Saalbach ski area in Austria’s Salzburgerland region is removing its Kohlmaisgipfelbahn gondola lift and replacing it with a brand new state-of-the-art gondola in time for next winter.
Saalbach operates more gondola lifts than almost any other ski area on the planet but this time the new lift will be replacing an old one rather than a chairlift or drag lift, so the overall number of gondolas won’t be increasing.
Work on the 10 person cabin new Kohlmaisgipfelbahn actually got underway in spring last year as it is such a major project, with completion due in time for next winter.
The old gondola being replaced was a visually distinctive pulse gondola.
The ‘pulse gondola’ lift type was briefly popular in the 1980s and 1990s in ski resorts and a good number are still operating on each side of the Atlantic. The lift has groups of gondola cabins moving together and unlike conventional gondolas the cabins are fixed to the moving wire. The whole lift slows when each group arrives at the top or bottom station to allow loading/unloading. The main downsides of the lift are therefore its stop/start nature as you ascend and that a lot of passengers just have a view of the adjacent cabins. The Saalbach lift had groups of five cabins together and was installed in 1989.
The new Doppelmayr built lift will include a large number of improvements including street-level access with 100 underground car parking spaces below and will travel at a speed of 6 metres per second and take 7:10 minutes to make the ascent.
Uplift capacity will be more than 3200 people per hour, more than double the previous lifts 1500 people per hour capacity.
Saalbach are also installing a modern 8-seater chair lift with heated seats and bubbles to replaces the old Asitzmuldenbahn 6 seat chairlift and taking capacity up to 3500 people per hour, as well as two new reservoirs for snowmaking water.