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MOST EXPENSIVE LIFT IN THE ALPS OPENS - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Saturday October 22, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The new lift in Stubai opened at the weekend with PlanetSKI in the first gondola. The 3S Eisgrat lift cost a cool €68m & is the latest in futuristic design, but is it worth it?

It is the longest tri-cable gondola in the Alps and it increases access to Austria's largest glacier at Stubai in the Tirol.

A new 3.8km run back down to the valley floor has been created.

It is the largest single lift investment made by any ski resort.

Ever.

It opened at 7.30am on Saturday morning and I was exclusively invited into the first cabin as the lift turned and made its debut.

All the others had won a social media competition for the honour of being on the first lift.

James with the lucky winnersJames with the lucky winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside dawn was breaking and the views we had were stunning.

Dawn - 3S Eisgrat opensDawn - 3S Eisgrat opens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous viewsFabulous views

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is a video as we boarded the first lift.

And 11 minutes later we arrived at the top.

 

There are 48 cabins capable of transporting 3,000 people per hour (doubling the previous 1,500).

3S EisgratFrom the bottom...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3S Eisgrat...to the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But why spend €68m on a new ski lift?

It doesn't open up much extra terrain and the resort is at its busiest in October and November rather than the rest of the season as we reported in this earlier story.

"It is very important for us.  It is a new design that will allow us to run the lift even in high-winds and it will work in conjunction with the other main base lift so we can transport more people up the mountain," said the CEO of the lift company, Andreas Kleinlercher, to PlanetSKI.

"We have so many people wanting to ski in Stubai, especially at this time of year and queues have been a problem for us. Not any more," added Andreas Kleinlercher.

The lift does not access any new terrain but a new run has been created to the valley floor.

It will be open in the summer for hikers and others but, unlike many other new lifts in the Alps, it is aimed at the winter market.

It is a lift for skiers and snowboarders not summer tourists.

3S EisgratAndreas Kleinlercher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort and style were key in the design with emphasis placed on space, light and service.

Panoramic windows offer beautiful views of the valley and all cabins have free wifi.

All ski resorts are now aiming to be more sustainable and protect the environment.

The total amount of energy required to operate it is from renewable energy sources.

Here at PlanetSKI we also had a tour of the facility the day before it opened.

Last-minute preparations were in full swing.

3S Eisgrat3S Eisgrat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just in case there is a power cut then there is a back up generator.

3S Eisgrat3S Eisgrat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stats though are quite staggering:

€250,000 each€250,000 each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cabins take 32 people and cost €250,000.

It travels at a speed of 7m/second and can operate in winds of up to 120km/hr.

10kms of steel cable were used and it has just 7 pylons, with the highest standing at 50m.

The business plan is for the costs (€68m) to be re-paid in 15 years.

Eagle eyed viewers may have seen that earleir in the week on PlanetSKI that the cost was €60 - well we have since learnt it went €8m over budget.

On its opening day almost 8,000 people turned out, so that's a start.

They sampled some of the best early season conditions in recent years - and rode in Stubai's new pride and joy.

New lift for StubaiNew lift for Stubai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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