“Our ski company operates 26 lifts and 35 slopes and counts approximately 60 km of runs in the ski area of Folgarida Marilleva,” explains Managing Director Cristian Gasperi. “We are connected to the slopes and lifts of the famous ski area Madonna di Campiglio, which is also linked to the ski area of Pinzolo, and therefore in total, we are able to offer 150 km of slopes and 60 lifts. Last year we launched a new commercial project which offers all three ski areas together, and this not only gives our guests more skiing options but also strengthens our competitiveness.”
Against this background, Funivie Folgarida Marilleva has also joined forces with the Skirama association. The Skirama area encompasses 380 km of slopes and 150 lifts. In addition to many connected slopes, the skiers also benefit from regular free bus transportation services in Val di Sole to get from the new ski area to Passo del Tonale and Pejo.
“We want to offer our guests a wide range of skiing possibilities,” says Mr. Gasperi. “We have four different lift passes depending on how much our guests would like to ski and how much money they would like to spend. There is a ski pass exclusively for Folgarida Marilleva, a pass for the area of Folgarida Marilleva, which also includes two days in Madonna di Campiglio/Pinzolo, a pass for the ski area Campiglio Dolomiti di Brenta, which gives access to the ski slopes of Folgarida Marilleva, Madonna di Campiglio and Pinzolo, and last but not least the Skirama ski pass.”
Another new development is the Family Park, which was officially inaugurated at Christmas last year. The area has been specifically designed for families, and children up to the age of eight are free of charge. The park includes a First Steps Beginners Zone, which is ideal for beginners and children, a ski school and a snow board park where riders can practice their first jumps. There is also a tubing slope for gliding on rubber tubes, and for young adults, there is a wide range of extra activities.
“We have a strong presence on all social media in order to reach our younger clients,” says Mr. Gasperi. “We also opened a special speed-monitored ski slope with a webcam. Skiers can watch their performance and post the films on their social networks. This is an ideal tool to create a corporate feeling and to evoke emotions. Today, the younger generation ‘lives’ online. They want to have access to the slopes and show their friends what is going on.”
This year’s winter season is extremely long and lasts until the first week of April. Funivie Folgarida Marilleva offers several special promotional weeks at the beginning and the end of the season, as well as in January and February.
Funivie Folgarida Marilleva is also focusing on the future and is planning investments and upgrades for the upcoming 2014-2015 winter season, such as the replacement of an important connecting lift.
Needless to say, the winter season is the mainstay of the business, yet the area is a very popular destination among summer tourists too. Families in particular are attracted by the numerous and vast hiking opportunities and biking tours.
Over the past few years, Val di Sole has been home to the Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup Championship. “The summer season is important because it balances our business, but the winter season is the core of our industry,” says the managing director. “Currently, we have approximately 537,000 overnight stays in Val di Sole during the summer and 903,000 during the winter.”
The area is frequented by tourists from all over the world. Altogether, approximately 47% of all guests come from abroad, many of them from Poland, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and the Czech Republic. The company has its own sales team, which participates in international workshops and trade fairs in order to market the area in collaboration with the Val di Sole Tourist Board and the Skirama Association.
Funivie Folgarida draws on a long tradition. The company has always been an operator of lifts and cable cars. Now, Funivie Folgarida has been restructured and focuses again on the skiing business. With a staff of 195 during peak season, the company achieves an annual turnover of around 23 million EUR.
Mr. Gasperi is positive about the future. “Our location is super,” he says. “We are located just below the Dolomites, and the panoramic views are breathtaking. Our slopes offer snow vacations full of fun, relaxation and the possibility to recharge. The Dolomites are a UNESCO world heritage. We offer slopes for beginners as well as for professionals and for adventurers. Families benefit from many extras, special prices and packages. Of course, we cannot influence the climate, so we do have a great number of snow cannons. Business-wise, we are well-established and ready to face the challenges of the coming years. Although it is too early to evaluate whether our innovations and developments will be successful in the long run, bookings for the current season are good. We have a good first impression. Val di Sole is renowned for its ability to satisfy everyone’s accommodation needs through a variety of structures and endless options. When the hotels are full, our business increases, too.”