters difference in altitude: bottom station near the middle station Ochsenalmbahn (2,494
m), top station (3,044 m)
- Travel time: 6 minutes
- Architecture: Baumschlager und Partner
- Cable car technology: Leitner