In four days’ time this year’s ski season will be history – 22nd April is the last day for skiing in Zauchensee and Flachauwinkl. When the winter sports guests head homeward, then the work really starts for our staff.
The whole ski area has to be prepared for the summertime. What that entails is best explained by our staff themselves.
Taking care of the slopes in the summer
Josef Tuschek, piste boss at the Zauchensee Lift Company, can tell you exactly what happens with and on the slopes: “When the last skier gets in his car and drives home, we start with the cleaning up work – piste markings, signs, nets, safety cushions and other safety equipment have to be removed. As soon as the snow has melted, we clear the slopes and lift tracks of lost equipment and rubbish. Should we find functioning ski equipment or personal items such as mobile phones we try to contact the owner (quite often they have already filed loss reports), We take care of the paths, free them from fallen trees and repair any damage. We fertilize the slopes and where there are bald patches, we sow grass seeds. Plus we put up fences for the grazing cattle, which graze on the alpine pastures from June onwards – and take them down again when the alpine season ends in September. All in all it’s a full time job for our staff in the summer season too.“
Equipment check down to the very last screw
Maintenance work is done every year on snow canons, lifts and snow groomers. Reinhard Perwein, technical manager at the Zauchensee Lift Company, explains what’s involved: “As we generally make snow in October and November, maintenance work on the snow canons already starts in December and is finished around Easter. Then the snow canons are stored in the garage so as to be protected from UV light and bad weather, until they are set up again ready for making snow again at the beginning of October. All lifts and snow groomers are checked thoroughly. With regard to the lifts, the stations, the pylons, cables, seats and cabins are all checked thoroughly according to an exact process. These procedures are quite lengthy, for example a rigorous check of the Gamskogelbahn takes around 1,400 working hours. This cable car is also in operation in summer and is popular amongst summer guests as a starting point for hikes. The snow groomers are taken apart, we dismantle chains, guards and blades. During the summer all snow groomers are checked, maintained, repaired and put together again, so that they are ready for action at the end of October. Although the snow groomers are used heavily every day in the winter, with careful maintenance they generally last up to ten years.“
So even after the ski season is over, we’re busy ensuring the new season can begin again in November. For those of you who can’t wait – from mid-June to mid-September the Gamskogelbahn Cable Car is in operation in summer offering special highlights such as yoga on the mountain, barbecue stations for DIY BBQs on the sun terrace (picnic basket and barbecue utensils available from the Gamskogelhütte) and an adventure playground or atmospheric sunrise trips.
Photo credits: Bergbahnen Zauchensee