The current "Kurzras - Grawand" (B42p) aerial tramway from 1975 is 48 years old and has already been overhauled twice, for the first time in 1995 and for the second time in 2015. Based on an idea by Leo Gurschler almost exactly 50 years ago Work began on the construction of the glacier railway. Back then too, it was South Tyrolean designers who made the pioneering work possible.
Now the cable car is being renovated, again planned by the company that took over and implemented the Swiss company Garaventa - the Doppelmayr company.
The aerial tramway is an important part of the tourism and economic development of the entire valley. It connects the valley with the glacier ski area of the Alpin Arena Schnals and has made it a unique experience thanks to the breathtaking views.
With a total length of around 2,150 m, the cable car covers a height difference of around 1,180 m in less than 6 minutes and overcomes maximum gradients of around 100%. It is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious and fascinating cable cars in the Alps.
During the journey at over 3,212 meters you will discover landscapes and peaks of exceptional beauty.
The most important innovations – opening Christmas 2023
The glacier cable car underwent a significant technical renovation, during which the entire cable car technology was completely replaced and only some parts of the existing stations were retained or renovated. The new system is equipped with a welded and fully inspectable pull rope ring, which is under continuous monitoring.
This allowed the end attachments of the pull ropes to be completely eliminated.
This facility was also designed according to the principle of "integrated rescue", with technical solutions that in most cases make it possible to return the two cabins to the stations.
Due to the prevailing extreme environmental conditions (strong wind), a larger track width was planned to improve the passage of the support as well as a new drive and the redesign of the support.
During the planning, great attention was also paid to environmental protection, including various solution concepts to minimize vibrations and noise on the route and in the stations as well as to recover energy during the descent. This allows the energy to be reused in the distribution network. Another highlight of the facility are the new fully glazed cabins, which have heated floors to prevent the formation of dangerous ice for passengers. They have a 30% larger usable area compared to the current ones and therefore offer more comfort with a constant capacity of 800 people/h.
The new aerial tramway and the temporary approach will be completed by the winter season. However, the construction of the underground car park at the valley station, the new direct and covered access to the aerial tramway from the piste and various service buildings such as the new snow groomer garage can only be started after the end of the winter season on April 7, 2024. According to the plan, this work should be completed by the start of the 2024 winter season.
Worth a visit in winter and summer
The cable car and the Hochjochferner glacier are known far beyond the borders, especially among winter sports enthusiasts. Athletes from ski clubs and national teams from all over the world train here and prepare for winter competitions. Amateur athletes and families will also find perfect conditions here: on the slopes, the cross-country ski trails, the 3.3-kilometer-long toboggan run and on the breathtaking Iceman Ötzi Peak viewing platform, adventure awaits guests behind every snow hill.
Anyone who only knows the Alpin Arena Schnals as a snow-covered piste paradise should visit the Schnalstal Glacier once in summer. When the sun is high, it's not just the picturesque paths between forests and rocky giants that are free of snow and ready for adventurous hikers. The Iceman Ötzi Peak on the Grawand peak also attracts visitors with its spectacular view of 126 three-thousanders and Ötzi's former empire. There are also rustic huts, thrilling via ferratas and the Lazaun mountain carts, our mountain Ferraris for young and old.