SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental has received many an accolade in the past but those in charge of the Tyrolean ski region are particularly pleased about this one: at the World Snow Awards 2017 in London, the SkiWelt was awarded “Ecological Ski Resort of the Year”.
Environmental criteria are playing an increasingly important role at ski resorts, and equally in the judging of the “World Snow Awards” (WSA), hosted by the British daily newspaper, The Telegraph, in London. For the high-profile panel of international journalists, it was not size, comfort, facilities and slope quality that were of greatest significance here, above all it was environmental aspects in terms of size and effort that they were most interested in. No other ski region has been able to call itself “Ecological Ski Resort of the Year”. The SkiWelt team was already thrilled with being nominated alongside Whistler; actually winning the award is an incredible honour and even more of an incentive to keep achieving.
In 2018 other awards followed: skiresort.de, for example, awarded SkiWelt the prize as “Eco-friendly ski resort 2018”. According to the test portal "the environmental protection activities of SkiWelt are exemplary".
There were a number of measures that won the jury over. For example, the special environmental consideration given to all construction projects, which were also closely followed by conservation experts, was acknowledged. Then, the increased use of solar energy at the SkiWelt: The “Sonnenlift” ski lift in Brixen, for example, is 100% solar powered. Solar systems have also been installed at the Jochlift (Brixen) and the new Brandstadel lift in Scheffau. The SkiWelt relies 100 % on renewable energy (hydropower) from the Tyrolean state utility company, TIWAG. On the whole, the 15 snow reservoirs in the SkiWelt are replenished naturally in summer by snowmelt or precipitation. Even the huge variety of vegetation on the slopes, used as pasture for cattle in summer, received praise.
New for winter a comprehensive GPS-controlled slope management system to aid slope preparation carried out by the SkiWelt’s 65 snow grooming machines. All of the slopes were measured down to the centimetre in the summer and can now be groomed with pinpoint accuracy: nowhere with too much or too little snow. The result of this new snow management system is an enormous saving in manufactured snow and energy.
Another environmental aspect is the use of renewable energy in the heating of various facilities within the SkiWelt. The operations building for the ski lifts in Söll, for example, is heated with pellets, the bottom lift station is connected to the biomass power plant in Söll. The Hochsöll station with ski depot and the “Hexenkessel” cauldron uses the residual energy from the lift facility via heat pump. The waste heat of the SkiWeltbahn Brixen and the Choralmbahn (lifts) are heating the Choralpe mountain restaurant. The heating energy for the new bottom lift station of the Alpenrosenbahn Westendorf uses waste heat from the snowmaking system and the transformer station. And large photovoltaic system has been installed at the mountain station of the new Zinsbergbahn. Further projects are already being planned for 2019-20. All projects can be found at https://www.skiwelt.at/en/skiwelt-goes-green-to-stay-white.html.
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