Good news for the Forsteralm family ski area: Financial support from the State of Upper Austria ensures the continued existence of the ski lifts on the border between Upper Austria and Lower Austria. “This means that an important sports facility is preserved for the people in the region. Family ski areas such as the Forsteralm are important tourist and sporting local suppliers and are therefore of great concern to the state of Upper Austria, ”emphasizes Markus Achleitner, the State Economic and Tourism Council. Forsteralm Betriebs GmbH slipped into a restructuring process in April 2020 after the miserable winter season 2019/2020.
In summer 2016 Forsteralm (Gaflenz, Waidhofen an der Ybbs) was on the verge of being closed. In a cross-border effort, communities in the Ybbs and Enns Valley secured the infrastructure. The private investors Manfred Großberger, Wolfgang Resch and Sportunion Waidhofen an der Ybbs took over the lift operation as part of Forsteralm Betriebs GmbH. With the help of a successful crowdfunding campaign and the broad support of the federal states of Upper Austria and Lower Austria, the snowmaking system was modernized.
Forsteralm Betriebs GmbH was responsible for the operational operations of the Forsteralm since 2016. Ennstal and Ybbstal communities took over the lifts via Ennstal-Ybbstal Infrastructure GmbH. Based on a climate study, 1.6 million euro was invested in the renewal of the snowmaking system.
After three successful winter seasons, Forsteralm Betriebs GmbH suffered a massive drop in sales this year due to the mild weather. “The operators were very committed and put all the proceeds of the first seasons into improving lift operations - for example, building a floodlight system or renewing the lift systems. However, this meant that the reserves and liquidity were now lacking in order to immerse the difficult situation, ”explained Andreas Hanger and Johann Singer, who act as honorary managing directors of Ennstal-Ybbstal Infrastructure GmbH.
The inter-municipal company "Ennstal-Ybbstal Infrastructure GmbH" now takes over the fixed assets of the private operating company, such as the newly built floodlight system or the machine park. "This means that the creditor quota can be served and lift operations are assured," reported Upper Austrian Member of the National Council, Johann Singer. With the financial support, the state of Upper Austria paved the way for this solution, Gaflenz Mayor Günther Kellnreitner had fought with great commitment in the past few weeks to save the ski area, said Singer.
The relief from the Lower Austrian partners is also great. “The Forsteralm is a very important ski area, especially for the Ybbstal communities. We would like to thank the State of Upper Austria for their commitment and ruling, ”emphasize Eisenstraße chairman Andreas Hanger, Member of the National Council, and Mayor Werner Krammer from Waidhofen an der Ybbs.
The meeting of the creditors took place on Tuesday, July 14th. With the agreement, the restructuring process has been successfully completed. The future operating structure will be developed in the coming weeks, but one thing is already certain: In winter 2020/2021, lift operations will continue.