Schmittenhöhe Zell am See
The ski area Schmittenhöhe in Zell am See invests in optimal slope quality.
The Schmittenhöhe ski resort in Zell am See in Austria is the place for everyone to enjoy winter. Families, adventure seekers and those looking for more leisurely skiing all get their money's worth at the Hausberg in Zell. In addition to perfectly groomed slopes for every ability, a Funslope XXL and the challenging Trass downhill also count. 28 lifts provide the way to the slopes with a total of 77 kilometers on an area of 180ha. Also 560 snow gun models provide precise snowmaking support.
Schmittenhöhe and PistenBully have been linked by a partnership since the very beginning. At the moment, the first vehicle, a PistenBully 145 from 1969, is being restored. To date, a fleet of 19 snow groomer ensures perfect slopes.
Source: Schmittenhöhe Zell am See
Schmittenhöhe Zell am See
PistenBully customer since 1969
PRO ACADEMY and SNOWsat customer since 2020
Projects that have been implemented with SNOWsat and the PRO ACADEMY:
Interviewee: Ingo Dürlinger, Area Manager of Ropeways/Slopes at Schmittenhöhebahn AG in Zell am See, Austria
The primary objective of every ski resort is clear: to offer guests an unforgettable day of skiing. Ideally groomed slopes are the most important part of this. Kässbohrer offers solutions perfectly tailored to achieving this objective: In addition to the PistenBully machines and all the associated services, the digital tools of SNOWsat and the wide variety of training courses of the PRO ACADEMY are also part of the game. Using the closely connected solutions from Kässbohrer pays off in many ways with respect to quality, planning reliability, networking and conservation of resources – but also in the sense of responsibility of the employees. A conversation with Ingo Dürlinger, Area Manager of Ropeways/Slopes at Schmittenhöhebahn AG in Zell am See, about using the "Kässbohrer comprehensive package":
SNOWsat for more transparency
Ingo Dürlinger is operator, mechanic, engineer and manager all rolled into one. For many of his tasks he relies on support from SNOWsat, which has been in use at Schmittenhöhe since 2020. The main advantages he sees with this are the transparency and the ability to assess the snow depths, fleet status and fuel consumption quickly – at the press of a button from any location. And all in all this yields savings in every respect – on fuel, machine hours and above all, snowmaking as well. He has also already gained experience with SNOWsat LiDAR and the new SNOWsat iX operating system. "I am convinced that SNOWsat LiDAR is the future of snow depth measurement. I often use the system myself to quickly scan wide slopes. This forward-looking snow depth measurement is a completely new technology that opens up entirely new possibilities for us. In the beginning, of course, there were things that had to be checked and adjusted again for the system to run optimally. In that regard, I also see us operators as obligated to foster further development of the system. I think that only when the system is used continuously can the data and experience gained from this help and be incorporated into the development work."
PRO ACADEMY: Good operators make good slopes
At the same time, registration for PRO ACADEMY training courses began in earnest. Initially the courses were primarily online, but participants have also had the option of taking in-person courses ever since 2021. "Operator training courses used to be an absolute exception. For 2 years now they have been a permanent fixture of our training program. Each new operator is trained in-house and through the PRO ACADEMY (theory before the first drive and practice in the first weeks of work). Even experienced operators further their education at regular intervals with the PRO ACADEMY. We wanted to set another milestone with regard to digitalization, environmental management, optimization of workflows and quality assurance."
It all works out. "The training courses increase the sense of responsibility of the operators. They receive training not only in how to handle the equipment, but also in the theory of snow as a medium. And a conscientious approach to work also contributes to conservation of resources. It's just too bad that the trainers – at least at the moment – are booked solid and there is not much flexibility for registration!"
What counts is the overall package
Schmittenhöhe and PistenBully – a partnership from the beginning. To this day, the majority of the fleet of 19 snow groomers is red. And the trust is unbroken. Ingo Dürlinger is convinced: "We can always rely on the full support of the service team – whether through customer service in Kuchl, Austria or the team from Laupheim, Germany. For example, if there's ever a problem with SNOWsat, then we create a ticket and can count on a prompt response."
Regular users save a lot
When asked if in hindsight he would do anything differently, Ingo Dürlinger responds without hesitation. "No, quite the opposite. Our experience from recent winters has shown that we made the right investments. Using the various solutions from a single source pays off in many ways: in quality improvement and quality assurance, generally in digitalization, with support for EMAS certification (certified environmental management system) – and above all, of course, in the conservation of resources and the associated reduction in emissions. Even if it is difficult to make concrete before-and-after comparisons due to the yearly fluctuations in season lengths and weather conditions, a decrease in consumption can definitely be noticed in general."
With the complete package of solutions from Kässbohrer, Schmittenhöhe has achieved the prerequisites for successful operation of a ski resort with ideal slopes. We would like to thank Ingo Dürlinger for his interesting insights and look forward to continuing our close and trust-based collaboration with Schmittenhöhebahn.
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