Sustainability in the ski areas Schmittenhöhe & Kitzsteinhorn

Nature and the scenic beauty are the region's greatest assets and must therefore be particularly protected. That is why both Schmittenhöhebahn AG and Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG take numerous measures to ensure that the lifts, cable cars and pistes are operated in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way possible: this includes, for example, that all cable cars on the Schmittenhöhe and on the Kitzsteinhorn are operated with electricity from 100 per cent renewable energy.

Schmittenhöhebahn AG

Schmittenhöhebahn AG wants to be a pioneer not only in the field of cable car technology, but also in environmental protection. And so Schmittenhöhebahn is the only cable car company in Europe to subject itself to the stringent requirements of the EMAS guidelines in the EU. Schmittenhöhebahn AG's strict environmental policy is designed to protect the environment and preserve it for future generations.

The most important measures taken by Schmittenhöhebahn AG:
  • In the spirit of sustainable energy management, all cable cars operated by Schmittenhöhebahn AG are powered by electricity from 100 per cent renewable sources.
  • Increased use of photovoltaic systems
  • Increased use of e-mobility on the road and on the pistes
  • Use of energy-saving hybrid snow groomers and regular replacement of piste equipment with state-of-the-art technology using the latest drive systems
  • Energy and resource efficiency
  • Environmental management system, with which the environmentally relevant effects of the operation are analysed
  • Monitoring of defined environmental goals: Environmentally harmful effects of economic activities are continuously minimised
  • Transparency: Schmittenhöhebahn AG informs the public about its environmental activities and the results achieved.
  • Internal environmental team as well as external experts on the Ecology Advisory Board and in ecological building supervision
  • Air and noise emissions are kept as low as possible - both for piste preparation and snowmaking and for navigation on Lake Zell
  • Heating of the buildings and termini partly with heat pumps
  • Animal welfare: Schmittenhöhebahn AG has been supporting the Salzburg federal government's "Respect Your Boundaries" campaign since 2007, which aims to raise awareness among skiers and provide easily accessible information about the important needs of flora and fauna.
  • Arrival and departure of guests: Very well developed, regional ski bus network as well as connection to the Pinzgau regional railway, including a railway stop. This network was created on the initiative and with substantial financial participation of the Schmittenhöhebahn AG.
  • With the climate-friendly natural gas-based fuel for the boat fleet, Schmittenhöhebahn AG sustainably reduces emissions of environmentally harmful substances: This means fewer local emissions and low noise and smoke emissions.
  • Regionality at the huts and restaurants with regional ingredients, partly directly from the mountain such as herbs from the local mountain

Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG

Sustainable and responsible planning, action and management in all areas of the company are the basis for the success of Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG. This has included an integrated quality, environmental and energy management system for several years. In addition, Gletscherbahn Kaprun AG relies on fair partnerships with tourism partners, agriculture, schools, sports clubs, cultural associations, businesses and the Hohe Tauern National Park.

The most important measures of Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG:
  • The entire company - all cable cars, lifts and catering establishments - is supplied with 100 percent green electricity.
  • During the winter of 2022/23, the piste bashers on the Maiskogel family mountain will run entirely on a renewable HVO100 fuel. The fossil-free diesel substitute is obtained from natural waste products such as used cooking oils from restaurants and the food industry. According to the manufacturer, it releases 90 per cent less carbon dioxide and also 33 per cent less particulate matter, nine per cent less nitrogen oxide, 30 per cent less hydrocarbon and 24 per cent less carbon monoxide. The higher price - compared to conventional diesel - is considered as an investment in a more sustainable future.
  • Since 2012, there has been an open-ended partnership agreement between Kapruner Gletscherbahnen and the Hohe Tauern National Park. This is about the mutual transfer of knowledge as well as raising awareness and sensitisation for the national park idea at a location with high international frequency.
  • Gletscherbahnen Kaprun AG has been certified for its environmental management according to ISO 14001 since 2007.
  • Within the framework of energy management according to ISO 50001, the energy and resource balance is permanently checked and optimised with different series of measurements and processes by internal company representatives and annually by TÜV Nord.
  • "Snow in winter - electricity in summer": As one of the first alpine ski resorts, the Kitzsteinhorn operates a combined pumped and small hydroelectric power plant, which is used for the snowmaking systems in winter, and as a power plant turbine in summer, using the meltwater to produce electricity. This generates a large part of the energy needed for snowmaking in winter. 
  • The waste heat from the high-performance motors of individual cable cars is used for building heating.
  • Buildings have been equipped according to the latest energy efficiency standards, and in part with solar and photovoltaic systems.
  • Since 2003, Kapruner Gletscherbahnen has been committed to implementing and continuously monitoring the high quality and safety standards according to ISO 9001 with an integrated management system.
  • There are in-house officers for the environment, waste, water and wastewater management, fire protection and occupational safety.
  • Institute for Ecology Salzburg as consultant for all planning and building work
  • Together with the renowned natural environment experts, an individual high-altitude reclamation and greening project was developed and implemented for the Kitzsteinhorn.
  • Targeted "snow farming and management" protects the glacier. 
  • 2011 pro natura Award
  • Regionality and social responsibility: A large proportion of local products is freshly prepared and served at the company's own mountain restaurants and bars. In addition, there are projects with regional schools.
  • Open Air Lab Kitzsteinhorn: Since 2010, the summit area of the 3,203-metre-high Kitzsteinhorn has been the location of an interdisciplinary open-air laboratory for permafrost and rockfall monitoring.