Skiing in Zell am See means skiing in a winter wonderland. The area is blessed with beautiful scenery, and due to its spectacular mountains, skiing has a long tradition. It comes as no surprise that even emperors and empresses spent their leisure time in this alluring area. These days, Schmittenhöhebahn ensures unique experiences in winter and summer for everyone – for every age and every need.
Schmittenhöhebahn was founded in 1927 and recently celebrated its 90th anniversary. For 90 years, the company has constantly adapted to the needs of its guests. “Schmittenhöhebahn was the first cable car here,” explains Dr. Erich Egger, CEO. “It was only after World War II that more ski lifts started opening. The interesting thing is that originally the lift was built to take tourists up in summer to enjoy the spectacular panoramic views.”
Today, all year round, tourists from all over the world come to Zell am See; however, a strong focus is placed on winter activities. “This ski resort is a paradise for families really,” as Dr. Egger points out. In summer, families enjoy various playgrounds in stunning settings, beautiful trails such as the family adventure trails Schmidolins Baptism of Fire and Schmidolins Dragon Fire; countless paths of various levels of difficulty and distance invite old and young to explore the grassy mountains of the Pinzgau.
However, most guests come to ski. 77 km of ski slopes – 19 km of black, 28 km of red and 30 km of blue runs – ensure pure fun for every ski enthusiast. Schmittenhöhebahn has invested greatly to make skiing for families safe and fun.
“2017/2018 was a great winter season with the first snow falls in November,” explains Dr. Egger. “We had 976,000 guests, which was absolutely amazing. For various reasons, the number of tourists has constantly increased over the last few years. We have more hotels and restaurants, we are constantly investing in modern facilities, and we really care about people. We treat guests like good friends. This is absolutely crucial, and we should always keep that in mind. We welcome guests right at the station. We take our time to talk to them, and together we solve our problems. All our employees are friendly and helpful, and share this service-oriented approach. I think this is a strong asset that has largely contributed to the region’s dynamic development.”
Our greatest asset is our location. The mountains and the spectacular panoramic views are second to none. Dr. Erich EggerCEO
People from all over the world benefit from Schmittenhöhebahn’s philosophy. Germans make up the majority of guests, 30% are from the Netherlands, and the others are from Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia.
“To be honest, we benefit greatly from our fantastic location,” says Dr. Egger. “Many guests praise the spectacular views, the well-prepared ski runs, which are ideal for kids and beginners as well as for ambitious skiers who want to improve their skills, and the wonderful commitment of the people.”
Schmittenhöhebahn is blessed by a stunning environment – and knows how important it is to work in accordance with nature. “We largely invest in sustainability,” emphasizes Dr. Eggers. “We are the only cable car company with EMAS certification. We installed a photovoltaic system, and we undertake forestry work. Our plan is to shape the future in an eco-friendly way. At the moment we are building the zellamseeXpress, which connects Schmitten with Saalbach. This means in 2019/2020 our guests will find new, exciting ways to explore our mountains.” The opening will be held on 7 December 2019.
There are more exciting projects that aim to enhance the attractiveness of the region: more chairlifts, ski tracks, snow making facilities, culinary attractions and bus connections. “We clearly aim to continue growing,” says Dr. Egger. “To do so, reliable employees are essential. We benefit a lot from our reputation and can bank on many loyal employees. In winter, we have around 360 staff. Depending on the season, we hire local farmers and construction workers, who regularly come in winter. It is more challenging to find reliable gastronomy staff. Although we provide accommodation, and offer fair salaries and regular training programs, it remains tricky. For four or five years, we have been cooperating with a coach who offers training to managers and executives. In winter, for one week, he accompanies our employees and gives feedback. The partnership has been very successful so far. This way, we hope to find people who share our passion for the mountains.”