Enjoying the slopes, preserving nature

Interview with Necip Lucian, Managing Director of Bergbahn Lech-Oberlech GmbH & Co. KG

Bergbahn Lech-Oberlech Panorama

Snow reliability. The magic word for a successful winter season and uninterrupted fun on the slopes. In the Lech-Oberlech ski area in Austria, skiing is often possible from December to April. Bergbahn Lech-Oberlech GmbH, together with other cable car operators in the region and the local hotel industry, is consistently addressing the effects of climate change. A current highlight: an underground arrival area with the utmost comfort for guests.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Lucian, your region has an excellent reputation in ski tourism. What are the unique features that distinguish your area and what role does the Lech-Oberlech mountain railway play here?

Necip Lucian: Our area itself has around 300 kilometers of ski runs and 85 lifts, with connections to other attractive ski areas, such as Zürs or St. Anton. We operate a cable car in the area that can accommodate 80 plus one person and connects the Lech area with the Oberlech area. In total, there are several ski lift companies in the Lech-Zürs and Lech-Oberlech ski areas, eight in total. We are, however, the only ones who are also responsible for local transport.

Necip Lucian, Managing Director of Bergbahn Lech-Oberlech GmbH & Co. KG
Necip Lucian, Managing Director of Bergbahn Lech-Oberlech GmbH & Co. KG

A distinctive feature is certainly that Oberlech is car-free in winter. Therefore, the supply of the region, the transport of goods and staff is a special challenge. Each season, we transport around 9,000 luggage containers, from 7 in the morning until one at night. Hardly any area performs this task.

Wirtschaftsforum: What are the current new developments or new concepts in the region?

Necip Lucian: We have implemented a unique project for the transport of our guests. As said, Oberlech is car-free in winter and has tunnels. The entire logistics are handled underground. For the transport of guest luggage, we therefore use electric cars. We are now optimizing this arrival process. For that purpose, we have built a completely underground reception area at the valley station of the cable car with an arrival and departure zone and a connection to the new parking garage in the center of Lech. There are two zones, an arrival and a departure zone.

Lech-Oberlech Mountain Railway Luggage Container
Around 9,000 luggage containers are transported per season
Lech-Oberlech Cable Car
The cable car has a capacity of about 80 people
Lech-Oberlech Cable Car Arrival Area
From the new underground arrival area, guests are guided to their hotels

With a new guidance system, our arriving guests will be seamlessly directed from their car to the receiving area of the cable car. Our guests park in the arrival zone and are personally welcomed here. Their luggage is taken directly from them and transported to their hotel via luggage containers. Thus, the guests are led to their accommodations free of luggage. A very comfortable arrival that is at the same time highly efficient.

Wirtschaftsforum: Let's talk about climate change and the associated environmental protection. How do you face this? What measures have you already taken?

Necip Lucian: We have always had environmental protection in our blood. Our cable cars have been operating sustainably for decades. We always try to use the best possible techniques and technologies and to save, or rather, to use energy efficiently. Only in this way can we create optimal conditions. As for winter tourism, we will always have cold phases. However, these may be shorter than in the past. Therefore, it is necessary to use them more effectively for snow production in order to get through the season. We have a lake at an altitude of about 2,100 m. However, our last snowmaking gun is located at an altitude of about 1,700 m.

In order to make our production more effective and time-saving, we have expanded our snowmaking lines and removed the pressure-reducing components. As a result, we have managed to use the time window in the snowmaking phase more efficiently or to shorten it. Due to our altitude and snow conditions, our region guarantees snow reliability in the winter. Therefore, we have many loyal regular guests, and our hotels do a lot for our guests. They make everything possible so that guests feel comfortable in our region. We as cable car operators also connect here. Our guests feel that we are evolving, recognizing the signs of the times, and taking responsibility towards our environment and thus our society.

Lech-Oberlech Cable Car Arrival
Mountain Railway Lech-Oberlech Arrival
Lech-Oberlech Cable Car Arrival

Wirtschaftsforum: You are now about to start the summer season. What are your themes for this year?

Necip Lucian: Winter remains our main business. However, we will expand our offerings for the summer season, including designing hiking and running trails as well as bike routes. The goal is to achieve a year-round business. For the winter season, we already have a name; in the summer, this is not yet the case. We will work on that. Of course, this will be done in a responsible manner with our resources.